So you’ve started up your own small business. At last, you’ve finally turned that hefty investment into something physical. Perhaps you have a store, maybe you’ve got an office with several staff members working under you. You’re able to pay them a salary, you’re making a profit and you’re slowly growing your business. Your niche product is proving to be a big hit and your customer base is quickly rising. You already have a loyal following that swears by your product, and the amount of exposure you’re getting is incredible.
But then disaster strikes. Someone has copied your famous niche product and they’re slowly taking away your business. Your sales numbers are dropping, people are upset because they’re buying the imitation product assuming it’s yours, and consumers are rallying to boycott your brand name until you remove all the copycats. To make matters worse, more imitators are popping up and creating products that are better than your own! Business falls, your brand name is tarnished, and your customers have abandoned you. Now you’re in debt because you can’t pay your employees, you can’t pay the rent for your office, and your moment in the spotlight has ended.
And this is all because you didn’t have a lawyer who is familiar with all the intricacies of copyright law. You didn’t have someone who could guide you to set up a lawsuit, or it was already too late by the time you contacted a lawyer and had your first meeting together. Don’t let this horror story happen to you—hire or get in touch with a lawyer before it’s too late. While you’re looking for a suitable lawyer for your company, read on to find out more about how a lawyer can save your business.
Prevent Yourself Being Sued by Angry Employees and Customers
Disgruntled employees can be hell for a small business. If you manage to rub someone the wrong way, they could potentially sue you on the grounds of discrimination, sexual assault, mistreatment—almost anything. Most of those claims can be completely fictional and they would still be able to build up a case against you because lawyers are sworn to defend their client no matter what.
On your own, you’d have absolutely no idea how to defend yourself. You might be able to quickly hire a lawyer, but if that disgruntled employee has stirred the media’s attention then it might already be too late. The best way to prevent this is to properly deal with employees, but there are times when staff members can get extremely obnoxious. In cases like this, you need to have a lawyer on board as both a deterrent to this behaviour and also protection in the event someone does sue you.
Even worse, if a consumer has a bad experience with your products or services, then they have the power to raise false awareness about your brand in an attempt to tarnish it. They’ll spread lies on social media, contact lawyers and gossip to the media. People love drama, so it’s only a matter of time before your brand is mocked unless you have a legal team ready to combat it.
Third-Party Entities Filing Complaints or Investigations Against You
You’ll occasionally get rival companies or suspicious requests to investigate your business. This is normal for a business that’s providing an excellent service because this usually comes from angry consumers or petty rivals. However, it’s often required that you allow your business to be searched and investigated if someone has reported that you’re violating a law or utilising shady practices in your business. However, this is yet another case where you have to defend yourself instead of bending over and listening to every demand that’s thrown at you.
Hiring a legal discovery team is a good place to start. They’ll be capable of efficiently collecting data to build up a case for your business. They’ll either be able to stamp out those false claims or buy you enough time to discuss the options you have. Making use of a legal team early on can also deter others from filing claims against your business, especially false ones. Don’t be discouraged in this situation, just remain calm and consult your lawyer for advice.
Lawyers are incredibly specialised professionals, and to get the most out of legal help you’re going to need a team of lawyers. One of the most important lawyers you can hire is a copyright or marketing lawyer. In addition to defending your product or brand from imitators, they can also help you plan for future goals and advise you on new products you want to sell.
For example, if you’re planning on creating a new energy drink, then your lawyer needs to be with you every step of the way. You don’t want your energy drink to infringe on other people’s trademarks or designs, and a lawyer will be able to tell you and your design team what should and shouldn’t be used. They know every intricacy of what counts as copying so they can maximise your design’s exposure without attracting other businesses that are eager to sue you into the ground.
What Kind of Lawyer Do You Need?
As mentioned above, it’s important to have a diverse team of lawyers that are capable of managing several aspects of your small business. Unfortunately, this is an expense that you can’t skimp on. You need high-quality lawyers with years of experience that understand what they’re doing. Don’t use your friends, but do listen to recommendations if your friends also run businesses that use lawyers.
Hiring a lawyer that doesn’t have much experience is a gamble, but you can occasionally pick them up for less cost than an established lawyer. While it’s humble to nurture new lawyers and help them build portfolios, it’s your business on the line and, depending on how good they are, it might be a gamble that doesn’t pay off. The best advice you can get is from the internet. Look up reviews on different lawyers and read testimonials (external ones, not ones on their website). Contact people that run businesses and ask for recommendations to various different lawyers. Sometimes the best people you can hire are spread via word of mouth, not the internet.