****This is a bonus fifth post in a four-part series about when it makes sense to stretch your startup budget to include legal help.
Top 10 Takeaways For Savvy Food Startup Founders
- Dealing with lawyers and legal issues can feel uncomfortable. Do it anyway. You'll feel better.
- Trademark your brand name, ASAP. Protect your marketing dollars and sweat equity.
- Get a founders agreement if you have co-founders, and do it before your business is worth anything.
- Get food business insurance. Do it NOW, if you haven't already. Make sure the policy matches your business operations. If you already have insurance, take another look at the policy. Does it still cover you? Your business has probably grown and changed. Go have a talk with your insurance agent. More tips here.
- Only consider suing someone if your business is truly threatened, and you have a good chance of recovering more than you'll spend in dollars, time, or emotional energy. This is rare.
- If you're considering a big business move (co-packing, investment, new co-founder or key employee getting a slice of your company), get a lawyer to review the contract and help you negotiate if necessary.
- Don't break a contract without getting strategic legal advice first. You'll probably pay more in the end if you go it alone.
- It's worth it to invest in tailored legal documents that you use over and over in your business and that can protect you on a daily basis.
- If you get sued, take it seriously. Don't represent yourself. Get legal help.
- Be safe, not sorry. If you're worried about something, or can't see your next step clearly, see if a lawyer will spend an hour consulting with you. Sometimes you can get a free consult; it can't hurt to ask. Often, though, you get what you pay for. Paying for one hour of focused attorney time can reap big rewards if it helps you break through a business barrier and gain clarity with a strategic path forward.
Check out the rest of the posts in the Investing In Legal Help series on when it makes sense to stretch your startup budget to pay a lawyer: