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Tips on How to Choose a Good Business Lawyer

Finding the right attorney for your business can be a daunting task. Whether you are new to the marketplace and are in need of a lawyer for your new business or you are in the market for a new business lawyer, the issues remain the same. You need an attorney with the right experience and who is attentive to your business needs.

Ultimately, you should ask yourself, “Do I trust this person with my business?”

To help you answer this question, below are a few issues and questions you should address in evaluating whether or not a prospective business lawyer is right for your business:

Check out the lawyer’s background.

  • It should go without saying, but you need to check with the local bar association to determine if the attorney is currently licensed to practice law and whether he or she has had any major disciplinary actions.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.
  • Find out what is their area of practice.
  • You need an attorney who spends most of of his/her time practicing business and commercial law.
  • When dealing with the health and future prosperity of your business, you want a specialist who can quickly diagnose and efficiently find the solution.
  • Ask how much of their practice is devoted to business and commercial law.
  • What areas of business law do they specialize in? In what (and how many) other areas do they practice? – are these areas complementary to your business needs?

Assess their experience and knowledge.

  • Make sure your attorney has the right experience and knowledge of your industry.
  • You need a lawyer who has significant experience with companies like yours so you do not have to pay for the attorney’s learning curve in getting up to speed on the legal issues affecting your industry.
  • On the other hand, you should want an attorney who is willing to invest the time to understand your legal issues and the challenges facing your business, rather than provide a cookie-cutter solution.

Don’t forget relationship count!

  • While most of your communication with your lawyer may occur on the phone, through email and mail, a face-to-face meeting is still crucial in an attorney-client relationship.
  • You need to meet your prospective attorney in person. You can learn many things from a face-to-face meeting that do not communicate well over the phone or email.
  • Be wary of any lawyer who is unwilling to meet you in person or insists on a “retainer” before your initial meeting and/or any discussion about your business, your particular issues and the scope of their engagement.

Personality can play a key role in how effective a lawyer will be for your business.

  • You need to be comfortable with your legal counselor.
  • Would he/she mesh with your executives, managers and your team (i.e., your accountant, financial advisers and other advisers)?
  • Is he/she the right fit for the job?
  • Do you want a team player? Or do you need an independent person to review your business and keep your managers and employees in check?
  • Are they aggressive and outspoken? Or they merely combative?
  • Do you want a risk taker? Or do you want someone who is conservative and takes the safe and secure route?

To further help you in your search, below is a list of some of the key characteristics of a good business lawyer (in no particular order of importance or relevance):

  • An Advocate for your Business: An attorney needs to be supportive and not just sympathetic to your cause. You do not want a “yes” man. A good attorney is supposed to tell you where you may be wrong. Can the attorney be straight-forward with you?
  • Good Business Judgment: Are you comfortable with their business judgment? Do they seem to exercise reasonable and sound business judgment? Or are they too theoretical, impractical and/or out-of touch with your business reality well-thought ideas and reasons.
  • Readily Available: Do they have adequate time to take on your matters. Make sure to get a commitment from the attorney.
  • A Great Communicator- No “Legalese” please: Your attorney must be able to explain to you even the most complex issues into terms you understand. Your attorney is supposed to find solutions for you, not mystify you.
  • Foresight & Proactive: Does the attorney think of ways to help you and your business? Do they seem to understand the problems you are likely to have? Do they have a plan to avoid likely problems?
  • Exudes Professionalism: Are they organized and handle themselves with professionalism? Are they respectful of your time – were they on time?
  • Have Resources – Will Travel: Does he/she have the resources and connections you may need to support your business? Do he/she know the players in your industry? Do he/she have contacts within your industry? Does he/she have contacts with your customers or prospects? Ask about their affiliations with accountants, financial advisers, bankers, and other professionals. Can you leverage their resources, connections and referrals?

Finding the right attorney for your business does not have to be overwhelming. With a bit of preparation, you should be able to find a lawyer with the right experience and who is attentive to your business needs.

Starting a Business is Hard – You Need to Stay Motivated

Like any worthy goal, being successful when you start your own business online requires motivation. Motivation is a main ingredient that is missing from those who FAIL when they start a business online.

We all feel that initial rush of excitement when you start a business you’ve been thinking about and dreaming about. Remember that endless amount of energy you had? Remember the sleepless nights because your mind was moving from idea – to good idea – to great idea – to getting out of bed to write down the super-duper idea? Yes, you can tell I’ve been there too.

