Startup business usually starts before they start. May sound confusing but, the planning should be deemed as the start. Also, people get to start spreading the word before they start. That makes sense. People want others to know what they are embarking on and how their venture will be a good service or a good product for the public at large. Cheap and easy advertising is by word -of-mouth. This piece will touch on planning. This is not the writing of the business plan that you usually see on blogs. It is the planning that involves the dreaded person that everyone enjoys making fun of, but most surely seek when they are in trouble.
Beyond the desire of getting free counseling to make a profit, there is the focus of seeking what is needed at the most minimal cost to start a business. Seeking free legal advice to make a profit sounds ideal. You may buy a ready-made will and once the dreadful day comes, your family learns that there was a glitch with the enforceability of your loved one’s will. Yes, that means you need to call a lawyer. Darn!
Are you sure what you are about to do is right or legal? Licensing issues do creep up with startups as securing rights to intellectual property. In the previous piece, Startup Business – More Than an Idea, I mentioned the matter involving intellectual property. For instance, a client may want to present a jingle with their advertising and fail to secure permission for its use, even if it is just 2 to 4 four bars of music. Or, maybe there is a snazzy pic that would make their website pop to the Internet searcher’s eye or make the site look more professional. Securing permission is usually overlooked, not done, and yes, not doing so, will cause callers to seek, not legal advice, but seek legal representation instead. The former is cheaper than the latter.
Regulatory compliance for the service and or product usually falls in the category of consumer protection. This may involve safety concerns, fraud concerns, and financial security concerns. Each of these three present a wonder pandoras box for startups. Calls are always made by entrepreneurs seeking free advice, seeking to know if what the caller wants to do is legal. The reason a responsible lawyers will not dispense the proverbial “free” okay over the phone, is because they may not have all the information the caller is truly willing, and should be conveying about the venture, to convey “outside” of the attorney client relationship. The responsible lawyer is respecting his or her own professional integrity while the caller, gets frustrated by not getting the information being sought. How can anyone expect to get valid advice from piecemeal information? How should anyone rely on advice provided over the phone from piecemeal information? Something is certainly not kosher here.
Every venture has requirements and many requirements may not only be governmental and regulatory. Your state’s attorney generals’ office may have a say about you intended business. Checking with the local Chamber of Commerce is not a bad idea, also. The rising entrepreneur may learn that the requirements may be set by vendors used to carry out the service, such as using an Amazon platform for an ecommerce site. There are policy guidelines that must be followed, or else risk be deemed deceptive, anti-competitive, intellectual property infringer, or a fraudster. The need for disclosures always gets the entrepreneur in trouble. Not thinking that there must be some transparency is also troublesome. If the intended business intends to handle credit payments, be ready to answer to compliance requirements and the disclosures required on handling private consumer information. Again, transparency may be troublesome, but it protects consumers. So, the entrepreneur should be prepared to meet that planned requirement.
As a secondary piece on startups, the planning usually incorporates notions of permissions and requirements for permission, including what type of disclosers are needed. Licensing required and the process for acquiring the needed licensing should be on the planning list. Making sure the process does not deviate from what is permitted, is the dance for success in the business world and of avoiding the court room. Careful planning goes a long way. As stated before, getting to know what to do, how to do, when to do, and in what order these things need to get done, is valuable for success, and needs to be planned out. Starting a successful business is not for the hasty of heart.