What is a legal action plan and why would you want one? Think about it like this: If you are going shopping and you don’t have a shopping list, but you’re really hungry, do you know what’s gonna happen? Maybe you need three things, you go into the store and come out with 27 things. Almost all of them you didn’t need, some of them you paid more for than you would have, because you were hungry and you didn’t have a plan. Then you get home, and you’ve only remembered two of those three vital three ingredients that you needed, because you didn’t have a list.
Running a business is something similar to that. In a business, people advise on all sorts of plans, things like business plans, and I know not everybody has one. For many, many years, my business didn’t have a business plan, and it worked just fine. Depending on the type of business you don’t have to have a legal plan at the very beginning. But usually, when we start a work-from-home business, we can get up and going, and then chip away at those legal items.
The problem is that if you don’t know what to plan for, you could end up having a disaster, and so that’s all a legal action plan is. It talks about the most common risks small businesses face on the legal side of things, and how to avoid them. Some things are easy, and you can do them yourself, and some you have to pay a lawyer to do them for you. Whatever the case is, if you make an informed decision not to have a particular legal protection, then at least you know where you stand in your business, and it’s not gonna come crashing down on you as a shock and a surprise at some later stage.
That’s the beauty and the benefit of the legal action plan, because then you can have some certainty that you’re secure, and you can know what legal steps you need to take to keep your business safe and bulletproof. So, in this course, I run through with you some of the most costly, and certainly the most common, legal business mistakes that I see on a day-to-day basis with clients coming to me in crisis.
You get a little taste of them, you get a little bit of knowledge about those business legal issues, and then at the end of the course, when you complete the checklist you will get the legal action plan. Obviously, you’re not obliged to then go and fix everything, but it’s like taking your car to the mechanic, I suppose. They might tell you that in two years’ time, you’re gonna need new brakes, or in six months’ time, you might need new tires, and if you don’t do it, you’re driving around at your own risk.
The legal action plan is something similar to that. At least you know your risks, your options, potential costs of getting things fixed now, or leaving them till later. The saying that prevention is better than cure, is certainly true in the legal side of your business because it really is often very much more economical to get things squared away and right from the beginning, then it is to try and fix things in a legal dispute later.
Will this legal plan ironclad your business? Will it make sure that there never is any problem on the legal side of things? No, we can’t guarantee that there will never be a legal risk, or never be a legal problem, but what it does is it highlights the most common, and in my experience, the most costly legal mistakes that small-business owners make. Many of which have got really simple fixes, and some you can do yourself.
The other advantage of getting things right from the start is that you avoid the stress and distraction of legal problems later on. You can’t underestimate how stressful and distracting a legal problem can be. I had one client who had a dispute about design ownership, and in her situation, I said to her, “Look, you are so creative, I suggest you just give the designs to the other person. Even though they’re in the wrong, you can start again, because it won’t take you very long to create new designs that are even better.”
Unfortunately, she was so emotionally attached to the designs that she didn’t wanna let them go, and her former friend sued her. They got into a big legal argument and in the end, she couldn’t afford to keep going with it. She was so distracted from running her business that she couldn’t get enough income to keep going. She lost her house, she lost her friend, she lost her business, and it was absolutely dreadful, it was unfortunate that she hadn’t secured her legal rights to start with.
It was also unfortunate that she hadn’t had a proper agreement in place with her friend to start with. If she had done that, she would’ve avoided not only the financial devastation, but the stress that was associated with it, and so, an action plan to start with is sensible. When you think about how much time, money, and effort you invest in your business, investing in a legal action plan is a very wise investment.
Most successful businesses don’t leave the legal side of things to chance, and neither should you. I’m looking forward to working with you, working through these modules. If you’ve got questions, ask me questions in the comments, and at the end, you’re going to have an amazing legal action plan, which will also include a risk assessment. All the very best with it, my name is Cathryn Warburton, and I am The Legal Lioness.