1. Create A Winning Business Plan
Starting a small business or startup can seem like a daunting task that leaves you wondering where to start. The best place to begin is by creating an executive summary which is essentially your business’s calling card. You must include it and clearly state the problem” your business solves. Here are some items to think about when outlining your business plan:
- Start with a company overview clearly outlining: your mission statement, a summary of the company’s legal structure and ownership, company history, and location.
- Your company’s products & services: Explain the core of what you are trying to achieve and detail the problem you are solving, how you are solving it, your competition and your edge. Be sure to include the technologies you are using, intellectual property that you own, and what you plan to build.
- Marketing & Sales Plan: What strategies are you using to reach your target market, promote your offerings, and generate sales and revenue.
- Milestones, Metrics, and Management: This is the part that investors focus on most. Be sure to include relevant team bios and why your management personnel are the right people for their jobs. Investors very often invest in people more than products.
- Finance: How much capital does your business need to get started or to grow? Where it will be spent? How much money do you plan on bringing in? Where will you spend it once it comes?
2. Protect Your Intellectual Property EARLY
Now that your business plan is complete, it is vital that you immediately protect your intellectual property. By making this step a priority, you avoid common obstacles like realizing late in the game that another company is using a variant of your name and now wants to sue you.
Here are some things to think about:
- Depending on your products or services, what kind of intellectual property do you need to protect? This affects whether you need to register for a trademark, copyright, or patent. A credible law firm or legal expert can help you determine your type of intellectual property.
Be proactive and take the first legal step to protecting your business’ intellectual property. This allows you to have the upper hand in case you deal with infringement or competition later down the line.
3. Why You Need A Legal Team
Protecting your brand before you share your product and/or business with the world is essential and often overlooked due to the presumed costs that come with starting the process. Most entrepreneurs forgo obtaining an attorney at the beginning stages of their business journey due to thinking they do not need one yet. It is never too early to protect your intellectual property and not doing it on the onset can and will cost you later.
Educating yourself on common legal issues within your specific industry can help you identify when it is necessary to consult an attorney with experience in business. Most law firms offer free legal consultations, find one that will offer you this opportunity in order to effectively explore your options.
When searching for legal representation, it is important to think about location, credibility, and experience. Laws concerning businesses vary from state to state, so it is ideal to choose a law firm near you and your business’ market, as well as one that has attorneys that can practice and have jurisdiction in multiple locations.
Many businesses claim to be the best, including law firms. In New York City alone, there are hundreds of large, mid-sided, or boutique law firms to choose from. This is when the research stage comes in. A small business or startup owner wants to identify the scope of the firm’s experience in intellectual property law, their credibility, and how affordable they are. Here are some pro-tips:
- Assess the law firm’s experience in intellectual property for small businesses. Are they dedicated to supporting the entrepreneurial community? Do they have a team focusing on intellectual property law?
- Reading reviews is crucial and allows you to learn through another business owner’s experience. Living in a digital age means we don’t have to rely solely on word of mouth anymore. What are other business owners saying about this law firm on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and more?
- Beginning your business shouldn’t mean having to break the bank. Keep your budget in mind when searching for experienced, yet affordable law firms.