As a small business owner, there are many legal intricacies that can throw you for a loop. It’s easy to get taken advantage of by partners you thought were friends, landlords, or competitors who claim to own your name. There’s no doubt you are an expert in the industry your business is in, but the legal aspects of business ownership is a whole different beast.
Although legal representation does come at a cost and business owners must be mindful of limited financial resources, hiring an attorney up front to set things up properly and make sure you have your “i”s dotted and “t”s crossed, is not something that should be sacrificed since it could come back and bite you later on.
For example, Ser & Associates once worked with a client who purchased a small restaurant via a real estate broker. The purchase agreement was poorly written, the seller financed the purchase, our client fell behind on payments and litigation was threatened. This is when Ser & Associates was hired.
After a review of the documents and facts in the case, we learned that the original purchase agreement did not really pass title to the business and false information was provided by the seller inflating the initial purchase price. Thankfully, we were able to negotiate a settlement in which the proper paperwork was put in place, the original purchase price was reduced, and a payment schedule was devised to allow the young restaurant to make it. However, the entire fiasco would have been avoided had our client hired us up front, rather than when things went sour, which cost her a lot more money and heartache.
Another common oversight of small and mid-size business owners is not thinking about protecting their intellectual property – name and logo, for example. Yet, in this day and age, it is of utmost importance that you do so, especially after working so hard to build a solid and/or unique brand identity. It can be financially devastating to a business to learn that someone else already owns the name, requiring you to start from scratch or defending against a trademark infringement lawsuit.
For a new client who can afford to go all-in, we recommend finding an attorney who can help with buying and selling a business, setting up and negotiating contracts, real estate services (purchase/sale, commercial leasing, landlord-tenant matters, land use & zoning), Trademark/Patents, franchising, government contracting, minority certifications, and more. Ser & Associates can assist with all of these matters!
Ser & Associates is itself a small business, which is celebrating its 10th year. As such, we wholeheartedly understand the financial constraints that small businesses face and we gladly work with clients on identifying the legal services they need and then prioritizing and devising a game plan to meet your budget. We also created a program called MYGC/My General Counsel® to assist business owners in obtaining the legal services they need at affordable prices.
If we can assist you or your business in any way, please pick up the phone and contact us today at 305.222.7282.