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Technology & Entrepreneurial Ventures Law Group, P.C.
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Starting a Business
 
Copyright © 2004 Zegarelli Law Group. All rights reserved.
Written by Gregg R. Zegarelli, Esq.

 


  Starting a business is part of the American Dream.  It is what makes this country great.  Our office structures many different types of transactions and works closely with clients to build a business with a solid foundation and to grow the business in a stable and reliable manner.

Starting a business throughout the United States is quite easy.  Here a some issues to think about:

  • Remember that there are three governmental jurisdictions: the Federal Government, each applicable state government (e.g., the State of Pennsylvania) and each applicable local government (e.g., the Municipality/Township of XYZ).  Each of these governments will regulate your business in some manner.  We call these the BIG 3G.  Generally, each of the BIG 3G generally will tax your business.  These taxes have different names and forms.  But, remember, "BIG 3G."
     
  • Okay, having said that, the first thing to think about is the product or service.  There is no reason to start a business if the product or service is not in demand.  Now, remember, "good ideas are a dime a dozen."  A business is a commercial entity.  The idea must be commercialized; that is, placed into commerce and sold ultimately for a profit.  Mistake #1: Loving your idea.  It has been said that "where love begins, wisdom ends."  So be it.  Loving your idea can impassion you to proceed, but it does not necessarily guide you.  We will be glad if you privately love your idea, but think that others will hate your idea.  That keeps you thinking.  It makes you sell, it makes you strategize.  Acting like you love your idea drives the failure that results from the misconception that you just need to do some little act and everyone will beat down your door to buy it.  To think that way is to have the commercialization plan called, "I am really lucky."  Planning to be lucky is really bad business and will not impress investors.
     
  • Next, think about you.  Not everyone can be an entrepreneur.  It is hard.  Moreover, rarely does any one person have the qualities, time or overall resourcefulness to do it all.  Do you have the Vision, Knowledge, Courage and Tenacity to make it happen?  If so, great.  Otherwise, you need to put together a team that can supply the personal resources that you need.  Remember, to have others supply resourcefulness and talent, will cost you, often money and/or part of the business, but 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing!  It has been said that you need to "give your children roots and wings." Same thing with commercialization of ideas.  Sometimes you need to let your inventions, as proverbial children, go to school and grow up.  It can hurt, you lose some control, but it is part of the commercialization life-cycle.  Always stay open-minded to options for resource teaming.
     
  • Okay, if you have the right product and you're the right person or you have the right team, then you need to think about the commercialization vehicle.  Initially, that may mean choosing the form of business entity.  See our publication on this issue.  For more structured scenarios, often to accommodate investors, consider establishing a corporate family of parent/subsidiary/sibling company relationships; this allows you to encapsulate business, legal and other operational issues in separate entities.
     
  • Once you have the the organizational foundation laid, you need to think about the relationships you need to form, and the contracts surrounding those relationships.  For example, partnering agreements, shareholder agreements, client agreements, etc.  Remember, never do business with someone you do not trust, because even the best contract will not remove the appurtenant problems, but, with someone you do trust, have a detailed written contract to avoid and to resolve misunderstandings.
     
  • Protect your intellectual properties, such as your copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and patents.
     
  • Pick the right attorneys.  Attorneys are advisors.  The job of an attorney is to advise you.  In business law, you need attorneys who know and understand business.  But, even so, your attorneys should not be telling you how to run your business, but advising you of possibilities and probabilities of legal problems as it relates to business implementations.  Quite frankly, we have clients that have proceeded with business transactions amidst great risk, but have been extremely successful.  Our best clients will work with us to develop business plans to minimize risk and maximize reward, and after developing the strategy and potential implementation, assess the situation and proceed in their best business judgment.  All deals have risks, you need an attorney who can clearly explain the resultant risks and help you resolve to a firm conclusion and plan.

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Pittsburgh, PA  15241-2565 USA

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