Picture this: One day, out of the blue, your key employee, the one you taught, nurtured, championed and confided in, tells you he's leaving to start his own business--a business that will compete directly with yours. Just like that, years of experience walk right out the door, as dozens of important customers follow this pied piper to a new location.
When an energetic, competent, ambitious employee becomes your competitor, it can hurt not only your feelings but your bottom line. While preventive lawyering can't completely eliminate this risk, it can do an awful lot to control it.
Marc Diener is an attorney and author of Deal Power: 6 Foolproof Steps to Making Deals of Any Size (Owl Books/Henry Holt). This article contains general information only. If you are concerned about how these issues might affect you, seek independent counsel.