October 13

Episode 96: Common Mistakes That Startups Often Make With Tanya Osensky

0  comments

Osensky Law’s business model is designed around being more cost-effective and efficient for clients. No fancy office space. No staff. No run-around. When you call Tanya, you get Tanya.

Tanya Osensky’s Biography

Tanya Osensky is a corporate attorney and fractional General Counsel. After over 20 years working inside the business as an in-house attorney for large companies and institutions such as Georgia-Pacific and Georgia Tech, Tanya formed her own law firm in 2017 to bring her unique in-house counsel insights to smaller companies and entrepreneurs. Unlike a traditional law firm, Tanya’s focus is on delivering the kind of legal support a business wants and needs – not just technically correct legal advice, but strategic problem-solving with a focus on providing business value to clients. Tanya has vast experience leading multi-disciplinary teams to achieve important business goals. Now, as a business owner herself, Tanya can relate to her clients and understand the challenges they face. Tanya has an established reputation for providing practical advice and perspectives based on her legal training combined with over 20 years of hands-on experience as a business lawyer and leader.

In This Episode, You’ll Learn…

In today’s episode, Mike talks with Tanya about the common mistakes startups make. And how as a business owner herself, she can relate to her clients and understand the challenges they face.

  • Registering their company in the wrong jurisdiction
  • Not getting a good agreement with co-founders or trying to DIY
  • Misclassifying employees as independent contractors
  • Not getting written agreements in place with employees or contractors – who will own the IP rights w/o a contract
  • Doing business without contracts (especially with family/friends)

Links & Resources Mentioned…

 

Read The Transcript

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(bright music)

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- Welcome back to the Get
Unstuck and On Target podcast.

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I'm Mike O'Neill with Bench Builders

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and we help growing companies,
especially manufacturers,

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improve their people,
process and planning systems

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so they can scale smarter and faster.

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Joining me today is Tanya Osensky.

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Tanya is a corporate attorney

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and a fractional general counsel.

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After over 20 years
working inside the business

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as an in-house attorney for
large companies and institutions

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such as Georgia Pacific and Georgia Tech.

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Tanya formed her own law firm in 2017

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to bring her unique
in-house counsel insights

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to smaller companies and entrepreneurs.

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Now she's a business owner herself,

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so she can much better
relate to her clients

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and understand the
challenges that they face.

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And it's my pleasure to welcome you.

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Good to have you on this podcast.

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- Thank you so much, and I
appreciate you having me.

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Thank you, Mike.

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- What I know about your background

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that kind of mirrors mine

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is you came out of a corporate
in-house general counsel,

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whereas I came out of corporate HR.

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You worked for some very
impressive companies,

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but you have decided that you
wanted to open your own firm

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and particularly bring
your legal expertise

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to smaller companies and
work of entrepreneurs.

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What was the lure to begin working with

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smaller growing businesses?

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- I've always had an
entrepreneurial spirit myself

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as a first generation immigrant,

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it's sort of like the expectation

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of that kind of population
to be entrepreneurial.

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And I was no exception,

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but I spent a lot of time
in the corporate world

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and kind of seeing how business
was managed from the inside.

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A lot of lawyers who have
only ever worked in law firms

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don't get that kind of perspective.

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They are just legal counsel.
They only provide legal advice.

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They don't see how the business
operates from the inside

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as well as in-house lawyers do

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because they represent the company,

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they have to understand all
the functions of the company

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and how the business works,

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as well as the whole industry
that the business is in.

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So it's a completely different
perspective for the lawyer

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and it inspired me to also
wanna be a business owner

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because I really enjoyed
seeing the business side

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of my corporate client,

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and I wanted to have more
of a hand in that myself.

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- In my intro,

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I mentioned that you work with
small to mid sized companies,

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and in particular, excuse me, I apologize.

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I wanted to spend a little
bit of time about startups

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and I know that that's one of the areas

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that you have developed some expertise in.

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And particularly what we wanna do is

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talk about what are those type of mistakes

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that you see time and time again

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that those folks who are
starting companies tend to make?

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And I asked that question
in the large part

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because we've got a lot of entrepreneurs

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who are listening to this podcast.

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- Yes, I know it's a very common thing

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that people talk about.

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And what I see the most often

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are entrepreneurs who don't
budget for legal expenses.

