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February 8, 2020

The Top 2 Reasons to Factor Legal Costs Into Your Budget

This week I invited a special guest to the blog to help us start thinking more strategically about the legal side of our business. Taylor M. Tieman, Esq. is a Business + Trademark attorney based in Redondo Beach, CA. Not only does she run her own practice but she is also the Founder of The Legalmiga Membership group. In the post below she is highlighting the top 2 reasons a legal budget is super important.

New business owner? Take it from me when I say – I know how you feel. I went from a mid-size law firm completing only legal tasks day in and day out – to owning & operating my own law firm. While that transition may sound easy on paper – it was not. It has actually been extremely eye-opening and difficult. I knew absolutely nothing about running an actual business. Accounting, marketing, advertising, finances…I had to learn all of it by myself. The only thing I felt comfortable with was the “legal stuff,” so here’s exactly what you need to consider as a new(er)  business owner.

If you’re just starting out on your business journey, you’ve probably (read: hopefully) created some sort of business budget. Some things you may have included in your budget may be branding, marketing, supplies, taxes, hiring employees, operating expenses, etc. This is not an exhaustive list whatsoever, but this is a good starting point when considering all the ways money will be going out, and therefore how much money you need to come in.

As an attorney, legal is always on my mind. So when I started my business, the first things I researched were how to do so legally. That included asking myself questions like:

  • What business structure is best for me in terms of liability/taxes?
  • Do I need any business licenses?
  • How can I protect my services, programs I have created, etc.? If you haven’t taken any of these steps – or even if you’ve taken just a few – I’m here to provide valuable insight on most of the foundational legal protections you should absolutely be taking to protect your business & brand.

 

What are the top two reasons you should absolutely be factoring legal into your business budget?

1. Avoid Costly Issues Down the Line.

Have you done a proper trademark search on your business name to make sure you’re not infringing on someone else’s trademark? Have you checked all of your content and creations to make sure they are original works – and if not, that you’re not infringing on someone else’s copyright?

If not, that’s ok. But now is the time to take action.

Reassuring yourself that you aren’t infringing on anyone else’s intellectual property rights is not only going to prevent potential problems down the line, but it will also give you a sense of relief! Some of the many other disasters you may encounter if you don’t make legal a priority from the get-go include rebranding entirely, loss of profits and/or disputes, violations, fines, etc.

2. Own Your Business Outright.

Something that will make you feel a lot better is a proper business audit to see if you actually own everything in your business. What do I mean by that?

  • Do you own the trademark in your business name?
  • Do you own the logo that your graphic designer created for you?
  • Do you own the slogan that your intern came up with for that big campaign?

 

Intellectual property is a huge asset to your business. If you are thinking of partnering up with a larger business, licensing out your business name/creative content, or even selling your business at some point – ownership of ALL aspects of your business is crucial to your continued success (& even passive income!)

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