Common questions start-up lawyers get:
Q: A friend and I believe we have developed a good business plan and product. We are ready for the next step (starting the business officially). Why should we talk to a lawyer? We’ve come this far on our own.
Consulting with a lawyer at this point is a worthwhile investment. You have a product, and you need to protect it. You also need to focus your energy on moving forward, and consulting (at least) with an attorney will provide the compass you need to keep from going sideways (at best) and off course (at worst).
You can get forms anywhere – incorporation, LLC, partnership, etc… Legal advice is what you get from an attorney, not paper. A good attorney will help you focus on:
What is your business plan?
How will ownership and control work?
How fast and how large do you want to grow?
What will your hiring needs be?
Incubator/accelerator programs are not just for tech companies anymore. They provide valuable services like free training, mentoring and office space concentrating on businesses with similar needs. The benefits are obvious. Even lawyers and banks are joining ‘start-up’ spaces.
Everything involved is a matter of fit; clarify your needs first. Is there a local program that offers the guidance you need? Is there a program in hub city that offers a better fit? Can you relocate?
The next question, and one that requires careful consideration: is what is the commitment required?
Atlanta’s incubator/accelerator infrastructure is growing quickly. Georgia’s tax credit program for angel investing/crowdsourcing support this infrastructure.
Consulting with an experienced attorney is never a bad idea. Even if you use ‘DIY’ business formation tools, you need the discussion with a lawyer who has seen things go both right and wrong.
A ‘free’ half hour consultation is not going to do it. Expect two to three hours. Most experienced attorneys will do this for a very reasonable, minimal fee.
You don’t have time to fix mistakes. Start up, not down.
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