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They come up with a great
business idea and a business plan

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they work super hard on it.

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They make a budget for marketing,

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they make a budget for
online presence and brand

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and marketing and stuff

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but very rarely do they
budget for the boring stuff,

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the accountants, the lawyers,

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the things that build the
foundation for a healthy business.

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And it's especially important

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when they are trying to found
a company with someone else.

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So when a person is alone
finding, starting a company,

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there are certain things
that need to be done,

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but it's fine. I guess
it's okay to do it yourself

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or a lot of it yourself,

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but when you are going into
business with another person,

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it becomes really critical
to budget that time

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for really good advisory
services with a financial person

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and a legal person

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because there are so
many problems that arise.

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And I see unfortunately every single day

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problems among founders

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because they did not
consider things upfront

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and put the right structure
for the company in place,

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have the right agreement
between the founders

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that help them get through
problems in the future.

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So then they end up spending
a lot more money down the road

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because they don't have a framework

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for dealing with these things

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that they came up with in advance.

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And it is an investment,

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but it's definitely a lot
cheaper than litigation.

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So it's a no brainer from risk perspective

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that it's important to
budget a few thousand dollars

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at the startup stage, get it
all correctly put in place,

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and then you won't have
the terrible problems

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that many people get
when they don't do that.

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- So can you help me understand,

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to establish good legal foundation,

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what are the kinds of things

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that a person who is
considering starting a business,

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perhaps with a business partner,

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what are the absolutes that
you advise your clients

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must be in place upfront?

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- So the most important
thing they must have in place

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is an agreement between them.

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It's even more important
than creating a legal entity

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like an LLC, which also is important,

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but having the agreement between them

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about how they want to work together,

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what's gonna happen if
one of them wants to leave

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or one of them dies

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can one of them sell their
interest in the company

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or do they have to have
certain restrictions on sale

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all of these scenarios that
people don't think about beyond,

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Okay, we wanna go into business together

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and we're gonna divide everything up 50/50

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or 60/40 or whatever it is.

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But there's a lot more that
needs to be decided upon

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than just how you're gonna
divide up the profits a lot more.

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So, that's the most important thing.

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And then I see, after all of those things

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have been established and
everybody is going forward,

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they start hiring people
or workers to help them out

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in the business because
you are beyond the point

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where you can do everything by yourself.

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The next mistake I see
a lot of businesses make

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is hiring workers without thinking

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through proper classification of workers,

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whether they are employees
or independent contractors.

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And it's very attractive to just say,

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"Oh, so and so is an
independent contractor,

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so I can save on those payroll
taxes and all of this stuff."

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But that's just not how
the law works in this area.

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It's not what you say
that the relationship is,

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they actually look at
the relationship itself

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and decide whether it
should be an employee.

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And if you don't do that
correctly from the beginning,

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you're exposing your company
to a huge amount of fines

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and penalties when,

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just do it right from the first place

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would've avoided a whole
host of problems later on.

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So that's another huge
mistake I see companies make

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early on in their existence.

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- Now, you pointed out,
it's a good problem

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when the business is growing

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and you have to bring
others to help with that,

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but if you just assume

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that these folks are
independent contractors,

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you could perhaps get by with that.

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But in the event that that is challenged,

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I think what you were saying

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is that you're subject
to a number of things.

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- Yeah.

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- Penalties, fines, and they
can go back on and recover.

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Can they not?
- They can.

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They can go back and recover
from the very beginning.

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And one of the worst things
about using employees

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and contractors in a lackadaisical manner

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that even goes beyond
these kinds of scary things

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like fines, is the intellectual property.

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Let's say you hire a marketing person

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or any other kind of worker

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that creates things for the company.

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The law is that unless you have a contract

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that says otherwise,

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that person is gonna own their creation.

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So you have to have the
right agreement with them

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if you wanna own what
they've created for you

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that you've paid for and you should own

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but that's not how the law is set up.

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So it's very important to think carefully

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through those kinds of things.

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And once you've created
those basic templates

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that you can use for your
contractors or employees,

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you've got your customer agreements,

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you've got your website
terms and conditions

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and all of those things,

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then you probably won't
need an attorney like me

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for a very long time

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until some new stage
of development happens

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for the company.

