Common Questions for Start-Up Lawyers:
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.
A: 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).
Q: I can get forms anywhere, especially online – incorporation, LLC, partnership, etc. Do I still need an attorney?
A: Legal advice is what you get from an attorney, not forms. A good attorney will help you focus on your goals and will help you prioritize accordingly.
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?
Q: Do I need Incubator Applications?
A: 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.
Q: How do I know what is best for my business?
A: 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 a hub city that offers a better fit? Can you relocate? The next question, and one that requires careful consideration: what is the commitment required?
Q: Is Atlanta a good city to start my new business?
A: Atlanta’s incubator/accelerator infrastructure is growing quickly. Georgia’s tax credit program for angel investing/crowdsourcing support this infrastructure.
Q: Do I still need to consult an attorney if I use various DIY business tools?
A: 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.
Q: How long should my consultation with an attorney last?
A: 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.