When budgets are tight in the early days of a growing business it can be hard to allocate funds to legal advice. However, saving this sort of external support for when your business gets larger or more developed can be a false economy. It’s something that the Commercial team at Shulmans have seen all too often when clients come to us seeking advice only after the horse has bolted.
Some issues are important to prioritise early to protect your business as well as possible for what is to come.
The key issue of ownership of fundamental assets like customer data, website content or coding of key software developments is one which young, rapidly-expanding businesses may feel they can save money on, particularly when funds are tight. However, those businesses often come to regret that saving later when they discover their growth is built on shaky foundations. Early awareness from business owners and involvement from legal professionals can ensure issues are dealt with quickly and cost effectively, protecting your business for the future.
These kind of errors often come from a mistaken belief that simply paying for work to be done by a contractor, such as a third party developer or creative, will entitle the business to claim intellectual property rights in whatever results, but without correct documentation that is not going to be the case. An early and basic understanding of key legal risks and vulnerabilities, particularly around the areas of ensuring your business owns everything being done for or on behalf of it, and points like regulatory risks can really save management time and sleepless nights in the longer term.
Proper advice and support is also the key to ensuring the best opportunities are available to your business as it expands its options for making money from those assets. If licensing to others or working in joint ventures to further develop the ideas and assets of a business are a next step on the route to expansion, then having secure ownership and protection of those assets will be a fundamental requirement for many prospective partners. Driving a great bargain with those third parties can be dependent on how much of a clean bill of health your business has going into those partnerships and working relationships.
For more information please contact any of our team below even if, at this stage, you just want to have an initial chat about where you are up to and what your requirements might be in the coming weeks and months as you grow your business.
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