It’s about being on the right side of the law when conducting business.

I have come across lots of businesses, who unknowingly violated regulations, resulting in significant legal costs and in a few cases, plunged the business into a total mess. This cannot be you. If you are a young business, it is all the more important to get things right at the very start and lay a strong foundation for the future. Often, start-ups are not sure about (i) the issues involved and (ii) where to go for the right advice.

The biggest advantage with a young business is that it starts with a clean slate which allows for things to be modeled brilliantly right at the start. Yet, business owners ignore some of the most basic aspects. Mostly this is because they are so busy building something they are passionate about that they never find time for such things until they become a problem.

Over the last few years, I have worked with many businesses in addition to starting my own firm. If I were to give a breakdown of business owners in terms of ‘risk profile’, I would divide them as –careless, reckless, over-absorbed and responsive.

Careless: Those who just never bothered to do anything about things on the very first page – proprietorship or company, what incentives do the 2 models offer and when to convert? Choosing the right name to register a company and registering it in the right jurisdiction. Usually these things are not a problem until the underlying business starts doing well.

Reckless: Those who are aware of all the things above and decide to take care of these things when the business indeed starts doing well. Believe me, I have heard from many such people. Typical frame of mind – “Oh, let me get there and I will take care of it, in case it gets to that”.

No amount of convincing that – what will take half a day today, may actually never be resolved later will convince them. It is just reckless to go wrong when it is so easy to be right, right at the start. Mostly, it costs nothing more than a few hours of sensible thinking.

Over-absorbed: The most interesting category of people are those who will make sure that they have an answer to everything under the sun. Can I do this? What could be the problem here? Almost begging one to come up with a problem to stop them.

Just a tip here – often, authorities do not reply to queries raised by small businesses. Do not let that stop you. If you find no answer, raise a query (wording it in your favor) with the concerned department and start doing what you intend to. Waiting months to get an answer will help no one.

Responsive: Those who are able to react quickly and positively.

(Responsive {definition}: “a flexible service that is responsive to changing social patterns”)

Why get a legal opinion?

You may or may not choose to act on issues but either way it is a pre-requisite that you are aware of them.  You should aim to be responsive. Find out the issues and the many course of action available to you. Remember, a majority of people who do not get a legal opinion at an early stage require one when things go wrong.

Not every little thing in business requires a legal opinion. To the extent it is required; if you are not an expert don’t try to be one. Technology has made it possible for you to get high quality advice conveniently without having to run around. Personally, I believe that it is far easier to set-up systems to ensure healthy corporate governance practices than the other way around.

Do not hesitate to ask me any question, opinion on a legal aspect, or just send me your research requirement to let me know how I can be of assistance to you?. The only time I refused to answer a question was when someone wanted me to draft a legal opinion on Ukraine’s regulatory environment for online betting companies.

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