Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Always Mean You Should
Advice for Using the Web to Meet Your Legal Needs When Starting a Business
Starting a business is both stressful and rewarding, but it also opens the door to plenty of unsolicited advice–advice that may mean well but not serve you in today’s economy or environment. Much of this advice may not even be directly related to your business or your current needs. Oftentimes, online search results are too broad to adequately reflect the needs of the person searching, and therefore, may not provide you with adequate answers or the specific information you were looking for. The following will outline some of the choices that you may need to make as a new business owner and provide tools to assist in gleaning the right advice for your specific needs.
Every new business needs to form a “corporation,” no matter what form that takes, whether a “C” corporation, an “LLC,” or any other variation of corporate structure. A simple Google search on “forming a corporation,” will produce many websites, offering all manners of services and advising unsuspecting business owners on the “best choice for their needs.” Unfortunately, this advice is often offered without regard for any of the relevant or personal information of the business owners, and with too large a focus on the cost of the filing fee. I see many new clients that have naively formed an LLC solely because it was the cheapest option on the self-service website. I certainly understand the need for a new business to be strategic in how they spend their funds, but I am also a strong advocate for my client’s understanding of why certain decisions are made and how those decisions affect their business. Just because something is the cheapest option, doesn’t mean it was necessarily the right choice for the needs of the business owner.
While search engines can be helpful in discovering the best local pizza or things to see while traveling, they are not the best place to go for important legal documents. Many of my clients come to me after downloading generic contracts from the internet, whether employment agreements, shareholder agreements, or lease agreements to name a few; these documents are now causing issues, as they were not drafted with the specific needs of the business in mind. It is these documents that are now bringing them to my door — they are now in need of documents that will protect them.