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But I guess my point is that

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entrepreneurs should plan
for these basic few things

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from the beginning and budget for that

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from the beginning

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because it's an important
area to invest in.

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- You know, we've
started this conversation

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talking about mistakes that
startups oftentimes make,

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and you've given two examples of things

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that by investing upfront,
have the conversation

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put what's agreed to in writing

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it can avoid a lot of potential
heartache in the future.

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- Yes.

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- And then you've also kind of pointed out

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that with success then
comes new sets of questions,

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but one thing I like about you

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is that you're relatively transparent.

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What you're saying is,

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if you're willing to do
these things upfront,

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they might not need you for a while.

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And what I love about
your transparency too

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is that when you go to your website,

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something, I don't know
if I've ever seen before,

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there's a tab that kinda
lists fee structure.

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- Yep.

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- At least for me, that strikes
me as being very unusual.

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What prompted you to go ahead

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and just be that forthright with people

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who don't even talk to you?

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They go to your website first.

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- Well, yeah, and I think
that that would be great.

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If somebody goes to my website

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and sees that my fee structure

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is not a good fit for their business,

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that's perfectly fine, then
they can make that decision.

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I believe that the client
or potential client

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is the one who makes the
decision whether or not,

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and who to hire as their
advisor, including myself.

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I believe in transparency.

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I also hate it when service
providers are not transparent

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about their pricing because
it's more work on me.

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I have to call, I have to
go through the whole spiel

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and explain what I need,

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and then they like come
up with some number

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off maybe the top of their head

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and who knows if that
is how they feel today

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or if that's really their normal number.

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And so, it just feels a little colludy

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I don't know if that's a real word or not,

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but I wanna avoid all of that.

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I wanna work with clients that
I feel are a good fit for me,

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and I also want them to feel
that I'm a good fit for them.

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And if that means some
people will automatically,

244
00:12:31,380 --> 00:12:35,040
cross me off their list based
on my prices, that's okay.

245
00:12:35,040 --> 00:12:36,240
That's their decision.

246
00:12:36,240 --> 00:12:38,593
They get to decide who
they work with, not me.

247
00:12:39,960 --> 00:12:40,860
- We're talking about fit

248
00:12:40,860 --> 00:12:44,610
and one of the things we discuss is,

249
00:12:44,610 --> 00:12:46,560
are the prices you charge

250
00:12:46,560 --> 00:12:48,750
keeping with what they're
kind of expecting.

251
00:12:48,750 --> 00:12:53,730
What else goes into deciding
a good fit with an attorney?

252
00:12:53,730 --> 00:12:56,733
What else should people
listening be mindful of?

253
00:12:57,763 --> 00:13:02,763
- I think that there are some
people who hire an attorney

254
00:13:03,420 --> 00:13:05,940
to just basically be like a secretary.

255
00:13:05,940 --> 00:13:08,760
I'm gonna tell you what I
want you to put in here,

256
00:13:08,760 --> 00:13:10,350
and you just do what I say.

257
00:13:10,350 --> 00:13:12,030
I don't really wanna hear you

258
00:13:12,030 --> 00:13:14,970
or your opinion about what I'm doing.

259
00:13:14,970 --> 00:13:17,910
That is not where I add
the most value, right?

260
00:13:17,910 --> 00:13:20,700
The value that I bring to a client

261
00:13:20,700 --> 00:13:25,700
is not the piece of paper that
I produce, it's my advice.

262
00:13:25,830 --> 00:13:28,080
The fees I charge are for the advice,

263
00:13:28,080 --> 00:13:30,600
the piece of paper that comes out of it

264
00:13:30,600 --> 00:13:32,820
is like the ultimate cherry

265
00:13:32,820 --> 00:13:36,960
but that's not the main
thing that I charge for.

266
00:13:36,960 --> 00:13:39,870
I charge for the value
of my experience, advice

267
00:13:39,870 --> 00:13:41,850
I've been an attorney for almost 30 years.

268
00:13:41,850 --> 00:13:43,800
I've been doing this a long time,

269
00:13:43,800 --> 00:13:46,680
and it's worth something.

