Last week in the Freedom Friday blog, we began a new series, the 10 Steps to Starting a Small Business in Oklahoma, and we covered the first step, which is before you do anything else, to develop your business plan. If you missed the blog for the first step, you can find that here:
In today's Freedom Friday blog, we are covering the second step to start a small business in Oklahoma. If you think you're ready to form your LLC or incorporate, you're still not there yet in the process. The second step to start a small business in Oklahoma is to gather your team. What I mean by “team” is the people who will provide you the necessary support, advice, and guidance you need while you start your small business. Your team can include an accountant or tax professional, an attorney, and maybe even a business coach.
Now, you may be asking, should I have LegalZoom or a DIY resource as part of my team? LegalZoom and DIY legal resources can sometimes be a good service, for some people, some of the time. However, as an attorney, I always advise people to be very careful when using LegalZoom or another DIY legal resource to avoid future problems. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Some documents you can get from these websites may be just fine for certain kinds of people, in certain kinds of situations, to meet certain kinds of needs; i.e., you get a boilerplate template document, perhaps for an operating agreement or simple contract. For some people, this is just OK. However, sometimes for your business, just being “OK” is not good enough for what you really need.
First of all, LegalZoom and DIY legal resources are not attorneys; they are not licensed to practice law, and they do not give legal advice to their customers. While they do provide a service, e.g. document drafting, they cannot give you as a client the legal judgment that only an attorney can offer you. For example, you can give LegalZoom the information needed to draft a document, but these DIY legal services will not ask you pertinent questions which an attorney might ask you regarding your situation. For instance, if you're starting a small business, some boilerplate documents might be acceptable, some boilerplate documents might be acceptable for routine transactions. However, if you have business partners (you're not forming a single-member LLC), the DIY legal resources will not pick up on very important legal issues which you really need to discuss with an attorney, and be advised on, in forming your LLC. Even if these are very small errors or problems, they can lead to major issues later on. These major issues could have been avoided, saving you the small business owner time and money. Again, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
There is a big advantage to you as the small business owner that you get by consulting with an actual attorney, instead of using LegalZoom or another DIY legal resource. That advantage is you can have the peace of mind that your attorney is providing you with legal judgment. An attorney is licensed to practice law, and as a licensed attorney, he or she is expected to zealously advocate for their clients and look out for the best interests of their clients. Anything less than that and the attorney is just not being ethical. Attorneys are actually bound to practice law within the rules of ethics and provide you as a client their legal judgment. This involves asking pertinent questions about your situation, picking up on the details, and customizing their services to meet your individual and unique needs as a client. Unfortunately, Legal Zoom and DIY legal resources don't function that way, as they are not an actual attorney. There is an advantage in consulting with an attorney and getting insight and legal judgment.
If you are interested in starting a small business anywhere in Oklahoma, or if you have a small business and you are looking to grow, please feel free to contact me at [email protected]. For more information about Liberty Legal Solutions, LLC, please visit our website http://www.libertylegalok.com.