Then one day the bubble bursts and you hit “the wall”, or you don’t get the results you expected, or maybe you’re not getting the support from family or friends that you thought you’d get or that you need. You’ve lost the energy and enthusiasm you had and you start to think “negative” thoughts wondering why you’re starting your own small business anyway. You’ve lost your “reason” to start a business.

We have all “hit the wall” and had to jump hurdles that suddenly show up unexpected or unplanned. The difference between FAILING at your business OR becoming a SUCCESS will depend on what you do when you come to those hurdles involved in starting a business.

Pick yourself up and put into practice these 5 steps and keep yourself motivated.

Step One: Seek out successful entrepreneurs and learn their stories. You’ll find (as I did) that there are many different ways to have a successful small business. When you start a business, your business will require its own special situations and planning. However, you will gain a lot of knowledge and learn from other businesses mistakes saving your business from costly errors.

It also helps to know that other businesses have gone through the same (or similar) problems but take special note of what the business person DID AFTER the problem. That’s the “golden nugget” of how your business can be a success too.

Step Two: Keep Focused on Your Goal

Write down your main objective goal. Do NOT write down “become a millionaire”. This is the real world you know and you don’t fool anyone (especially yourself) if you set yourself up for failure. Your subconscious even knows better and you will also lose motivation fast when you see that your goal is not realized right away.

Sure there are those fantastic “GOT rich quick” stories but they are few and far between. Your initial financial goal when you start a business should be on the low side so you are not disappointed. This first goal is set low so it can be easily attained. I call these SMART goals. Set goals for your business that are; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and set Time tables of when you want specific goals achieved. Then when you do reach your goal, your motivation increases. With each small goal you reach, your confidence in your ability to reach your goals is realized. Now you “know” you can do it!

Example of Smart Goals:

Week 1 – Learn all you can in week one by buying a good informative eBook on how to start a business online. Watch videos and read articles from other businesses in your niche. There are so many “how to” internet marketing eBooks online you will be amazed and confused as to which one to buy. You can usually tell by what the eBook is teaching and what you need to learn. The best eBook would include step-by-step directions by Video. More people learn faster by learning from Video than by reading a written eBook. The3 best eBooks give you both (video and written) to serve all preferences. You’ll find the best eBook I recommend in a link below.

Week 2 – If you didn’t follow through with week #1, then go back and complete it. Going forward will do you no good and will only make you frustrated and confused with information overload. Believe me, I’ve been there. Information overload is a motivation killer so don’t mess with it. Take your goal steps one at a time.

If you have completed week #1, your next goal step could be something like studying all you can about keyword research. There are many tools online and the best one to start with is Free – it’s called Google AdWords Tool. Just Google it and then start searching for your niche keyword phrases.

There are too many small steps you need to take so to get direction on where to start, I suggest you join an internet marketing membership site. Find someone you can definitely trust with customer service on internet marketing information and personal instruction! Check out the links below for more information.

Step 3 – Keep Motivated by Networking with other online marketers in Forums.

Isolation is NOT good. Sure you want to work at home BUT it’s so important to keep your mind stimulated with conversation. Even if it’s only online conversation, you a least feel connected to the human race. You don’t feel all alone and it will amaze you how much you will learn by networking with those who have the same like minded interests.

Join forums where there are newbies to experienced marketers and where business marketers are eager to help you. It should also be monitored by an experienced internet marketer. If you’re feeling down in the dumps, or having a problem, get online and tell someone. You will get all kinds of help out there. You will also get suggestions on how to solve your problem or tips on whatever is hanging you up. It’s a great place to network! Check the resource link below for a forum I recommend.

Step 4 – Just Do It!

Do not allow yourself to dwell on the fear of failure. Fear is not of God. That leaves, you know who, so don’t give the devil any power over your thoughts. You can do anything you desire. Isn’t that what it’s all about, “your desire”. Only you can decide if you “really” want to start a business. Ask yourself these questions. Do you really “desire” to have your own business online? Do you really “see” yourself dedicated and working at home “everyday”. Would you put just as much (or more) effort in your work day that you would if you worked for someone else? Do you “know for yourself” that you can start your own business by dedication and hard work?

It’s very important that you do not allow yourself negative thoughts because thoughts can become actions. It’s a truism that if you think you are going to FAIL, chances are you will FAIL. It’s also a truism that you have the power over your own thoughts – so why not control what you are thinking. I love the saying “Garbage In – Garbage Out”. Immerse yourself in good books and seek only optimistic people to surround yourself with.