270
00:13:46,680 --> 00:13:50,430
And I think that if a
client does not respect

271
00:13:50,430 --> 00:13:54,030
or appreciate that, if they
just want me to be as scribe,

272
00:13:54,030 --> 00:13:56,250
that's not gonna be a good relationship

273
00:13:56,250 --> 00:13:59,793
and that's not what I'm here to do.

274
00:14:01,170 --> 00:14:03,180
That would not fulfill my purpose,

275
00:14:03,180 --> 00:14:06,570
and it would not serve them
because as an attorney,

276
00:14:06,570 --> 00:14:09,450
you have certain ethical obligations

277
00:14:09,450 --> 00:14:13,290
you could potentially
have malpractice issues

278
00:14:13,290 --> 00:14:17,043
if something happens that
goes off the wrong way.

279
00:14:18,210 --> 00:14:21,270
And an attorney's role is
not to just do whatever

280
00:14:21,270 --> 00:14:22,623
the client says.

281
00:14:24,030 --> 00:14:25,890
- We've started this conversation

282
00:14:25,890 --> 00:14:28,350
around the notion of starting a business

283
00:14:28,350 --> 00:14:31,440
and how important it is to
get those foundational pieces

284
00:14:31,440 --> 00:14:33,060
in place.

285
00:14:33,060 --> 00:14:37,560
As a company continues to operate

286
00:14:37,560 --> 00:14:42,560
where do you find
entrepreneurs next go awry

287
00:14:43,080 --> 00:14:44,880
from a legal standpoint?

288
00:14:44,880 --> 00:14:46,950
- As the company keeps growing,

289
00:14:46,950 --> 00:14:50,070
the next issues that I see more often

290
00:14:50,070 --> 00:14:52,020
are employment related issues

291
00:14:52,020 --> 00:14:53,910
and I'm not an employment lawyer,

292
00:14:53,910 --> 00:14:58,910
but I can help manage other
employment lawyers for clients,

293
00:15:01,299 --> 00:15:06,299
because I know how outside
lawyers should be managed

294
00:15:06,450 --> 00:15:09,090
and other issues that come around a lot,

295
00:15:09,090 --> 00:15:11,160
are just general contracts,

296
00:15:11,160 --> 00:15:13,860
not documenting regular contracts

297
00:15:13,860 --> 00:15:16,380
and relationships correctly.

298
00:15:16,380 --> 00:15:18,390
I see a lot of people

299
00:15:18,390 --> 00:15:23,390
just kind of work on a verbal
arrangement kind of basis.

300
00:15:24,750 --> 00:15:27,570
It's a recipe for problems.

301
00:15:27,570 --> 00:15:29,070
And then I see people

302
00:15:29,070 --> 00:15:31,830
not thinking about their exit strategy.

303
00:15:31,830 --> 00:15:35,040
So if you're gonna start a
company right from the beginning,

304
00:15:35,040 --> 00:15:36,360
you should be thinking about

305
00:15:36,360 --> 00:15:39,480
how are you gonna exit the company.

306
00:15:39,480 --> 00:15:43,380
And that really colors
how you set things up

307
00:15:43,380 --> 00:15:45,090
from the beginning.

308
00:15:45,090 --> 00:15:49,470
A company is worth a lot more
money and is valued higher

309
00:15:49,470 --> 00:15:52,380
if you do certain things
all along the way.

310
00:15:52,380 --> 00:15:55,410
So, that's like an ongoing responsibility

311
00:15:55,410 --> 00:15:56,430
that the company has.

312
00:15:56,430 --> 00:15:58,560
It needs to document its contracts,

313
00:15:58,560 --> 00:16:03,330
it needs to have corporate
governance cleaned up.

314
00:16:03,330 --> 00:16:06,180
It needs to have its
financial records cleaned up

315
00:16:06,180 --> 00:16:08,880
and then it'll be worth
a higher purchase price,

316
00:16:08,880 --> 00:16:11,020
which is really the goal for most people

317
00:16:11,020 --> 00:16:15,843
when they sell their company,
get the maximum value.

318
00:16:17,130 --> 00:16:20,160
- I'm so glad you brought
that up and that is,

319
00:16:20,160 --> 00:16:23,580
starting a business, the
focus is getting it going.

320
00:16:23,580 --> 00:16:25,590
And I would think that they'll say,

321
00:16:25,590 --> 00:16:30,590
that's in the distant future
and you're encouraging us.

