Millions of startups are created each year globally but staggeringly enough, only 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs will eventually see their business grow successfully. Bleak statistics shouldn’t scare you off from starting out your own company, though.
Entrepreneurs need to play it smart: a great product for the right market, a talented and supportive team are all important factors in turning new business ventures into success stories, but you shouldn’t overlook the administrative and legal side of the overall entrepreneurial process.
1. Registering your company name
One of the first basic legal steps when starting out a new business is to register your company name. Because of obvious copyright infringement issues, the chosen name cannot be similar to another registered name. Make sure to check online to see if your company name and domain isn’t already taken as well as with the Intellectual Property Office in the UK and the Patent and Trademark Office in the US.
Registering a business name (a different name than your registered name) as a trademark is an extra step that might be needed if you worry about other people trading under your business name. In the UK, this administrative and legal step will cost between £170 and £200 plus £50 for each extra class, and this can all be done conveniently online. For US based businesses, you will have to head over to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in order to register.
2. Insuring your new business
All businesses need a liability insurance. This type of insurance will protect your business in the event of accidents that might occur to your employees and customers. It can help covering medical expenses, attorney fees before having to seek other legal advice from specialised injury lawyers for instance. Property insurance is another must, especially if you own a lot of equipment and facilities.
3. Intellectual property issues
If your business is centered around a new and unique idea, technology, product or service, you will have to to take a few steps in order to protect the intellectual property of what you have created. This also avoids you infringing inadvertently on the intellectual property of another company (and all the legal mess that can ensue).
Startups can look into patents to protect the invention of a new product: this will prevent third parties to make, use and distribute a similar product. A legal adviser or lawyer is usually needed for this step as this can be a lengthy but necessary process. Non-disclosure agreements can also be a needed step if you want to prevent the holders of confidential information within your company to share it with a third party.
Regardless of the legal needs that your startup business may have, be sure have a trusted legal adviser as part of your business team. The least thing you want to happen to your business is facing a lawsuit without anyone who understands the subject matter on your side. And yes, lawsuits and any other legal issues are parts of running a business; you need to get used to them, and a lawyer can make things easier for both you and your business.
Be sure to ask around and seek for recommendations. Talk with several lawyers and see whether you’ve found one who is the most proper legal representative for your business.