Before considering a budget for services such as Outsourcing, Trademark or Patents even, I’d like to give you some pointers based on my experience of advising startups of all types over the last 15 years.
Businesses tend to change radically in the early years so that a few years after starting up, many look nothing like their initial manifestation.
Sometimes this can be because as they get market feedback on their concepts their ideas develop and they pivot. Or it may be that new businesses don’t know what it is exactly that they do, and who they do it for. Even professionals, like lawyers and web designers, who you would think know pretty clearly what they do, struggle with this.
Startups, therefore, take time to find their feet.
For this reason, I would counsel against spending too much money on anything, be it design, legal fees, or otherwise. As the business gradually achieves clarity about the demand for its goods and services, and figures out which services will generate revenue, and responds to the market, its offering and niche will change.
Early phase legal work
Early phase legal work can therefore often be of temporary benefit only.
Yet what happens in practice when a start up chooses lawyers is that a price is set for the various documents or services the lawyer considers the business needs. This might include a trade mark, terms of business, a website development agreement, documentation for the website, and anything else that is particularly appropriate for a given type of business.
The value a good lawyer can offer to startups goes far beyond the provision of documentation or a particular legal service.
It may be that you could save by using templates and do your own drafting to implement the necessary documents for your business.
One problem is how to get access to best practice intellectual property advice so as to start up your business and projects independently without need to consult lawyers about every decision you need to make as you pivot and change direction.
In fact, few businesses can afford to consult lawyers on the intellectual property issues that arise in the very early stages of their projects, such as when they’re choosing names or even when they’re commissioning websites. Either they don’t realise that so many of their actions have far reaching intellectual property implications, or it’s not feasible to incur legal fees when the project is in its infancy.
The mistake with IP is in assuming you can leave it to one side till later – such as once you have something to protect. You need to know how to make good choices, what checks to make, and which provisions to include in legal agreements you should use early on.
Over the years Azrights has realised that this requires a different approach to that of consulting lawyers in the traditional lawyer/client one to one advisory service approach.
This enables people, even those with no pre-existing knowledge of intellectual property, to use the system to protect their IP. You learn what to do at the point in time when you need to learn it. It’s only when a key action is about to be undertaken in a project that there is a need to apply a given process. You access and apply processes when you need them. There are different processes depending on the actions the business is about to take.
So, for example, if you have an innovation you want to patent, that’s when you would look at the processes for patents and understand what to do before approaching a lawyer for help. Or if you’re about to pick a name and domain name, that’s when you watch the videos on names and learn the numerous issues to be aware of. Names are a much misunderstood topic, even by highly successful business leaders. There are many myths and misinformation about naming.
Indeed the need to choose a name so early on in projects leads to many mistakes by business owners, sometimes with devastating consequences for the business. This is just one example of how not having best practice advice, and information at your fingertips when you need it, can result in poor intellectual property outcomes for the business.
Intellectual property has a broad meaning. It includes the knowledge and skills that are to be deployed in the business or project, or which will be turned into a business. It is an umbrella term that includes:
- trade marks,
- copyright and
- trade secrets/confidentiality.
Registration of rights, which people traditionally associate with intellectual property, comes later and often people will consult a lawyer at that time. However, by then it may already be too late to rectify the impact of some of the early decisions and choices they’ve made.
The best way I can help you is via a 6 week group coaching program that gives you access to LBA 2.0 and 6 Zoom meetings when I will explain how to use the LBA 2.0 system in your business as part of your processes, and you will have an opportunity to ask me questions. This is the lowest cost way we’ve been able to find for supporting startups. Thereafter you may buy consultation or different services such as trade mark registration. The system gives you a number of the templates you would need to use and these templates are made very easy to tailor. So, it’s only if the other party won’t sign the document that you’d need to consider consulting a lawyer for advice.
This new process-based approach to IP protection is THE way to protect your IP on an ongoing basis as your business grows and develops.
Here is a link to the Azrights International Ltd site which is not regulated by the solicitors regulation authority, and offers the course combined with coaching. You can put your name on the waiting list if the course is currently closed. It reopens every couple of months and you will get a discount by registering your interest and will be the first to find out when the next course starts.
The first step is to buy a licence for Legally Branded 2.0 and get some coaching. Then order more licences for your team and arrange consultancy services if required down the line.
Being in business myself means I understand the emotional, financial, and creative investment clients make in their own future. With my insight into legal risk, I am well placed to offer you this different approach to managing your legal risks and budget.
In conclusion, the traditional approach to organising your legal work might not result in the best deal for you. What we are all about at Azrights is providing cost effective and appropriate legal solutions to help you to grow your business on solid foundations.