Our clients are largely businesses beginning their journey to greatness. Small business, start-ups, scale-ups.
We work with lots of business owners with ‘young’ companies and one of the biggest issues we face when advising them is that we are instructed in the moment rather than earlier in the process. No, this isn’t about lawyers wanting to get more fees, it’s about our Lawboxers wanting to set the foundations that make those moments less painful.
Whilst living in the moment can just be part of life as a business owner, and we’ve all done it, we also want to explain the value of looking ahead for your business.
businesses working together.
Our BusinessBox was set up to help with this issue, we give business owners a community space where they can step back with other business owners, take an overview of their company, goal set for their future and then hold each other accountable.
We recently launched BusinessBox with a Lego Serious Play session, where a group of business owners afforded themselves the luxury of a half-day out of the office (in itself a luxury, we know!). And in the community space, we provided they were able to reflect on the journey of their businesses. Together. It was a really powerful experience for all with some very important lessons learned and we thought that we would share some of that learning here.
LESSON 1: don’t forget where you have been.
Often when we look ahead, we forget about the journey that we have already been on. Whilst being forward-thinking can be hugely beneficial to a business, forgetting your origin can be destabilizing.
How can you avoid this pitfall? If you own a business, take some time out of your day to think about your journey. What aspirations did you have when you started? What did you set in place when you started and where did you think you would be now? Where are you in comparison?
Reflecting on what you have achieved, and perhaps not achieved will highlight lessons that have already been learned.
From a legal perspective, considering the journey that you have already been on will also help to identify areas of risk. Maybe you were keen to get started and it all happened organically without much fuss. There perhaps wasn’t too much of a need to get the legal stuff right, because it wasn’t seen as too big of a risk. Legal was just another expense.
Classic examples here are shareholders agreements that aren’t drawn up – because you are all friends and “really it’s just an idea at this stage”. Another common example is data. Privacy notices and other GDPR compliance gets swept away because “The ICO isn’t interested in a start-up like ours”. A couple of years down the track and it might be time to correct some of those gaps.
LESSON 2: plan for your future.
Once you have reflected on the journey you have been on and put your house in order, the next thing we encourage businesses to do is to think about where they want to be in a couple of years’ time.
Plot out what you need to do to get from where you are to where you need to be. Maybe you are going to expand and are going to need a new location/office/building. Perhaps you need to build a bigger team so that you can move away from some of the doing and focus more on growing the business further.
With growth like this, you need to also consider how risk is managed. Ensuring that your contracts are legally sound will only be of benefit to your business in the future. Clever and consistent contract management can be the difference between sinking and swimming for small businesses so make sure you get it right!
LESSON 3: it takes a village.
The value of doing this exercise together, as a like-minded group, can’t be understated. Great businesses are built by creating these strong links and having a great foundation. Something that we want to help foster through this community and our legal support. It takes a village after all!
strong business growth.
During the session, our business owners shared their concerns over the past and future of their businesses and we found some common issues coming through:
- Finding the right people.
- Getting funding and finance in place to grow the business.
- Being able to step away to let the business run more independently.
What was interesting was that everyone’s concerns were linked to the growth of their business. The sharing of these problems left everyone feeling less alone and we hope that the ongoing support of fellow BusinessBoxers will foster strong growth in the businesses of those involved.
Having identified these issues we’ll be discussing them in our upcoming BusinessBoxes, if you’d like to be part of these conversations then please get in touch at email@example.com to find out more.