Congratulations! You are in the start-up phase of your entrepreneurial journey. In many respects, this is the time when you need sound legal and business advice the most because you’re laying the foundation on which you’re building your business.The choices you make now related to the business entity, taxation, agreements with partners, contracts with vendors, insurance and more will have an impact for years to come, and can make the difference between success and failure.
This is also the time when you need introductions and an expanded network of resources. Hunter Business Law hopes to be on this journey with you, providing guidance and support along the way.
In the start-up phase, we commonly provide the following services:
Forming a Business Entity
Protect your personal assets from liability associated with your business and start your enterprise off right by forming a business entity. We will help you assess what kind of entity to form (LLC, corporation) and prepare the requisite documentation. Yes, you can make your best guess and form one yourself but there are significant implications to what seems like a simple choice.
Preparing an Operating (or Shareholder) Agreement
In a perfect world, we could do business on the promise of a firm handshake and all would go according to plan. In the real world we have to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Founder and investor rights and relations and the “what ifs” (such as death, disability and disagreement) need to be addressed with clarity from the beginning. The best time to enter into a formal written agreement to outline the ownership and control of the business is early on, before the issues that cause friction arise. Further, if you ever want a loan or investment, the agreement will be required.
Well-drafted, clearly written, protective and enforceable contracts with customers, vendors, distributors, wholesalers, employees, independent contractors, lenders, strategic partners and other entities and individuals are essential to the health and wellness of your company. Taking a DIY approach to contracts can cost your business dearly and diminish its value to a future investor or buyer.
Funding Your Business
Whether you are self-funding (“bootstrapping”), obtaining a loan from a family member or a traditional lender, crowdfunding, or receiving capital from investors in exchange for equity, Hunter Business Law can help you navigate the funding waters, plan for expenses to come and manage your resources responsibly as you scale.
Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Right now, your business is an idea. Before you bring your vision to life and reveal it to the world, take steps to protect your intellectual property through trademark and copyright registration, patent applications, and agreements which protect confidential information and trade secrets.
As soon as you start a company you have to contend with an overwhelming number of federal, state and local laws. There are business licenses to file, taxes to pay, labor and employment laws with which to comply, insurance mandates, data and privacy laws, and industry specific rules and regulations – to name a few. Having a guide is essential because, simply put, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Support and Introductions
At Hunter Business Law, we believe that your lawyer should be your best business partner. We strive to not only protect and counsel you on legal matters, but also to encourage and console you as fellow entrepreneurs. Our dedication to your success includes helping you make connections to potential customers, strategic partners, investors and other resources. As one of your brand ambassadors, we help spread the word about your products and services while maintaining your confidential information. The bottom line is that when your management team is limited to a fewer founders (at most), your attorney needs to be part of the team that propels your business early in its development.