Start-ups and small businesses can grow smarter by engaging a lawyer early. Bringing in counsel early when the budget is most limited can be the best time for future growth. Lawyers, even if not hired in a “legal” role, can make a huge impact on the success of a business. Here are four reasons how involving a lawyer even on a bootstrap budget can have a huge impact on your company:
1. Fill the Knowledge Gaps
Every team member in a startup and small business plays an important role. However, these skill sets frequently are not equipped to handle some of the common legal transactions. Engaging a lawyer at this stage can help to prevent huge problems down the road. Anyone can use a search engine, but the underlying knowledge about how those terms work and what is needed in the particular circumstances is what sets a lawyer apart.
2. Proactively Avoid Costly Mistakes
Attorneys get a bad reputation. Reality is that most attorneys do not want to stand in the way of an important deal for a company. Instead, they want to make sure that the company can avoid costly headaches down the road. Every deal is different, but proper documentation and obtaining all permits or licenses is always important. Good lawyers help small businesses document the deal the right way the first time so that all similar deals to follow can move forward faster.
3. Hard-wired to Ask Tough Questions
Lawyers are trained to take their emotions out of the equation. They have to look at the facts, law, and advise based on what they know. In order to do that, lawyers have to ask a lot of questions to understand the situation. This means that sometimes they ask questions no one else on the team would or could. Hiring a lawyer to do this ensures that the company stays on track and that personal feelings are kept out of the equation.
4. Necessary Liaison Between Board and Leadership
Attorneys also serve an important function to build bridges across groups that have natural tensions. For example, in start-ups, that can be between the team members and the angel or venture capital investor. In small businesses, that can mean working across family members running different parts of the business. Lawyers are also called “counselors” for a reason. A good lawyer knows that their job is not simply to know the law, but to also advise and build buy-in within the company to comply with the law while remaining profitable.
Not all lawyers are the same. Fit and style are of critical importance at the earliest stages of a company. It may seem like a lot of money on a bootstrap budget but saving a $1000 now could end up costing you or your company hundreds of thousands of dollars down the road. Instead, set your company up for long-term success by engaging an interim general counsel today – even if it seems too early. The Contingent Plan connects start-ups and growing businesses with the right attorney at the right time. See how it works.