Five Common Mistakes Made by Startups

picjumbo.com_HNCK3991You may dream of starting your own business, but are hesitant due to the daunting statistics showing that only 50 percent of startups survive five years. Instead of giving up your dream, find ways to make it work. Many entrepreneurs lose their business because of errors they make that put them on the road to failure. Increase your chances of success by avoiding these most common mistakes.

Failure to Choose the Appropriate Business Structure

One major factor that may determine whether your business is a success is how you decide to structure it. You want to be sure you use a business format that will protect your personal assets from business liabilities and debts. Depending on how you structure your business will also influence your ability to obtain funding, the amount of taxes you pay and how your records must be kept. Some possibilities are:

  • Sole proprietor: You are the sole owner of the business.
  • Partnership: You and one or more partners own the business together.
  • Corporation: There are several different ways to structure your business as a corporation.
  • Limited Liability Company: This is a hybrid between a partnership and corporation and works well for many types of businesses.

A business law attorney will evaluate your situation and advise you on the ideal business structure that will best meet your needs.

Failure to Put Contracts in Writing

Businesses run on contracts.There are contracts between business partners, contracts with vendors, leasing contracts with property owners and employment contracts, just to name a few. One big mistake people often make is entering into a partnership on a handshake. You may have been best friends since fifth grade and rooted for the same sports teams and read the same books. That does not mean you will agree on how to conduct business.

You need a partnership agreement that will specifically articulate how the business will be run and how decisions will be made. Define the policies, business hours and what will happen if one partner dies, wants to leave the business or bring in another partner. Planning for all these contingencies and reducing the expectations to a written agreement will preserve not only the business, but also the friendship.

Failure to Delegate

Running a business is more than a full-time job. It can be overwhelming if you try to do everything yourself. Those who have been successful advise those who are just starting to remember that they cannot do everything themselves. One successful business owner reports that he almost lost his business due to his failure to delegate.  Fortunately, he was able to turn it around around when he realized that he “did not need to know everything” and could delegate certain tasks to others so that he had more time to do the parts of the business at which he was more competent.

Failure to Adequately Research the Need for the Product or Service

You may think your idea is wonderful. You are absolutely certain there is a need for your product or service and that people will line up to purchase whatever it is you are selling. Hopefully, you are right. But, if you create a service or product for which there is no market need, your business will fail. You need to do market research to evaluate whether there is really a need that your business can fill.

In order to have the best chance of success, contact this office for guidance. As an experienced business attorney, I can assist you with determining the best structure for your business, draft necessary contracts and provide services that will help prevent future litigation.

The Georgia Family Violence Act

domestic violence

The Georgia Family Violence Act is designed to protect family and household members from the violent acts of another family or household member. Family has a broad definition under the statute. Specific people who fall under this statute include:

 

  • Current and former spouses.
  • Parents who have a child in common whether or not the two parents were ever married or ever shared a household.
  • Parents and their children.
  • Stepparents and stepchildren.
  • Foster parents and foster children.
  • People who are currently sharing the same household or who shared the same household in the past.

These people are protected from harm that occurs to them due to any felony committed by the violent family or household member. According to the specific language of the statute,  violent acts that will result in increased penalties if directed toward a family or household member include:

  • All degrees of assault.
  • All degrees of battery.
  • Stalking.
  • Criminal damage to property.
  • Unlawful restraint.
  • Criminal trespass.

The process of protection from violence begins when one party petitions the court and asks for an order of protection from violent acts of the other party. The court may make a temporary order of protection without holding hearing. After a hearing is held, the temporary order will either be vacated or turned into a permanent order or an order lasting for a certain number of years.

Types of Protective Orders That are Available

In response to the petition for a protective order, the court may make any order that will serve the purpose of stopping the violence and protecting the victim from any future harm.  Some of the most common orders are:

  • Directing the abuser to stay a certain distance away from the petitioner and have no contact at all.
  • Ordering the abuser to stay away from the residence and granting sole possession of it to the abuse victim.
  • Requiring the abusing person to provide housing for the victim and the children.
  • Awarding temporary custody of the minor children to the non-abusive parent.
  • Providing a legal way for the victim to get any personal property.
  • Ordering the abuser to refrain from harassing or interfering with the victim.
  • Deciding which party will have to pay court costs and legal fees.
  • Ordering any party who is involved to undergo psychiatric testing or counseling in an effort to prevent any further family violence.

A court’s order of protection will last for one year. The order may be extended or made a permanent court order as the circumstances require.

How Does an Order of Protection Actually “Protect” Victims?

When a person violates a protective order, he or she may be immediately arrested and charged with contempt of court as well as with the crime of violating a protective order. A sentence of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000 may be imposed.

Although there is really nothing about a protective order that will stop a determined abuser from stalking or harassing. It does compel law enforcement to respond and arrest the perpetrator who is violating a protective order.

If you are a victim of family violence, you can find help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) where you will speak to a real person who can provide you guidance. Georgia has its own 24/7 hotline you can reach at 1-800-33-HAVEN or 1-800-334-2836. You do not have to be physically in Georgia in order to make that call. There are language interpreters for many different language available to speak with you.