Legal Issues for Startups
The key is to identify the legal issues that put your startup business at risk of irreparable destruction or overwhelming cost, and deal with those issues first.
What impacts your startup business most will depend on where you are, and where you want to get to in the immediate future. Prioritise, don’t try and do everything at once.
Someone with an idea they want to develop with have different concerns to someone with a prototype looking for investors, which will be different issues to someone who has an MVP, investors and is looking to build their team.
At Onyx Legal we’ve designed a curriculum for start-ups covering –
MODULE 1 for Startups – Developing an idea
This is all about protecting and valuing your intellectual property (IP).
Too many startups have great ideas and start developing them without understanding how to secure their IP. If you can’t show serious investors that you own the IP, you won’t get investment. Simple as that.
Can you image Microsoft paying $26b for LinkedIn if LinkedIn didn’t own the IP behind their systems? Probably not.
Understanding this legal topic can also help you identify the best tools and strategies for developing your business using other people’s IP.
MODULE 2 for Startups – Business structures
Your business structure is either going to give potential lender’s and investors confidence, or have them running for the hills. What your accountant might recommend for tax minimisation might not be the best structure for attracting an investor. So consider where you want to take your startup and what makes sense for you.
Understanding this legal topic will help you identify structures for investment, growth and diversification. We aim to give you the confidence to really ask questions of your advisers about what is best for your startup and challenge their recommendations to ensure you don’t waste heaps of time or money.
Trust structures might work really well for property investment, but might not be ideal for a tech startup.
MODULE 3 for Startups – Building a team
When you are bootstrapping an enterprise you might not have the ability to pay yourself, let alone anyone else. This legal topic will help you identify options for bringing new skills in to the team without losing your shirt.
Learn about the legal opportunities and pitfalls for employment, employee incentive schemes, sharing equity, contracting, outsourcing and joint ventures.
MODULE 4 for Startups – Protecting your business
Australia is a great part of the world, but probably not always the easiest place in the world to do business. There are loads of rules and you need to have an understanding of what is relevant to your startup or risk having it shut down as soon as you go out and start interacting with customers. There are easy steps you can take to protect your business if you know what questions to ask and where to find the answers.
Risk management is not a scary topic and it isn’t nearly as hard as many risk management systems try to make it. We can help you to work out the key areas of your business that need attention and how to measure and manage that effectively.
Insurance is only one part of risk management and not always the saving grace that some people expect.
MODULE 5 for Startups – Sales and Marketing
What you promise to your customers is no joke, and Apple recently found that out when the ACCC went after them for misleading representations about consumer guarantees. The ACCC can impose fines over $1m on company’s that don’t comply with consumer laws. It’s important to know how your startup will deal with customer enquiries and complaints to avoid having to deal with regulators like the ACCC.
Each module can be delivered as a fast and full on 60 min information only session, webinar (heads up) or a 120 min interactive workshop. Feedback has been that people get more practical understanding from the workshops, but we understand there may be time constraints.
If there was one other thing you’d like to know more about, what would it be?
Advanced workshops include:
- A practical guide to copyright, protecting yours and managing cease and desist letters – 90 min
- What, when, why and how to apply for a trade mark – 60 min
- Understanding property leases – 60 min
How can Onyx Legal help you?
If you’re starting out on your own, have a team or are even part of an accelerator program and interested in getting some plain English legal training, please use our contact form to make a booking or book an appointment here. We like to start by arranging a chat to work out what fits best for your organisation.