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by yec

7 Legal Issues Most Entrepreneurs Overlook When Starting a Business

There’s a lot to think about when first starting a business. Make sure you don’t push legal issues to the wayside.

Question: Name one legal issue that most entrepreneurs don't consider when starting a business, but should.

Business Structure

"There are a few types of business entities you can form when starting a business, from corporation to partnership. Before forming your business, look into the legal considerations for different types of businesses, as it affects taxation, funding, mergers and acquisitions and more."

International Trademarks

"While you may register ownership rights for a specific brand name in the U.S., you may not realize another company operates under the same name in Germany, Australia and Singapore. This might not be something you need to worry about short term, but in the long run, you can save yourself quite a few headaches and lawsuits when you make sure you can have full and universal rights to your trademark."

Accounting and Finance

"Most entrepreneurs don't give nearly enough time and attention to boring, fundamental stuff like making sure the proper accounting and bookkeeping infrastructure is in place. I've made this mistake and it has cost me thousands to go back and fix accounting issues manually when they could have been properly handled with a modicum of care and the right software."

Intellectual Property

"When you begin, it's tough to imagine that you'll potentially later face issues with people infringing on your intellectual property assets (or vice versa). It's worth the investment of time and money to get your copyrights, trademarks, patents and trade secrets legally registered so you don't have to stress about it if, and when, an issue arises."

Vesting

"It is extremely difficult to find the right co-founders for your business. You need to have a similar work ethic and timeline for the investment, your chemistry has to match and you have to make sound decisions for the company. Instead of getting all of your shares at once, consider vesting your equity over time so you have a fair solution if these factors do not line up, as is often the case."

Non-Disclosure Agreements

"A lot of people, when beginning their first startup, don't think too much about NDAs because it seems like a given -- don't talk about what is supposed to be "top secret." Getting everyone you engage with in your business to sign one of these is crucial. Whether you suspect they'd run and tell the competition or not, you need it all on paper."

Trademarks

"Perform a knockout search before choosing a business name. A few-hundred-dollar investment with an IP lawyer will potentially save you from realizing a major mistake down the road, like infringing upon another company's trademark."

by yec

7 Legal Issues Most Entrepreneurs Overlook When Starting a Business

There’s a lot to think about when first starting a business. Make sure you don’t push legal issues to the wayside.

Question: Name one legal issue that most entrepreneurs don't consider when starting a business, but should.

Business Structure

"There are a few types of business entities you can form when starting a business, from corporation to partnership. Before forming your business, look into the legal considerations for different types of businesses, as it affects taxation, funding, mergers and acquisitions and more."

International Trademarks

"While you may register ownership rights for a specific brand name in the U.S., you may not realize another company operates under the same name in Germany, Australia and Singapore. This might not be something you need to worry about short term, but in the long run, you can save yourself quite a few headaches and lawsuits when you make sure you can have full and universal rights to your trademark."

Accounting and Finance

"Most entrepreneurs don't give nearly enough time and attention to boring, fundamental stuff like making sure the proper accounting and bookkeeping infrastructure is in place. I've made this mistake and it has cost me thousands to go back and fix accounting issues manually when they could have been properly handled with a modicum of care and the right software."

Intellectual Property

"When you begin, it's tough to imagine that you'll potentially later face issues with people infringing on your intellectual property assets (or vice versa). It's worth the investment of time and money to get your copyrights, trademarks, patents and trade secrets legally registered so you don't have to stress about it if, and when, an issue arises."

Vesting

"It is extremely difficult to find the right co-founders for your business. You need to have a similar work ethic and timeline for the investment, your chemistry has to match and you have to make sound decisions for the company. Instead of getting all of your shares at once, consider vesting your equity over time so you have a fair solution if these factors do not line up, as is often the case."

Non-Disclosure Agreements

"A lot of people, when beginning their first startup, don't think too much about NDAs because it seems like a given -- don't talk about what is supposed to be "top secret." Getting everyone you engage with in your business to sign one of these is crucial. Whether you suspect they'd run and tell the competition or not, you need it all on paper."

Trademarks

"Perform a knockout search before choosing a business name. A few-hundred-dollar investment with an IP lawyer will potentially save you from realizing a major mistake down the road, like infringing upon another company's trademark."

See Also: 3 Startup Myths That Can Really Hurt Your Business

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