Hands up if you think listening to a lecture from a lawyer is a great way to spend a warm Tuesday morning in July.
That’s what I thought! But we had a really great session this morning at our Creative Home Business Club with Jo Tall of “OffToSeeMyLawyer”– one of the best. But then how many of us know lawyers who turn up with everything tucked neatly in their Mary Poppins bag and use a 1.5 meter tall toothbrush in their presentation? Which may account for the feedback we received “Brilliant and Useful Presentation”, “The most approachable lawyer I ever met – really”, “We so need to speak to Jo, there are so many things she could help with”, “Whoever heard of a lawyer who cooks up oven-ready documents?! – Brilliant”
So this is topline what she said:
Big Mistake Number 1: Ruining a Friendship
So many people set up a business with their best friend, typically 50/50 and everything is great…until the lifestyle’s change. Maybe someone has a baby and the other partner finds themselves doing 90% of the work for 50% of the profit. Perhaps one person’s enthusiasm and need to make money grows whilst the other starts to lose interest and does less and less.
Solution: Create a partnership or shareholders agreement in the beginning. It will guide you through every eventuality as you progress, friendship in tact.
Big Mistake Number 2: Giving away your ideas before they come to fruition
If you are planning a new business or working on a project you will almost certainly need some help. The mistake that so many people make is that we don’t protect our ideas before we share which can, sadly, end in tears as it is so easy easy for someone to take an idea and run with it themselves. A Decor Cafe Perhaps?
Solution: Ask your potential partners or suppliers to sign a confidentiality agreement. It is a great litmus test. If they are worth dealing with, they will always be happy to sign.
Big Mistake Number 3: Not protecting your designs and ideas
If you are a designer, writer or photographer you automatically own your copyright unless you are an employee, or more frequently, assign it without realising. If you are a small business owner, you may think that you have the rights to your brand designs and logo for use in any situation, but you may not.
Solution: Register your ideas and designs with the intellectual property office. It is much easier to do than you think. Register your name and logo before you discover that someone else does and it is no longer yours to use.
Big Mistake Number 4: Creating an illegal website
Solution: Oven- ready documents pre-prepared for your website make it easy to comply.
Big Mistake Number 5:
Not clarifying the terms of your relationship with everyone you deal with
Think about how many people you deal with – clients, manufacturers, suppliers, referrals… there are so many of them and most of us would never consider having agreements with each. And that may be fine. You may get away with it but you are leaving yourself open to lose the rights to your own work and, in the end, making it difficult for someone to buy your company.
Solution: A simple contract for everyone you deal with. Adobe Echo Sign App makes it simple.
Big Mistake Number 6:
Having terms and conditions of business but not communicating them at the right time
It is isn’t enough to have terms and conditions of business. You must make sure that they are seen at the beginning of the process.
Solution: Back to the Abode Echo Sign App.
So that’s a start and what is the toothbrush all about? Well Jo drew a great analogy between a lawyer and a toothbrush! Lawyers are like brushing your teeth – small actions can help stop the rot and keep cavities at bay!
Contact: Jo Tall, Entrepreneur and Lawyer