Much of the business world lives under the survival of the fittest rule. Many business start-ups fail because founders ask the wrong questions or overlook avoidable problems. Successful businesses solve problems that stump competitors and avoid mistakes that kill other ventures at the starting gate. A business lawyer’s job is to help the client live the dream and sidestep the nightmare. A good business lawyer must provide a balance of creative planning and wise counsel.
Advice and Representation
The global economy forces us to adapt quickly to all kinds of changes. Entrepreneurs are creative people, but business law often defies common logic. A good business lawyer educates business clients about important issues and helps them become more self-reliant. No lawyer has all of the answers, but an experienced business lawyer can cover a lot of ground and use referral networks to connect clients with experts in almost any subject outside his expertise.
Planning Through Growth
Eventually, every thriving business reaches a crossroads choice – invest in growth or scale back and operate more simply. Growing pains stir young business owners’ adrenaline and make older business owners consider retirement. The gray line between throttling up and winding down keeps many small business owners awake at night. A business lawyer with some miles in the saddle can help the business owner choose the right trail.
Buying Market Share
Buying an existing business may seem less risky than a startup, but it can be as risky as taking food from strangers. You have to study a company’s assets, debts, business records, and business practices carefully. An experienced business lawyer knows where to look for negotiation advantages and how to protect a buyer from crooks.
Passing The Torch
A family business legacy is part of the American dream. In reality, few businesses last beyond the founding generation. Non-business issues like treating family members fairly and minimizing estate, gift, and income taxes complicate the transition for some successful family businesses. A business lawyer with extensive training and experience in both business law and estate planning can offer creative solutions to help balance seemingly impossible choices.
Business Associate Buyouts
Business partners are like married couples. Their shared vision may carry them through the startup and honeymoon phases, but a burnout or a financial crunch can trigger a nasty divorce. Smart business partners hire experienced business lawyers to write ownership agreements (often called “buy-sell agreements”) at the beginning of their relationships that spell out what happens in the end. Detailed ownership agreements may address issues like a partner’s death, disability, divorce, bankruptcy, or simple desire to call it quits.
Many business owners relate to their businesses like their children. They conceived, nurtured, and lost sleep worrying about their fledgling companies until their work paid off and their creations succeeded. Selling a business can be an emotionally challenging and financially risky proposition. A seasoned business lawyer understands these factors and can help a retiring business owner exit the marketplace gracefully and profitably. The lawyer should know how to preserve trade secret confidentiality during negotiations and how to allocate asset values in the business sale agreement to minimize income and capital gains taxes for the seller. Perhaps more importantly, an old hand lawyer will truthfully tell his client what to expect about life after business ownership to spare the client disappointment and embarrassment.
We Mean Business
Business owners need experienced legal counsel to react to today’s rapidly evolving technologies and economic conditions. The Hawkins Elder Law attorneys have served small and family-owned businesses for more than two decades. We have served such diverse businesses as trucking companies, newspapers, child care centers, waste management companies, concrete companies, hair salons, medical practices, funeral homes, agricultural seed producers, construction companies, sand & gravel producers, insurance agencies, internet service providers, automotive sales and repair services, engineering firms, industrial consultants, grocers, and restaurants.