322
00:16:30,690 --> 00:16:31,890
Don't put that off.

323
00:16:31,890 --> 00:16:36,390
Be thinking now what that
exit strategy would be.

324
00:16:36,390 --> 00:16:40,380
I get into exit strategies
from the people side.

325
00:16:40,380 --> 00:16:45,150
How are you preparing the team
to assume what you're doing

326
00:16:45,150 --> 00:16:48,720
when you decide to move
on to something else?

327
00:16:48,720 --> 00:16:51,630
You're describing preparing them legally

328
00:16:51,630 --> 00:16:54,540
and operationally for the same thing.

329
00:16:54,540 --> 00:16:55,383
- Exactly.

330
00:16:59,790 --> 00:17:04,180
- You therefore are
getting calls from clients

331
00:17:05,459 --> 00:17:08,730
you said you're not an employment lawyer,

332
00:17:08,730 --> 00:17:12,030
but you've worked with
lots of employment lawyers.

333
00:17:12,030 --> 00:17:14,490
Do you find that when issues arise,

334
00:17:14,490 --> 00:17:17,433
it automatically requires
an employment lawyer?

335
00:17:19,740 --> 00:17:23,910
- Sadly these days, the way our country is

336
00:17:23,910 --> 00:17:26,670
and how litigious everything is

337
00:17:26,670 --> 00:17:30,100
and how much motion is
wrapped up in employment

338
00:17:31,830 --> 00:17:33,600
I would say most of the time, yes,

339
00:17:33,600 --> 00:17:38,600
because it's just an area that
is so ripe for legal problems

340
00:17:39,900 --> 00:17:43,530
and unfortunately employees feel emotional

341
00:17:43,530 --> 00:17:47,040
about their situation and
the employer or manager

342
00:17:47,040 --> 00:17:50,190
also feel emotional about their role

343
00:17:50,190 --> 00:17:52,770
so it's a very highly charged issue.

344
00:17:52,770 --> 00:17:56,880
And every state's laws are so different

345
00:17:56,880 --> 00:18:00,853
that you really need
someone who is experienced

346
00:18:00,853 --> 00:18:03,120
in that one area.

347
00:18:03,120 --> 00:18:06,810
Like I would not trust a
lawyer who does real estate

348
00:18:06,810 --> 00:18:10,800
and employment law and
wills and personal injury.

349
00:18:10,800 --> 00:18:13,983
And by the way, also contracts.

350
00:18:14,850 --> 00:18:19,850
Illegal is extremely hyper
concentrated in expertise

351
00:18:21,090 --> 00:18:24,030
and especially an area
like employment law.

352
00:18:24,030 --> 00:18:27,720
Someone who does not practice
in that area all the time

353
00:18:27,720 --> 00:18:31,020
is not gonna have the
knowledge that you would need

354
00:18:31,020 --> 00:18:35,010
to support your business the right way.

355
00:18:35,010 --> 00:18:39,150
It's not a ad hoc kind of law practice.

356
00:18:39,150 --> 00:18:41,790
- Yes, one thing we did not talk about,

357
00:18:41,790 --> 00:18:44,657
but it goes back to when
you're starting your business

358
00:18:44,657 --> 00:18:48,990
and that is, where should
you register your business?

359
00:18:48,990 --> 00:18:52,348
I get the sense that there's
oftentimes a lot of confusion

360
00:18:52,348 --> 00:18:55,110
on that one topic.

361
00:18:55,110 --> 00:18:56,730
Can you kind of elaborate on that?

362
00:18:56,730 --> 00:18:58,530
- Yeah, all the time.

363
00:18:58,530 --> 00:19:01,410
People Google and get their
legal advice from Google

364
00:19:01,410 --> 00:19:05,100
way too many times, and
then they read up and say,

365
00:19:05,100 --> 00:19:09,630
Oh, Delaware or Nevada or whatever state

366
00:19:09,630 --> 00:19:13,410
is the latest cool place
to register your company.

367
00:19:13,410 --> 00:19:18,410
And unfortunately, it's
kind of a BS kind of advice.

