In architectural terms, they often link the foundation to the fate of the rest of the structure. A poorly planned or implemented foundation doesn’t bode well for what’s to come! And that’s exactly the case for a business venture. If your startup process isn’t well-planned, or has legal or procedural issues, it’s likely that those issues might permeate through the rest of your evolution. Having an experienced startup law firm guide you through initial setup…and beyond, could make all the difference.
Today, it’s so tempting to incorporate a startup business online, using generic legal templates. With just a few clicks, would-be entrepreneurs fill out forms and submit them to the federal, state and other professional bodies. The selling point for some of these options include the fact that you can “start a business in 10 minutes!”. If that’s really the case, why bother working with an experienced startup attorney?
Two words: Value add!
The reason most prospective start-up ventures “bother” to speak with and work through a law firm, specialized in business start-ups, is because of the value such consultations bring. As an entrepreneur, especially if this is your first venture startup, it’s likely you’ll have many questions that a template does not cover:
- What type of an entity is good for my type of business?
- Would you recommend an LLC or Partnership structure?
- Is there an advantage for me if I form my startup as a C-Corporation?
The only response you’re likely to receive, to these – and other – questions, from most template-based apps is: “Please make a valid selection from the drop-down list”. For many startup businesses, that’s not a reasonable nor particularly helpful answer.
Keeping Abreast of Legal Updates
Most attorney’s working at a professional startup law firm are required (legally, professionally and ethically) to keep abreast with changing laws on a day-to-day basis. While many online templates may incorporate such changes “in the next update cycle”, Federal and State entities won’t cut your startup business any slack for filing the wrong (or outdated) paperwork.
Considering that you’re only spending “10 minutes” to launch what might be your passion for the next 10 or more years, wouldn’t you want to consult with a professional first? Even if a legal template does incorporate updates on an hourly basis – which is highly unlikely! – seasoned professionals provide the benefit of foresight, not just hindsight.
For instance, consulting with a “real, live” lawyer might reveal some insights into proposed changes to legal and statutory frameworks that could impact your decisions around a startup venture’s structure. The reason you’ll receive the benefit of such expertise is because the men and women working at those firms offer more than just template-based advice and recommendations.
You might save a few hundred, or even a few thousand, dollars using cookie-cutter startup advice and templates. However, in doing so, you could very well be risking much more in the longer-term, including legal complications due to incorrect startup documentation, fines and penalties; and – most importantly – bad publicity and irreparable reputational damage. Consulting with a seasoned startup attorney before building a foundation for your venture is the best way to assure you build a strong and legally sound startup venture.