When it comes to running a business, every experienced entrepreneur knows that it’s only a matter of time before a great idea well-executed will meet with conflict. Whether it’s a competitor making false claims about you, a large customer that suddenly stops paying the bill, or an ownership dispute, successful businesses often find themselves in the middle of legal controversy.
For businesses in the Allentown area, this is a real concern. Allentown and the Lehigh Valley have seen an explosion of growth in the last ten years, with industry coming back to the city and a revitalized downtown. But for many, with this growth comes the growing pain of business conflict and litigation.
So how can you prepare your Lehigh County business for dealing with litigation challenges? Here are three steps you can take now to ensure that your company is ready for the storms ahead.
Review your ownership documents and your operating agreement or bylaws.
When you’re running a business day-to-day, it can be difficult to take time and review “old news,” like the documents that govern the running of your company. But this is an important step, and taking time to review these documents every year can save you a lot of headaches down the line. In his landmark book, Built to Last, business author Jim Collins wrote about how important it is for companies large and small to take time and review their mission statements and founding documents to guard against “mission creep.” This is doubly true of legal documents. Ignoring the rules you created for your company can open you to legal challenges and personal liability on many matters—and this is particularly true if you have multiple owners.
And while we’re talking about multiple owners, it’s also important to document your decision-making process together by means of corporate resolutions, meeting minutes, or other instruments designed to demonstrate who votes which way. Keeping track of this can guard you against later legal challenges that you, as a majority shareowner, failed to take care of your co-owners’ interests.
Develop a relationship with a business attorney.
When a crisis hits, it’s important to know whom to call. When a lawsuit is served on you, you typically have only 20 days to respond. At that point, in the midst of the pressures of your regular business operations, you have to find an attorney and they need time to answer the Complaint appropriately. You may need to explain the ins and outs of your company, as well as the origins of the specific dispute, to this attorney. This is why it is helpful to have a working relationship with a litigation attorney well before this sort of dispute breaks out.
Conclusion: Call Cornerstone Law Firm today
At Cornerstone Law Firm, we pride ourselves on our client-focused approach to the law. We get to know our clients personally and professionally, and want to know about their businesses before a dispute begins. If you own a business in the Lehigh Valley, call us for a free discussion of your business needs. We’re here to protect and promote your business growth, and we’d love the chance to get to know you.