Having a business attorney is definitely a great idea when the time comes, but when is that time? Check out this article to find out when is the perfect time you should consider hiring a small business attorney now!
Wondering if your company needs a small business attorney? Then you need this guide.
As a small business, you can't afford to keep an attorney available at all times. But when you need legal help, you don't want to get stuck in a situation where you don't have the attorney you need available. When is it the right time to hire a business lawyer?
In this guide, we'll clear up the confusion. Keep reading to find out how to tell when it's time to hire a lawyer!
Do You Really Need a Small Business Attorney?
A small business lawyer can be an expensive investment. You might be wondering if you really need one at all.
Most small businesses will need a small business attorney at some point. But there are a few types of businesses that can succeed without ever needing legal guidance, too. Let's take a look at some of the cases when you might not need a small business lawyer at all.
1. Hobby Businesses
If your small business exists as a hobby, and not as a money-making venture, legal help probably isn't for you.
Hobby businesses aren't serious businesses that are meant to grow and become profitable. However, many people with "hobby businesses" may not realize that that's what they're doing. They might have a dream of making lots of money but aren't putting in the time or effort to make it happen.
Sometimes, your business is simply a pricey hobby. It's okay to run a business that doesn't make a profit if it's something you enjoy. After all, you can still call yourself an entrepreneur either way! And the good news is that you won't need a lawyer for this kind of business.
2. Businesses That Don't Make Money
Needless to say, there's a great deal of overlap between a hobby business and a company that's not making any money. You might even be losing money as you pursue your business. If your company isn't making money, it's not realistic to hire a lawyer, and you probably don't need one anyway.
3. Businesses With Generic Names
One of the main reasons you might need a small business lawyer is to protect your intellectual property, such as your company name. But if your company has a generic name, like "Joe's Electronics," there isn't any intellectual property to protect.
You can't trademark a name that's too generic, so you shouldn't waste your money on a lawyer whose protection you don't need.
4. Businesses That Can Do Legal Work
Finally, you might be among the minority of business owners who feels capable of handling your own legal tasks. Most of the time, this isn't the best idea. But if you have a legal background, you might feel that you can get by without a lawyer.
When to Hire a Small Business Lawyer
For the vast majority of small businesses, the above scenarios don't apply. Most businesses should hire a small business attorney - but it's all about hiring one at the right time. Let's take a look at some of the signs that it's time to get a lawyer on the phone.
1. You're Planning to Grow
If you have plans to grow your company in a major way, you should start talking to a lawyer as soon as possible.
"A major way" means you're planning to make revolutionary changes in your industry, or you want a brand that will go national or even global. If you're planning on having a major impact or major revenue, you'll need a solid legal team on board for the process.
2. You're Looking at Outside Funding
Outside funding can take a number of different forms, from private investors to structured debt.
No matter what, you'll be working with complicated securities laws when you start considering outside funding. You might be dealing with both federal and state regulations, and if you violate the laws, there are criminal penalties.
You don't want to pay thousands of dollars of fines, or worse, have to do jail time. Make sure you talk to a business lawyer so you can approach this situation without issues.
3. You Need to Protect Your Name
If your business doesn't have a generic name like those discussed above, you'll need to protect it. Your brand is innovative or unique - make sure other people can't steal from you.
A lawyer who knows small business and intellectual property laws will be able to help you protect your brand's name and identity from competitors.
4. You Make a Significant Gross Revenue Each Month
The exact number depends on your business. But if you're making a fairly high gross revenue each month - let's say measured in tens of thousands, not just thousands - you should have a lawyer.
Your business is pulling in significant amounts of cash. Even if you have high expenses, there should still be some profit left to work with. An attorney can help you avoid potentially expensive legal issues. If you have enough money coming in to afford a lawyer, get one.
5. You're Opening Lots of Businesses Fast
If you're quickly opening up multiple brands, you're probably looking to generate a lot of revenue in the near future. Why waste your energy doing the legal work that it takes to open different brands at the same time? Hiring a lawyer will quickly pay off in this situation.
6. You Don't Have Legal Trouble
If you wait to hire a lawyer until you've run into legal trouble, it's too late. As long as you can afford a small business attorney, the sooner you hire one the better.
Speaking to a lawyer will help you avoid foreseeable problems and keep your business healthy and legal.
Have You Defaulted on an SBA Loan?
If your business has defaulted on its SBA loan, it is time to contact an experienced SBA workout attorney to deal with your SBA loan. Not only is the business liable for the debt, but you, as the personal guarantor, are also liable. With the bank and the SBA coming after you for the SBA debt, it is time to retain an SBA attorney.
We can help. Click here to learn more about our SBA services.