New business ideas can arise quickly and starting a new business can be a seemingly simple task. However, ensuring that your new business remains viable beyond the first year takes more than quick thinking. It takes planning, research, analysis, and help. This post provides emerging businesses with three simple steps to help ensure business success.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. For legal advice pertaining to your specific business, please consult one of our attorneys.
Author: Elijah Hartman
First, you have to examine what makes businesses successful. In short, do your research. Successful businesses, no matter the field, provide some added value or ease to others that isn’t already provided. This value added is your business
purpose, and is central to your plan. Importantly, however, this added value should be, well, valuable. Meaning that someone is willing to pay for it.
Therefore, second, it is very important to identify, and respond to, your audience. To be successful, not everyone has to patronize a business or even like it. A business need only identify some group or segment of the population that could benefit, and to direct efforts towards them.
Third, write it out. A good business plan should include a written breakdown of your anticipated investments, operating costs and overhead, staffing needs, potential obstacles, and short and long-term revenue and growth projections.
Fourth, amend, revise, and start again. A good business plan will have evolved and improved and may take a much different form in the end than the beast it was when it started.
Contrary to what you may believe, Apple and Microsoft do not sell computers and mobile phones. They sell contracts and license agreements. A successful business has a panoply of legal documents drafted for their protection and benefit. Your written contracts guarantee payment, set forth performance obligations, and provide remedies in the event that one party doesn’t follow through, which is common.
Yes, you must have a written contract-- for everything. Rather than viewing this as in impedance to your business, I invite you to redefine your view of business. Providing a client with your written contract not only signals your professionalism, work ethic, and experience, it also is also serves as a strong litmus test for what it will be to work with that person. If they react negatively to being presented with your agreement, are overly nitpicky over contractual language, or disregard it entirely, congratulations, you just dodged a bullet. Gracefully thank them for their time, and move on.
A good contract is professionally drafted, detailed, and tailored your specific transaction. And a good contact, like a fine wine, gets better with age. Memories fade, situations change, and as such, a good contract becomes more valuable over time. If your main concern is fitting the contract on one double-spaced page you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Your signed contracts become a substantial part of your business’ value and it is important to appropriately invest by having your own legal counsel to draft, review, and revise them.
No one ever became successful alone. Similarly, you don’t know what you don’t know, and what you don’t know can hurt you. Finding and developing relationships with those with different experience and perspective is truly invaluable, and should be your initial focus.
As a start-up, you should look for and develop a healthy working relationship with legal counsel that both understands your business needs and is willing to work with you to help you navigate any hidden hazards. Schedule a call with an attorney to review your business plan, legal documents, and liability protections. And importantly, no matter what your business does, you should set aside 10% of your revenue for attorneys, accountants, and other legal professionals, which will be necessary to help your business succeed.
Whether you are creating a new business, or expanding an existing one, having good legal help makes a difference in your business success. As a full-service business law attorney with experience with start-ups, intellectual property, contract drafting, licensing, and civil litigation, I strive to work with you to protect and advance your business’ success. To learn more about how I can help schedule a free initial consultation today.