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Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Start My Business

Every new business venture presents its own unique challenges and issues. At time the challenge can be overwhelming. And, once you get started, owners are confronted with may new and unexpected challenges to keeping the business going.

The experienced Chicago Business Lawyers at Bellas & Wachowski, we have counseled many entrepreneurs in starting a new business venture. We understand that entrepreneurs are self-starters and like to do things themselves. But, over the many years of helping business owners, we have encountered many issues. Experienced business lawyers can help minimize many of the problems that business owners will encounter in their business development.

Many events can change the course of a business. Let’s consider several examples of events that could change the direction and profitability of your business:

  1. Your partner decides to leave the business and insists on a buyout of his interest for an unreasonable amount of money (and he wants it all in cash now).
  2. Your client leaves the business, taking with him the client list and several of your best clients. Your partner then opens a competing business down the street from you.
  3. Your partner accrues a huge amount of debt, without your knowledge, jeopardizing the future of the business.
  4. Your partner dies, leaving his interest to his wife, with whom you just haven’t been able to get along.

Any one of these events could trigger the end of your business venture. As experienced Chicago Business Lawyers, we understand and know that there are preventative measures that can be taken to avoid, or at least minimize, the consequence of these events without ending the business.

  • Any dispute with your business partners – regardless of whether it is an Illinois corporation, an Illinois Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a partnership, good advance planning can prevent or minimize a legal battle between partners over the value of your respective interest. This can be done by simply agreeing to a shareholders’ agreement, a partnership agreement or – in the case of an LLC – an operating agreement which delineates the manner in which each partner, member or shareholder can withdraw from the business, sell their interest to a third party, or sell their interest to the other partners all based on a predetermined valuation formula.
  • To prevent your partner from leaving the business with the client list or with clients, you could execute a “Non-Compete Agreement” which prevents partners or owners from competing with the other in a particular geographic area for a predetermined period of time.
  • To prevent the demise of a business resulting from unreasonable debts incurred by one of the partners, the partners can sign an agreement specifying who may incur debt on behalf of the venture. This would eliminate the possibility of a business failure arising from the poor management of one of the partners.
  • To prevent you from having to work side by side with your deceased partner’s spouse or to prevent the spouse of the deceased partner from being involved in the business at all, partners can execute a Buy-Sell Agreement which obligates their respective spouse’s to agree to the sale of business or to a buyout of their interest in the event of a death.

Of course, all of these are alternatives to litigation which could be costly to everyone. This is why we frequently recommend start-ups to seriously consider these types of events and plan for them in the early stages of the business’ development.

Each business situation is unique and requires the particular talents of an experienced business lawyer. The lawyers at Bellas & Wachowski Attorneys at Law have the experience to assist you and advise you regarding most issues which are presented in your business. Consult with knowledgeable and experienced professionals whenever possible. For more information contact George Bellas (george@bellas-wachowski.com or 847.823.9032) for a consultation that will help get your business started in the right direction and protect the future of the business.

Bellas and Wachowski
Attorneys at Law
15 North Northwest Highway
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068