Editor’s Note: Starting a business is often a challenging process that requires careful planning and rigorous attention to detail. To launch a successful business, one must have a solid plan. Local business attorney J. Brian King, shares how he helps his clients develop solid business plans and build successful businesses.
Over the last 20 years, I have helped many clients form companies and start their businesses. When I meet with potential clients who aspire to become business owners, I begin by discussing their ideas and goals. Some want to launch short-term businesses, while others plan to stay in business for several years.
Because maintaining positive cash flow is essential for a new business, I also help my clients figure out how they will earn revenue and cover expenses. I work with them to create pro forma plans—documents that project business earnings and expenses for the first three to five years in business. Because many businesses fail in their first few years, I help my clients anticipate challenges they may face. If a company survives this crucial period, it will probably be a sustainable, long-term business.
A team approach is best for starting a business, which involves the client working with not only a business attorney, but also an accountant, insurance broker, banker, and financial planner. I often refer my clients to these professional advisors for help with other business needs, such as filing taxes, borrowing money, and planning for retirement.
Choosing the right business name is a crucial initial step in starting a business. Just as it is important to protect one’s own name and reputation, the same is true for creating a business name. Business owners should select a name that is marketable and gives potential customers an idea about the items the business will sell or the services it will provide. The name “Apple” doesn’t describe what that company does, but it is a great trademark with universal name recognition that took a lot of years and marketing dollars to get where it is today.
A good name can add significant value to a business over time. Some businesses start with one name, but that name evolves over the years. For example, the owner may decide to add or drop parts of the name. I file federal trademarks on behalf of my clients for business names and company logos. These trademarks protect against any other businesses using a particular business name or logo throughout the U.S.
J. Brian King is an experienced business attorney with offices in both Augusta and Atlanta. He can be reached at businessattorneylaw.com.