In my experience the issues discussed are often the most time consuming and challenging when starting a business and if not taken care of properly can prevent and prohibit an entrepreneur’s success.
Salt Lake City (Vocus) March 25, 2010
At the recent NorthFront Entrepreneur Alliance (http://northfront.org/) event, attorney’s from Bennett Tuehler Johnson & Deere, Workman Nydegger and Ballard Spahr told entrepreneurs to be very careful when dealing with issues such as Intellectual property, employee law and business formation, as these areas can make or break a business if not handled properly.
“One of your greatest assets as a business owner is your intellectual property (IP),” said Chad Nydegger, Non-equity Shareholder at Workman Nydegger. “A lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs think they can put off protecting their intellectual property to save time and money. In my experience, saving a dime today can cost you millions tomorrow, so my best advice is to always seek legal council to ensure that you properly protect you and your business.”
In addition to IP issues, Brent Hawkins of Bennett Tuehler Johnson & Deere and Jason Boren of Ballard Spahr stressed the importance of documenting key details associated with your business, including specific details of partnerships, employee performances and compensation and bonus agreements.
“One of the biggest challenges for a business owner is hiring and firing employees,” said Boren. “All too often I see an employer who conducts regular reviews and points out all of an employee’s strengths but fails to point out weaknesses, such as showing up late on a daily basis. When an employer reaches the breaking point and fires that employee the employee can the come back and show all the positive comments and has a case against the employer to sue for wrongful termination or to seek unemployment benefits which can be very costly to a business.”
The attorneys compared starting a business to marriage. To be successful, an entrepreneur should know what they want, have specific goals and take the time to get to know potential partners. Running a business takes time, dedication, commitment, understanding, a desire to learn and an ability to compromise and adapt to changes. If a business owner is unwilling to seek legal advice the likelihood of success decreases dramatically.
“I wish I would have had this advice available to me when I was starting out as an entrepreneur,” said Brad Walters, CEO of Monnit and Chairman of the NorthFront Entrepreneur Alliance. “I think the most important thing I gained from the meeting was an understanding of the importance of making a legal checklist and prioritizing what is most important for me to be successful and properly protect my business.”
The event was held at Weber State University’s Davis Campus and was just one of the many free entrepreneur events hosted by the Northfront Entrepreneur Association in the past year. The Alliance was created in 2008 under the sponsorship of SEED Weber/Davis/Morgan and Grow Utah Ventures. Its purpose is to bring entrepreneurs in Northern Utah together to learn, network, share ideas, find needed resources, and to recognize accomplishments among the group.
“The message from our presenters was incredibly timely and relevant in terms of educating entrepreneurs on the importance of protecting their investment, businesses, ideas and inventions,” said T. Craig Bott, President and CEO of Grow Utah Ventures. “In my experience the issues discussed are often the most time consuming and challenging when starting a business and if not taken care of properly can prevent and prohibit an entrepreneur’s success.”
For more information on the NorthFront Entrepreneur Alliance and upcoming events, visit http://www.northfront.org.
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