Recently, with temperatures over 100 degrees, two consenting adults stacked a cord of wood in preparation for winter. Why? Because it was there. In the driveway. And it had to be moved to park our cars off the street. And why is a cord of wood so important in the middle of summer? When we, like millions of people, were hit by the recent derecho storm that swept the eastern US, bringing big trees and limbs down and causing a power outage for days during record breaking heat, we thought about winter and the power outages we’ve experienced during snow and ice storms. This wooden wind fall came along and it seemed like a good idea to stack a cord of wood. Now, we’re prepared.
During startup mode, entrepreneurs get prepared. You may want to spend your time and money on prototyping and building the product or generating sales, but first you have to be prepared for things you can’t plan on. Got an awesome logo? Better get a trademark. Why? In preparation for the day when someone is going to copy you or say you copied them. For the same reason, you incorporate or form a LLC or some other legal entity. You may not have revenue yet, but you need to be prepared for tax liabilities, insurance requirements, and potential legal actions by customers or employees you don’t yet have.
You can find help online, however, sometimes even good help is limited. For example, you can save money by forming a LLC or getting a trademark through online companies rather than by hiring a lawyer, but, as the fine print states, the online companies are not providing legal advice. They file legal documents with US agencies on your behalf. Before you file, how do you know which form of organization is best for you and your company, which one protects your assets the best, and which one will save you money during tax time unless you have the advice of experts? If you need advice to know which way to go, you need the lawyer and the accountant, because you won’t find that advice online. Information, yes. Spend a good amount of time researching the subject until you are comfortable with your choices. Or hire an expert.
Getting a trademark, a patent, or forming a legal entity from an online company is not easy and does not guarantee success. For example, a trademark can be rejected by the US Trademark Office, after you’ve paid money to the online company to file for it. Refiling costs more money. Preparation, knowing the prerequisites for getting a trademark, and understanding the process in advance will help you ensure success.
Preparation is difficult for entrepreneurs who are juggling so many key areas of the business at the same time. Difficult? Yes. Its like stacking a cord of wood on a hot summer day to make sure you have enough for winter storms. If it were easy, wouldn’t everyone be an entrepreneur?
All the best!