368
00:19:21,000 --> 00:19:22,710
The place to register your company

369
00:19:22,710 --> 00:19:25,260
is where it's gonna make its money

370
00:19:25,260 --> 00:19:28,560
because if I'm doing business in Georgia,

371
00:19:28,560 --> 00:19:32,880
for example, and I register
my company in Delaware,

372
00:19:32,880 --> 00:19:35,880
I'm creating a new legal
person in Delaware,

373
00:19:35,880 --> 00:19:39,510
a legal entity is considered
a person under the law.

374
00:19:39,510 --> 00:19:42,660
So that person before
they can conduct business

375
00:19:42,660 --> 00:19:47,263
in Georgia must register
in Georgia as a foreign LLC

376
00:19:48,180 --> 00:19:49,620
or a foreign corporation.

377
00:19:49,620 --> 00:19:53,820
So now you have to maintain
two different registrations

378
00:19:53,820 --> 00:19:58,020
and pay two different
registration fees, taxes,

379
00:19:58,020 --> 00:20:01,800
and be aware of the laws
of two different states

380
00:20:01,800 --> 00:20:03,693
for absolutely no reason.

381
00:20:05,370 --> 00:20:08,220
I get this question all the time

382
00:20:08,220 --> 00:20:10,710
especially when somebody's thinking

383
00:20:10,710 --> 00:20:15,148
I am going to sell to VC and
I'm going to become public,

384
00:20:15,148 --> 00:20:17,400
and all of those things are great,

385
00:20:17,400 --> 00:20:21,510
and maybe it's true that
for certain kind of plans,

386
00:20:21,510 --> 00:20:23,280
it is good to have a corporation

387
00:20:23,280 --> 00:20:26,400
and it may be required by investors,

388
00:20:26,400 --> 00:20:30,360
certain investors that it
be registered in Delaware,

389
00:20:30,360 --> 00:20:34,980
but you need to talk about it with a CPA

390
00:20:34,980 --> 00:20:37,590
because at the startup stage

391
00:20:37,590 --> 00:20:40,470
there may be more tax advantages

392
00:20:40,470 --> 00:20:43,440
to forming in your local jurisdiction.

393
00:20:43,440 --> 00:20:47,730
And then when that incredible
investor comes along

394
00:20:47,730 --> 00:20:50,460
and demands that you be in Delaware,

395
00:20:50,460 --> 00:20:53,400
you can transfer your entity to Delaware,

396
00:20:53,400 --> 00:20:54,990
you can convert your entity

397
00:20:54,990 --> 00:20:59,190
to whatever is important at the time.

398
00:20:59,190 --> 00:21:04,190
So I wouldn't do something for
some future potential event

399
00:21:04,320 --> 00:21:06,540
that may or may never happen

400
00:21:06,540 --> 00:21:08,760
because you can always make changes.

401
00:21:08,760 --> 00:21:11,640
It's not set in stone what you do today.

402
00:21:11,640 --> 00:21:14,220
You can convert your legal
entity to another state,

403
00:21:14,220 --> 00:21:17,010
you can convert it from
a corporation to an LLC

404
00:21:17,010 --> 00:21:18,540
and vice versa.

405
00:21:18,540 --> 00:21:21,600
You can change the name of
it, you can just do a lot.

406
00:21:21,600 --> 00:21:23,580
There's a lot more flexibility.

407
00:21:23,580 --> 00:21:28,580
So I always advise to start
with close to home, make it

408
00:21:29,238 --> 00:21:34,238
usually LLCs because they
are the most flexible entity

409
00:21:34,560 --> 00:21:37,560
and you can elect to be
taxed as a corporation

410
00:21:37,560 --> 00:21:40,980
or taxed as a partnership
or taxed as whatever.

411
00:21:40,980 --> 00:21:45,980
People don't always understand
that S corp and C corp

412
00:21:46,590 --> 00:21:50,910
and LLC are not related to the same thing.

413
00:21:50,910 --> 00:21:55,410
Tax status and legal entity
are not the same thing.

414
00:21:55,410 --> 00:21:59,100
So it's confusing and even
accountants don't talk about it

415
00:21:59,100 --> 00:22:04,100
the right way a lot of times
and LLC is very flexible.

416
00:22:04,290 --> 00:22:07,260
You should form your LLC to start with

417
00:22:07,260 --> 00:22:08,580
in the state where you live

418
00:22:08,580 --> 00:22:10,410
and where you're gonna make money

419
00:22:10,410 --> 00:22:13,470
and then you can change your tax status.

