Starting a startup can be difficult. It takes time and effort to create a winning business idea and then kickstart the operation. It is not easy to launch a product or operate in a safe market. Many things must be done. In the beginning phases of a startup company, founders tend to overlook the legal requirements. This causes founders to make costly legal mistakes and prevent them from building a solid legal foundation.
Startup founders who make legal errors can cause severe problems for the company and lead to lawsuits. In some instances, the startup may be prevented from raising funds for business acceleration by failing to meet legal standards or negligent compliance. These are the top legal errors startups make:
Choose the business entity.
It is essential to choose the correct entity for your business when forming a business. There are many options: sole proprietorship, partnership, registered company (public/private), and sole proprietorship. If startup owners rush to register their business without taking the time necessary to investigate the options, it can decrease the company’s performance. When deciding to write a startup, liability, tax treatment, legal expenses, and growth plans are the most important things to consider.
Agreement of the founders
Startup founders are in a dynamic world where everything can change at any moment. It is crucial to have a well-drafted agreement between founders to avoid confusion, hassle, or waste of time. A well-drafted agreement between founders and co-founders outlines their key roles and responsibilities. This will prevent any potential conflicts in the future. It is essential to consider the following aspects in a founders’ agreement:
- Operational obligations, decision-making authority
- Equity breakdown
- Intellectual property right
- Remuneration and termination clauses
Protection of intellectual property
Startups have a lot of value in intellectual property. Due to widespread technological adoption, it is effortless to infringe any company name, domain name, or product. After patenting an invention, startups can secure IP to protect their innovation and be competitive against more prominent players in the market. To take an example, if a startup can patent their invention, the industry giants could easily copy and use it. This would allow them to remain ahead of the competition. It is essential to have a skilled attorney on your side to protect your strategy.
Non-compliance to security laws
This is one of the most normal legal errors that startup founders make. Early-stage startups often raise capital without considering security laws. Angel investors, friends, and family are all familiar sources of capital. Respecting security laws involves disclosure, filing, and compliance. Stocks not issued by law can result in severe financial penalties and heavy financial penalties for the startup founders.
It is essential not to neglect tax issues.
To ensure that their business is safe, every owner of a company must pay several taxes. If the founders do not get professional advice, they could face penalties or fines. The tax consideration depends on the type of business. There are factors to consider, like the choice of entity, stock options, and tax incentives. Startup companies should engage a professional consultant to ensure that all tax-related matters and regulations are appropriately addressed.
A professional legal counsel should not be hired.
The founders of startups work with a small budget and try to reduce expenses as much as possible. Inexperienced or close family members can be hired as legal counsel to help them save money. They make mistakes or inadvertently draft documents, which can cause more legal trouble. Many founders try to manage all legal processes themselves and also do it their way. To avoid any unnecessary problems, founders need to hire experienced and professional legal counsel. This will help prevent heavy penalties or the closing down of their businesses.
Permits and licenses are not required.
A business can’t operate without the required licenses or permits. The necessary licenses depend on the nature and purpose of the company. They include state qualification, sales taxes, home-based business permits, city, county, zoning permits, federal or state tax ID, and health department permits. Non-compliance when applying for licenses or permits can lead to severe penalties and fines. It is possible to avoid legal pitfalls in startups by having a professional lawyer appointed early. Founders must focus on compliance with all regulations rather than building the company or creating a novel product. This will ensure that your business is smooth and has better prospects of growth.