Negotiations are an area where small businesses often call for help from an attorney, but the decision to let an attorney handle negotiations can be tricky. So how do you know whether to let your attorney negotiate on your behalf or just be a sounding board to provide you with guidance?
Employees are often trusted with confidential and sensitive material while under your employment. But what happens when they are no longer working for the company, or have left for a competitor, taking all that valuable information with them?
It might be tempting to seal a deal with a handshake. After all, verbal formalities just slow things down—and as a small business owner, you've got countless other things to do to run your business. However, having the proper contracts in place will give you and your business solid legal protection should the need arise.
Do you sometimes lie awake at night wondering what will happen if your biggest customer doesn't pay you? How about if the vendor handling your website upgrade takes off with your thousand-dollar down payment? These scenarios would be a nightmare for any bootstrapping entrepreneur—and they happen all the time.
What happens if you’re trying to do business on a national or global level? One thing is certain. You’re going to have intellectual property issues to deal with. And you may not even realize that these issues exist. Here are a few things to think about in determining whether you need outside help.
Many people who are in a situation where they could really use legal counsel choose not to get it. There are a number of reasons for this, including personality, intimidation, and cost concerns. Managing these issues will help you determine whether you need to seek outside help.
Small business owners are naturally do-it-yourselfers, and that instinct can spring up when legal issues arise. While there are plenty of self-help books and websites available that promise to save dollars in the short term, this can be risky. You have to know which resources to trust, and which to avoid.
When you hire an attorney, you need to make sure that everyone involved understands how fees will be handled. You have to manage expectations so that there are no surprises for anyone. It can be an expensive service, so know what you’re getting and what you’re paying for it.
Like doctors, lawyers are specialists. The key to getting great legal service is finding the right lawyer from the beginning. The attorney you know who specializes in criminal defense might not be the best option for business agreements and contracts.
As a small business owner, you want to be as efficient as possible with your money. Legal costs are an important part of that equation. You can prevent your legal costs from becoming a big problem with a few basic controls.