What to Discuss at Your First Startup Business Consultation

Getting a startup business off on the right foot takes careful thought and preparation. There are multiple decisions to make and steps to take. Consulting with an experienced business attorney is an important part of the laying the initial groundwork. You can make your initial meeting with your attorney more productive by having certain key questions and concerns in mind.

Here is a checklist of matters you should be prepared to discuss at the first consultation with your business startup lawyer:

  • The structure of the business — The most common organizational structures for small businesses are corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs). Both of these serve to shield company owners’ personal funds and assets from business debts and other liabilities.
  • The business’s name — There are legal restrictions on names you can use. A name cannot infringe on or cause confusion with another business’s trademark or brand. There are websites where you check can whether your choice of name has already been taken.
  • Internal documents — Most every business is governed by such documents as corporate bylaws, partnership agreements and LLC operating agreements. Even if you plan to run the business yourself initially, you should put a document in place setting out basic operating procedures, control of ownership and organizational policies.
  • Capitalization — You should be prepared to discuss how you intend to finance the startup operation, whether through personal funds, loans or outside investors. Bring any loan commitments you may have already secured and the names of investors.
  • Regulatory compliance — You will need to discuss what state and federal regulations may apply to the type of business you intend to start. These can cover such areas as sales taxes, workplace safety, employment, environmental protection, advertising and licensing.
  • Intellectual property — You will want to make sure that your brand name and trademark are protected, along with other IP assets such as proprietary documents, computer apps and internal systems. If there is an invention you wish to protect, you may need to apply for a patent.
  • Contracts — Your business will need contracts to carry on transactions, protect confidential information, lease physical premises and enter into relationships with key employees. Contracts must be efficiently drawn to protect your interests and to set out remedies for breach.
  • Risk assessment — Many startup businesses fail, often due to factors outside their control. However, with an attorney’s guidance, you can make a good effort at predicting risks you may face and finding ways to deal with them.

A business attorney who has worked with other entrepreneurs on a variety of new ventures can be of invaluable assistance in dealing with all of these issues. That attorney can also be a source of reliable continuing advice as your company grows and changes.

The Law Firm of Joseph M. Udall, PLC in Mesa advises Arizona residents on all aspects of business planning and management. Call (480) 500-1866 or contact us online for a consultation.