If you are like most entrepreneurs, you want to jump into turning your idea or concept into a viable business as soon as possible. However, if you rush past some important legal aspects at the start, you may jeopardize all your hard work in the long run.
Jon Phillips, a local attorney and partner at Shay Phillips, Ltd. in Peoria gave us a few helpful tips to figure out what someone should be thinking of when they are starting a business.
1. Protect your brand – Making sure your creative idea is all clear and to protect your brand is almost as important of any step in the entire process of entrepreneurship since its your identity. Help yourself by going to trademarkia.com right from the start. It’s a free search that even does social media checks. Just do yourself a favor and take the 15 minutes to search and figure out your name or idea is already out there.
2. Protect you – Form a company to protect you as an individual from liability. The next question to ask is what kind of company? Is an LLC or a type of Corporation? You have to be honest with yourself about your current status and future position.
3. Protect your business – What are do your contracts with sellers, suppliers, employees and contractors look like and do they protect your business? I’m not saying this because it’s good for our business, but you don’t want cheap out on this. If you do it wrong, you’re stuck. An example of business only thinking short-term is that you may end up having to sell assets to new company. Think farther ahead and what are your future plans.
Every step of the way there will be things that come up you must address, but it’s a series business decisions that only you can best decide.
With so much free “advice” available out on the Internet it can be hard to identify what is really the best for you. Jon likens legal work to that of cleanup of a janitor. “Janitors don’t just buff the floor because it looks pretty. In addition to that, they do it because it makes cleaning up messes easier. We do that for businesses by getting them set up correctly from the start. Eventually, if something goes wrong later on, you are better protected.”
A unique metaphor for looking at startup legal advice, but a good one for those eager entrepreneurs who want to get their hands dirty as quickly as possible. Keep these 3 things in mind if you are on your way to taking over the world with your great idea!
For more information and to support a PEN Partner, contact Jon Phillips at Shay Phillips, Ltd. today!