Lawyer Monthly Magazine - December 2018 Edition

How to Make an Idea into a Business You’ve had a ‘lightbulb’ moment, but where do you go from here? We speak to Jonathan Sparks, who offers creative legal ideas to keep the fuel burning in every entrepreneurs’ truckload of thoughts and ideas; we ask him: how does a simple idea become a successful business venture? So, an entrepreneur has approached you with their business idea: what should be their first course of action? a. Start by determining if that particular idea is worth taking all the way through to implementation. A good entrepreneur will be flooded with “good ideas” for businesses — based on my experience and that of my clients, we receive at least one good idea from the “cosmos” a week; but only about one quarter of them are worth further discussion. b. Then, commit to sticking with your business idea for the long haul. If the business owner’s idea is not near-guaranteed to turn a profit within the first two years of implementation, entrepreneurs will usually run out of steam before they get to profitability. c. Stress test the idea. Generate hypotheticals and contingencies and find solutions to meet those challenges on the front end. Be prepared! d. Finally, if it all checks out, it’s time to move towards formally setting up the new entity in a way that will protect your assets and reduce risk. 2. From this, which [legal] area is more important to deal with firsthand, (i.e., should entrepreneurs consider IP, Contract, Financial Agreements, Commercial Leases etc., first?) a. Usually, the first legal issue to tackle is your limited liability. It’s a simple formality to set up a new company — but if it’s not done correctly, all of your personal assets could be taken from you in a lawsuit. b. Once your limited liability is in place, we then move to the next best forms of protection, with things like customer contracts, IP protection, and employment contracts. After all that’s established, how does their initial business idea become a small business? Can you share the important ‘behind the scenes’ new businesspeople often are unaware about? The exciting thing about being an entrepreneur is that in the beginning you are starting fresh with positions for a receptionist- type person, a sales person, an HR person, an accountant, a manager, a board of directors, a compliance person, someone managing marketing and operations, and it goes on. The bad part is that in the initial stage the business typically can’t afford to hire anyone yet. So, the business owner ends up wearing all of those “hats”. It’s manageable at first, but it can become difficult to hold yourself accountable to doing all of the things that must get done for each “job” in order to meet your goals. In addition, it can be difficult at the least, to hire and Contact Jonathan Sparks, Founder Tel: 470-268-5234 | Email: 58 SUPER LAWYERS DEC 2018 www. lawyer-monthly .com

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