We asked a lawyer about starting a business (so you don't have to)

Oct 10 2018, 5:13 pm

How many times have you had a great idea and thought “wow, that could make a great business” here in Vancouver? And how many times have you followed through with your great ideas?

When it comes to starting a business, time is of the essence. There will always be competition but if you’re passionate about the product/service you’re offering and you get in the market at the right time, there’s no reason why your business shouldn’t be a success.

Of course, when you’re in the throes of setting up your company, expenses are high and the budget is low. For that reason, seeking legal advice is usually last on your priority list — but it’s important at any stage of your business.

We sat down with Dana Gordon, owner and senior counsel of Benchmark Law Corporation, to find out the fundamentals behind starting your own business and the challenges which can present themselves along the way.

The most common legal mistakes people make when starting a business

According to Dana Gordon, two of the most common legal mistakes that individuals make when starting a business start with (1) Trying to do everything themselves to save money. However, getting help at the start can often save money down the road if you end up making mistakes. Many experts offer free consultations so there’s definitely no harm in reaching out and finding out if you’re on the right track. And (2), Working with others and not getting things in writing.

Whether it’s a partner, employee or client, having your relationship documented in writing will serve to protect the interests of both parties. “Never be afraid to ask someone to sign a contract. In most cases, it will benefit them as well.”

The passion leading entrepreneurs in BC

“BC overall is very entrepreneurial. I see a lot of people that turn their passions into side businesses, or have a great idea and decide to run with it.  There isn’t much fear here in terms of trying out a business idea.” In fact, as of 2017, 98% of the businesses operating in BC are small businesses, and 84% of those are micro-businesses (with 0-4 employees).  Small business is a driving force in BC’s economy, more so than any other province.

Gordon notes that Benchmark Law has seen a lot of their clients go from their initial idea, to starting a business, to growing and expanding. “We support them along the way and end up using their services if we can as well.” We have clients in almost every industry and if someone needs a product or service, it’s likely we have a client that can help!”

Some of the biggest legal challenges faced by entrepreneurs

Gordon explains that a lot of the time, the biggest challenges are partner disputes.

“Without documenting the relationship in writing, and devising exit strategies and dispute resolution mechanisms, you can face a long battle if you want to separate.” The best time to address these issues is at the start of the relationship when everyone is getting along. That way, you can point to your agreement if you do end up in a dispute down the road.

How Benchmark Law can help small business owners

Whether you need support during your business start-up stage, assistance with the drafting of contracts and documents, maintaining your company, or negotiation of disputes, Benchmark Law can help you out.

“We are here to provide the support business owners need in an affordable and approachable manner,” says Dana Gordon. The senior counsel at Benchmark Law notes that her firm never charges for consultations, phone calls, or emails, so as their client, you can easily contact the team whenever you need some guidance.

For more information and to get support as you start to grow your business, visit Benchmark Law Corporation now.

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