Step 5 – Keep Focused on Your Goal!

Does this goal step sound familiar? Well, it’s worth repeating because too many people who start a business online quit too soon. They may have set their goals too high or let themselves think negatively.

Go over your “written” goal objective over and over until you have it memorized. You may choose to improve upon it but always keep your main goal objective in you mind. As time goes on, you will find others you can rely on in Forums so if you feel yourself getting down and losing motivation, take action.

I’ve found that if I only get one article completed in a day, I don’t beat myself up, instead I tell myself that I am still going “forward” toward my goal objective. Every “baby step” counts and every thing you do is a learning experience that will help you move forward toward the success you desire.

YOU CAN DO IT – the only question is, Do you really want to start your own business online?

Go to my blog (link below) and get more information on all you need to start your own business online!

Blueprint Your Business by Creating an Operations Manual

Can Your Business Run Without You?

What would happen to your business if you became ill for an extended period of time? Could someone else man the shop for you easily? Would you be more relaxed on vacation (or at the very least, take a vacation!) if you knew that the business could be better taken care of while you are away? Have you ever thought about hiring an employee or assistant, but are overwhelmed with the thought of training someone in all of your business systems and processes? Are you holding onto too many tasks that you know you could be delegating, but don’t have the infrastructure in place to effectively delegate without taking up too much of your precious time as the business owner? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you are in need of a business blueprint! It’s time to create an Operations Manual.

What is an Operations Manual and Why Do I Need One For My Business?

Before you started your business and in the early stages, you probably did a lot of planning. Most likely, you were told to draft a business plan, and you may have even done so. Unfortunately, most small business owners rarely look at their business plan after creating it, thereby rendering it meaningless on a daily basis. A business plan is a static document, as opposed to a living and breathing one that serves as a guide to your business systems and processes. Developing systems and taking the extra step to document them is vital to a business running smoothly and automatically. Unfortunately, most businesses are lacking in this area. Business owners get caught up in the daily activities of running the business, and do not take the time to document or blueprint the systems in place. In the E-Myth Revisited, author Michael Gerber sets forth the idea that all businesses need to be “franchised” in the sense that they can run automatically, deliver a consistent experience to customers, and can be maintained, at least to some extent, without the owner’s hands-on involvement. While you may not literally be franchising your business, Gerber’s concept broadly translates into developing an Operations Manual for your business.

What Are the Advantages of an Operations Manual?

An Operations Manual makes it easier to delegate and run your business. However, even if you have no employees, independent contractors, or assistants of any kind, the importance of an Operations Manual should not be overlooked. It provides structure and clarity by helping you examine the big picture and how each part fits into the whole. It is also a handy tool for reminding yourself of your business systems when things get busy and you are overwhelmed. The manual serves as a central location for vital business information, making it easier for you to find what you need in one fell swoop. In a nutshell, an Operations Manual helps promote a consistent experience for your clients, and helps you avoid reinventing the wheel.

What Format Should an Operations Manual Be Stored In?

An Operations Manual can be hand written if that is your absolute preference, but I would not recommend it. As this document is so vitally important to your business, you should maintain it in electronic format. It is easier to revise, send as an attachment when necessary, and be backed up to avoid loss of data. Some clients prefer to create their Operations Manual using a 3-ring binder approach. While this may be tempting, if that binder is destroyed or lost, there goes all of your hard work in creating an Operations Manual. Do yourself a favor and store the manual on a computer (and back it up!) or online at a secure site.

What Should an Operations Manual Include?

An Operations Manual is the manual of all manuals. It can be as comprehensive as you want and need it to be. It should serve as a blueprint of your business for you, your employees, assistants (virtual or on-site), and anyone else that is on a need-to-know basis. The Operations Manual essentially covers everything that goes on behind-the-scenes of your business. Here are some examples of what an Operations Manual may include, but as you develop one for your business, you will undoubtedly think of many more items to include.

  • Passwords to all of your online and offline business accounts (be sure to give some thought to maintaining proper security measures);
  • List of frequently used business supplies with purchasing/ordering information;
  • List of business documents;
  • Prospects intake process;
  • Client intake process;
  • Sample email templates;
  • List of all team members and their contact information;
  • Procedures for hiring new team members and training them;
  • Preparing for client sessions, proposal pitches, speaking engagements, professional association meetings, etc.
  • Client follow-up process.

Take the time to draft an Operations Manual. It will be time well spent, and you will reap the benefits of it long after you finish the blueprint.