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Laying Down the Law

Don't be legally blind--watch for these common start-up blunders.

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This story appears in the March 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You just started your business--who has time to think about an exit strategy? If you're putting off making such plans, you've committed a very common legal mistake, says Alan S. Kopit, partner at Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP in Cleveland and advisor to Lawyers.com. "Now is the time to decide those issues--not after a problem develops," he says. Here, Kopit runs down a few more common legal blunders to avoid:

  • Failing to get good advice: Don't ever go it alone. Instead, Kopit suggests entrepreneurs enlist the services and counsel of a good lawyer, an accountant and an insurance agent at the very beginning of their start-up ventures. "Younger [entrepreneurs] particularly need people to bounce their ideas off of," he says.
  • Neglecting important employment considerations: Hiring issues are a major legal consideration for start-ups. Consider whether you need a written noncompete contract with employees, whether you'll use independent contractors and so on.

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