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Boost your small business plan

Date posted:  7/19/14 11:45:00 AM Taking with a lawyer can help you avoid snags before opening your business.

Author Lee Child once wrote, "Hope for the best, plan for the worst."

It's advice all small business owners - especially those just starting up - should take into account. With so many variables in the current economy, business owners need to create a blueprint for success. Some of these may include how to find new markets, gain customers and create a product that consumers want.

The Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center has designed a business plan template to help start-ups navigate the rocky roads of the business world. The eight-step plan takes people through stages that are necessary to confront prior to investing all of their money into a company.

Those steps, in order, include an executive summary, business history and objectives, management and organization, business environment, market research, marketing plan, financial plan and exit strategy or transitional plan.

Although listed first, the executive summary can be completed last after the business plan is complete, so that way, the small business owner can best summarize his model for success.

Teaming up with a lawyer
Forbes reported that small business start-ups should work with an attorney during the early planning stages of a company. From assisting with paperwork to helping you understand certain legal situations, a lawyer can help your organization get off the ground.

Clark Watson, a partner at Balch and Bingham LLP, told Forbes a lawyer can help a small business owner from getting ahead of themselves.

"When people start a new business, they are generally optimistic about their success and see their future through rose-colored glasses," Watson said. "It is good for them to be enthusiastic, and the lawyer should now pour proverbial cold water on that zeal."

Watson said a primary aspect for any attorney is helping a client avoid unforeseen pitfalls, which often pose the greatest risk to small business owners because of their unexpected nature.

"One of the greatest things that I can do for my business clients is not simply advise them on the issues they affirmatively present to me, but to ask them questions about potential issues that they have never considered," Watson said.

Good advice can help you avoid pitfalls
Even the most well-prepared business owners and fledging entrepreneurs are likely to miss certain details pertaining to the blueprint of their business. Nina Ries, principal of Ries Law Group, told Forbes that a good lawyer will help escort you through legal documentation patterned to protect your business from a scope of liabilities.

"Good advice can help you avoid costly mistakes and steer you in the direction of success," Ries said. "This covers incorporation or organization, the drafting of any formation documents, obtaining any relevant permits or licenses, renting space, confirming intellectual property rights, preparing agreements, and preparing for operations."

Curbing unanticipated risk
Laws are complex, and they might not be able to spot every small business speed bump, according to Ries. She urges small business owners to look for lawyers who are at ease with uncertain situations.

"An attorney is a member of your team and someone who will tend to legal matters so you can focus on what you do best: growing your business," Ries said.

Ries said much like other professions, a lawyer with a strong network often provides the best advice and results for their clients.

"Since no single attorney can be an expert in every area of the law, it helps if your attorney has a strong network of talented professionals in a variety of other specialties you may need to draw upon," Ries noted.