scales of justice

How small businesses can improve efficiency: hire a lawyer

December 28, 2012

scales of justice

Do better at delegating: hire a lawyer

One of the top things business owners acknowledge they could do better on is delegating. It’s okay to wear multiple hats within your business, but you can’t handle the finances, marketing strategies and IT problems all by yourself or else things will start to slip through the cracks. And when it comes to legal issues, this statement holds even more truth. Small business owners should have an attorney on retainer to proactively handle any potential issues before they turn into a huge problem. Paying for an attorney’s time can be pricey, but the cost comes with many benefits.

You should hire an attorney that specializes in the industry your business is in and has common knowledge of contract law, intellectual property, real estate and business organizations. When starting a new business, owners have tunnel vision, and are working on deliverables that will get the business up and running. Because of this, it’s easy to overlook the paperwork needed to lease an office space or not pay much attention to what benefits your business gets if it’s set up as an LLC versus a sole proprietorship.

Becoming more thorough in your daily operations

While these things don’t seem pressing, when officials find out that your legal responsibilities aren’t in order, your business will be slapped with hefty fines and court dates. Rather than spending time and money in court, away from your business, hire an attorney to remain vigilant on these things for you. It doesn’t detract from your ability to be a great business owner; it makes you more thorough in your daily operations.

All attorneys aren’t created equally, so do your research before hiring. If they have client references in a business similar to yours, speak with that company and get a feel for how their experience has been so far. Also be certain about how your attorney handles billing – do they charge a flat fee or bill by the hour?

And lastly, determine if your business would benefit most from a large or small attorney firm. Larger firms are likely to carry more clout and can pass on benefits such as being used as a reference when negotiating partner agreements. A larger firm is also more likely to have all of the skill sets your business needs under one roof.

The takeaway

With an attorney on hand, your legal house is in order, and you can dedicate your time to the areas of your business that benefit best from your input. Delegating legal responsibilities to an experienced attorney decreases the likelihood that your business will make a legal misstep.

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Destiny Bennett is a journalist who has earned double communications' degrees in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as a certification in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written stories for AustinWoman Magazine as well as various University of Texas publications and enjoys the art of telling a story. Her interests include finance, technology, social media...and watching HGTV religiously.

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