Just like in medicine, in law, prevention is better than a cure. So how do we do that?
By giving proper attention to our affairs, well in advance of us needing to do it.
Particularly when we’re in business, business women tend to put getting their legals in order right to the bottom of the list, because there’s so many other expenses and things to do.
However, if you’re spending a couple of thousand dollars a year on an accountant, you should spend a couple of thousand dollars a year on a lawyer.
What can you get in order? Privacy policies, terms and conditions of trade, employment contracts, employment policies, partnership agreements, our succession plan, powers of attorney, loan agreements, etc.
We go into business and we’re excited and we never think that anything will go wrong, but it does.
It does go wrong.
If you have all your paperwork in order, and you have clear terms and conditions, your contracts are up to date, you’ve got a dispute resolution process built in. You’ve got a pathway to resolve the dispute.
If you have your paperwork in order, you don’t have to try to enforce a verbal agreement. You’ve got something in writing that you can look to. For example, in a partnership agreement, it says exactly what will happen if there’s a dispute between you. Or if one of you wants to leave, it says how you value it so the other person gets out.
Don’t leave all this stuff to hope, because hope is not a strategy.
Don’t put your head in the sand that, assuming it will always stay rosy. I really hope that it does for a long time. But inevitably, the more you grow, the more complex your business gets, or the more complex your life gets, the more likely there is that something will go wrong.
So prepare for it.
I know that a lot of fear surrounds getting legal advice to get some of these things done. So then it comes back to the advice I give about finding and hiring the right lawyer, finding the right kind of person that’s gonna do the specific things that you want and not try to upsell you, and not try to get you to do a million things, or not try and overvalue what they’re doing for you.
If you want to get your affairs in order, there are female lawyers who do unbundled legal services for these specific things who can do just a contract, just terms and conditions, just your policies, and they’re not gonna say, you need this and this and this and this and this.
If your budget is two grand a year on a lawyer, work out over a period of two or three years how you’re going to update all your paperwork, and then how you’re gonna review them regularly.