A solid foundation is key to your success as an entrepreneur or stakeholder in a startup company. So, it is critical to have a knowledgeable experienced startup attorney as part of your team.
There are a number of decisions you must make at the outset to get your organization off on the right foot, and a multitude of documents necessary to give these decisions legal effect.
Choice of entity, filing required documents, raising capital, tax considerations, compliance issues, and other external matters require attention to detail and careful business planning.
Internally, you need to ensure that you properly structure the formal relationships among executives, directors, stakeholders, key employees, and other stakeholders.
At Walsh Banks Law, our lawyers take the approach that every startup has enormous potential. New emerging companies face unique issues that must be addressed at the same time stakeholders are relentlessly working to scale the company. A startup lawyer can help with the necessary legal tasks, ensuring you can focus on building your new company.
A solid infrastructure is critical to any organization, but a strong foundation is even more important, considering the unique challenges involved with a startup company. It can be tough taking on the essential legal issues when you are also trying to achieve such demanding goals.
For more information on how we can help you with the groundwork and ongoing startup operations, please contact Walsh Banks Law by calling (407) 259-2426 or Schedule a Free Consultation. Our startup lawyers are happy to conduct a free consultation to talk about your objectives, ideas, and legal options.
Our attorneys also assist with the agreements and covenants necessary to formalize the relationships between stakeholders, founders, and key employees and help guide you through the entire life-cycle of your organization. We serve entrepreneurs and new emerging companies in Orlando, FL and throughout the Central Florida area.
Our startup lawyers and business attorneys are dedicated to providing legal services that are custom-tailored to the needs, goals, and priorities of your startup.
Startups have a fast growth entrepreneurial mindset. They often disrupt the market they are in. Uber, Google, Yahoo, and even Microsoft, were all startups. These types of companies, due to their cutting edge and disruptive nature, have a high rate of failure.
A small business, on-the-other-hand, generally, is setup to provide products and services that have already been proven in the market place. They are often privately held family businesses. They are established to provide income right away, and then build gradually and sustainably. The Small Business Administration further defines what a small business is based on the industry it is in. They do this to determine which companies are eligible for federal grants, funding, and contract preferences. For our purposes we will stick to comparing them to a startup company.
Beyond these descriptions, there are many other factors that make the two different, including:
Objectives: The primary focus of a small business is generating profits and ensuring longevity for the company. Stakeholders seek to build a strong financial base, establish credibility, and develop a quality reputation with customers.
A startup company is motivated to attain maximum revenue and growth potential in the short term. They want to prove there is a market for their product or service and that it is scalable. The risks are much higher given the time frame, considering that the point is to create a organization dedicated to developing a repeatable strategic model that disrupts the relevant industry and produces large returns for its investors. Think Facebook, and the returns its early investors garnered.
Funds and Financing: Because stakeholders in a startup and small business have diverging views on growth, their approach to financing is also very different. Those creating a small business may invest their savings, or the entity itself may take out a loan. However, the need for funds is much more extreme for the objectives of a startup. Angel investors, venture capital firms, partnerships, and even crowd funding may be the source of funds. Under some circumstances, startup financing may even come through an initial public offering in the securities markets.
Business Life-cycle: Many owners view their company as their lifeblood, a legacy they want to pass down to family members or individuals they know and trust. Others may take the view that selling the company off for a hefty profit is their version of success. Though it may not actually live on eternally, the perspective of an owner is that operating the organization is a long-term plan.
By its nature, the startup is a temporary organization. Once the entity disrupts the market, hits an established distribution volume, or reaches certain trigger events as intended, stakeholders will begin working toward the agreed-upon business wrap up. The exit strategy will have been negotiated and bargained for when kicking off the company. From the point of view of investors, the startup’s termination should provide some positive return on investment to be a success.
Once you know the key differences between a startup company and a small businesses, you can see that you face a good number of challenges that other types of business do not have to face. A knowledgeable startup attorney can help you navigate common startup legal issues.
Considering the fact that investors in a startup have certain expectations, you should be clear in setting the parameters of the startup arrangement. You may be limited in terms of bargaining power, but you should firmly establish various factors when crafting the details. A startup lawyer can protect your interest when it comes to:
In addition, you should note that the dynamic may change as the startup progresses. It is important to have solid contractual terms in place for future hires and partnerships, so that the startup company’s infrastructure remains intact.
Careful assessment of the most suitable business structure is crucial, particularly when liability, taxes, and efficient exit strategies enter the picture. It is better to choose the right fit from the start than to transition from a partnership to some version of a corporation, limited liability company, or other arrangement.
Federal securities and state blue sky laws are so complex that many startup companies do not even realize how and when they violate them. Failure to comply with the vast regulatory scheme can lead to devastating fines, legal penalties, and even criminal sanctions. A startup lawyer knows the rules regarding disclosures, filings, and forms.
The importance of proper documentation and adherence to startup policies increases as the organization gains momentum. With expansion comes serious issues relating to employees, investors, and corporate responsibility. You cannot afford risking litigation if you overlook:
Many startups involving technology recognize the importance to protect their intellectual property. However, all startup companies must be cognizant of the relevant issues, the value of trade secrets, and implications of proprietary information. A wide range of complex legal doctrines affect your intellectual property and, as a startup, your work IS often the value. Protecting intellectual property and ideas should be a core focus of operations. It is a huge mistake to glaze over intellectual property terms when working with stakeholders, partners, investors, and others.
Complying with tax laws is a trying task, but it is not enough to simply adhere to the Internal Revenue Code. Startups must also endeavor to seek out tax advantages that will offer benefits and reduce liability down the road. Some of the more common tax issues affecting startups include:
A lawyer gives you peace of mind knowing that essential tasks are being handled efficiently, properly, and legally. Your own financial resources – and the contribution of your investors – are in good hands if you have skilled legal counsel from the outset. The investment may seem considerable at the beginning, but it is worthwhile when you know you are saving your enterprise time, money, resources, and legal troubles in the long run.
A startup lawyer benefits your organization goals and adds value to your enterprise in many ways, including:
Most importantly, retaining an experienced startup lawyer ensures you can devote the time and resources necessary to promote your objectives. An attorney will make sure you focus on the most important matters, so you will not be distracted by the details.