Lawyers are expensive - can't I just start and grow my business without one?
This is a question running through the minds of many small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Below, eight business leaders discuss their opinions on the topic.
You Need a Team
For nearly any kind of business, a lawyer needs to be a central part of the team. The regulations around businesses have become incredibly complicated and attorneys who are experts in your business field will save you money in the long-term. It is tempting to do what you see others are doing and skip the legal fees but that will almost certainly backfire. Many attorneys are willing to grow with you. If they believe in your business plan, they are often willing to charge you a fixed monthly fee which will grow as your business grows. Find an attorney that you can trust and that has experience representing other companies that operate in the same space you do.
Depending on the type of business, you may be able to forgo a lawyer for many of the starting processes, especially if you’re a sole proprietor. However, the bigger your business grows, the more you may need expert legal advice. If you don’t understand the laws surrounding your specific field of business, it is a good idea to hire a lawyer to help you navigate. It all comes down to how much you know and how much you can do yourself. Everyone and every business are different, so find the solution that works best for you.
Mistakes Are Expensive
Lawyers ARE expensive, but mistakes are also expensive. The more risky your business is, the more expensive a bad mistake can be. Lawyers are great for avoiding many legal problems involving starting and growing a business, including licenses and leases. Lawyers are also great for helping you make decisions about your business, especially when you are trying to grow. You’ll save more money in the long run by doing things correctly the first time around with a lawyer who is an expert in business legalities. Before shopping for a lawyer, ensure that you tap your personal network first. Oftentimes if you know someone in the field of law they have colleagues who can advise you at a reduced rate.
Better Now Than Later
If you think lawyers (and accountants) are expensive now, wait until you find out how expensive they can be when something goes wrong. Lawyers help mitigate risk and a good one will help you understand when they need to be involved when they don't. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is sometimes worth a pound of cure.
Chris Owen, Real Estate Consultant and Investor
It Could Cost You
It can be more costly if you need one and haven't at least cultivated those relationships.
You Can’t Get Help if You Don’t Ask
Money well spent will protect you later. If you never ask for help, you’ll never get it. Good counsel will pay you back in spades.
Emily Beattie, Recruiter & Human Resource Consultant
Set Yourself Up for Success
Absolutely not. In fact, not having a lawyer and a good finance manager, accountant or bookkeeper can be the costliest mistake your small business makes. Set your business up for success at the onset by bringing on the expertise and resources that can help you avoid legal and financial pitfalls.
It Only Takes One
You can go without a lawyer, but you might lose everything you have built due to a single frustrated ex-employee or a competitor that decides to sue. In my mind, that’s just not worth it.