COVID-19 has impacted all of us in many ways, especially when it comes to the economy and job market. Many of us are challenged by having less control over our personal and family finances. This is especially challenging when we are employees dependent upon someone else who may have laid us off, reduced our work hours, or no longer has opportunities available for us to earn our income.
Along with our fighting spirit as a country, however, many of us have looked toward creating our own opportunities by staring a new business. Between May and June this year alone, 930,000 new companies were founded; and over the past three months, more new businesses were launched in the U.S. than in any quarter in history. Between June and September, nearly 1.4 million startups were founded, a 49 percent increase over the second quarter–and a 67 percent increase over the previous third-quarter startup high set in 2018.
If you were someone who started a new business this year, what do you do with it now? While many people are jumping in headfirst into their new companies, it’s worth it to take some time to prepare and plan both your business and its legal needs. It’s as simple as defining the “Why, How, and What” of your business.
Below, we have just a sample of the questions to answer regarding your legal needs for your new business. At Duke Law Firm, we can partner with you to navigate through these critical decisions. Over the next several weeks we will be providing some more thoughts around several of these areas.
Identify ‘Why’ Your New Business Venture Exists
Take time to begin with the end-goal in mind. It’s critical to determine WHY your new company is existence at all. What is its mission or purpose? While your legal documents define the “scope” of your business, a clear mission statement is a critical business statement to ensure you are focused with your energy, effort, and focus. Just like each of us has purpose in life, our new companies should be given well-defined purposes as well.
Determine ‘How’ Your Company Will Pursue Its Mission
After you have defined your why, next you must determine HOW you will accomplish your mission. This is not the day-to-day operations, but rather the guiding principles and values you will use to accomplish your mission. The symbol of this is your brand, which will signal to the world how you are different and what sets you apart from the competition. Think about strong brands such as Apple, Southwest Airlines, and Disney: Each of these brands is built on communicating what these companies value and their level of quality. Have you filed for trademark protection to ensure your brand is safe?
Explore ‘What’ Your Company Will Do to Take Action
After you have established the Why and How of your company’s purpose, it’s time to get into the details and determine WHAT you will do to accomplish your company’s mission.
The work here is endless, but here are some helpful topics to think through as you plan out your business:
- What is your strategy to accomplish your goal? Have you looked at the industry-specific regulations for your business?
- Who is your customer? Doing a little market research and developing target demographic profiles to define who your customers are will ensure that you understand them and their needs. It will also provide insight into how you can retain repeat business and inspire customer loyalty. Do you have your contracts ready to close the deal?
- What are your key suppliers and vendors? Have you negotiated vendor and supplier agreements to ensure what you need is in place? Have you negotiated a fair lease for space to operate your businesses?
- Do you have enough money in the bank to operate? Do you need to raise capital from investors? Do you need to obtain a loan/line of credit from a bank? Have you reviewed the proper tax treatment of your entity? Obtained an EIN? Created a Separate bank account?
- How will you continue to innovate? Do you have employees/staff working on the next big idea? Do you have effective employment/contractor agreements to ensure your business owns the inventions and other intellectual property developed?
- Do you own your data? Where is your data stored and are you ensuring that your data is safe, secure, accessible, and portable?
- Have you protected yourself from the risk of operation? Do you have the right insurance policy in place to address the risks of your business?
Finally, but most importantly, do you have the right team?
At the Duke Law Firm we can help you with any and all issues you are dealing with for your business, and we can also create solutions to provide general counsel services to your business structured to ensure you have a partner in making these key decisions and operating.
If you’d like to learn more about us and our services, please schedule a consultation by contacting us online or calling (210) 880-0652 today.