420
00:22:13,470 --> 00:22:16,380
You can have your LLC
taxed in a different way,

421
00:22:16,380 --> 00:22:19,770
if that's appropriate, and
when that becomes appropriate.

422
00:22:19,770 --> 00:22:22,470
And then you can convert it to Delaware

423
00:22:22,470 --> 00:22:25,560
if some multimillion dollar
investment opportunity

424
00:22:25,560 --> 00:22:27,330
comes along your way and you're like,

425
00:22:27,330 --> 00:22:29,013
you have to have a Delaware.

426
00:22:31,440 --> 00:22:33,330
- For folks who listen to this podcast,

427
00:22:33,330 --> 00:22:36,720
they probably recognize
none of the questions

428
00:22:36,720 --> 00:22:40,080
that I'm asking you or
giving to you in advance.

429
00:22:40,080 --> 00:22:42,300
Quite frankly, I don't
know many of the questions

430
00:22:42,300 --> 00:22:43,770
because they're based
on the kinds of things

431
00:22:43,770 --> 00:22:45,330
that you're sharing with us.

432
00:22:45,330 --> 00:22:48,570
Boy, this has been very
informative thus far.

433
00:22:48,570 --> 00:22:51,450
You've had an opportunity to
work in a corporate setting.

434
00:22:51,450 --> 00:22:54,690
You now work with your own law firm,

435
00:22:54,690 --> 00:22:57,510
working with businesses
and helping them start

436
00:22:57,510 --> 00:23:00,330
helping them grow, help
them deal with issues

437
00:23:00,330 --> 00:23:03,450
that kind of come along with that.

438
00:23:03,450 --> 00:23:05,220
Can you share an example

439
00:23:05,220 --> 00:23:09,060
where perhaps either you
or a client got stuck

440
00:23:09,060 --> 00:23:12,033
and when that happened, what
did it take to get unstuck?

441
00:23:13,680 --> 00:23:14,793
- That's a tough one.

442
00:23:17,220 --> 00:23:18,980
I'm dealing with a matter now

443
00:23:18,980 --> 00:23:21,180
or I just finished
dealing with a matter now

444
00:23:21,180 --> 00:23:25,710
where I had a client
who started a business

445
00:23:25,710 --> 00:23:29,010
right before Covid and
it was very successful

446
00:23:29,010 --> 00:23:33,510
and then Covid hit and it
almost tanked his business.

447
00:23:33,510 --> 00:23:36,090
He was on the verge of filing bankruptcy.

448
00:23:36,090 --> 00:23:40,560
He was this close to
walking away with nothing.

449
00:23:40,560 --> 00:23:43,050
And then as we started
recovering from Covid,

450
00:23:43,050 --> 00:23:44,940
he got a great offer.

451
00:23:44,940 --> 00:23:48,390
Somebody came and offered
him a few million dollars

452
00:23:48,390 --> 00:23:49,560
to buy him out.

453
00:23:49,560 --> 00:23:54,560
So he was super excited and as we started,

454
00:23:55,950 --> 00:23:59,820
I started working with
him on that transaction.

455
00:23:59,820 --> 00:24:04,130
He became very attached, he
became stuck to this deal

456
00:24:04,130 --> 00:24:09,130
and unfortunately, the other
party was kind of a bully,

457
00:24:09,240 --> 00:24:12,630
in a lot of ways, very inflexible,

458
00:24:12,630 --> 00:24:15,420
very like trying to force their terms

459
00:24:15,420 --> 00:24:17,280
and he was so attached to the deal.

460
00:24:17,280 --> 00:24:22,280
He was so stuck on this
mental idea that I came

461
00:24:22,530 --> 00:24:25,350
and this Covid thing could hit me again.

462
00:24:25,350 --> 00:24:29,370
I could be faced with the idea
of walking away with nothing

463
00:24:29,370 --> 00:24:31,383
or I can take this deal.

464
00:24:32,280 --> 00:24:35,460
And he was so pressured

465
00:24:35,460 --> 00:24:39,330
and he just started conceding
to everything they wanted,

466
00:24:39,330 --> 00:24:41,580
even though he didn't need to.

467
00:24:41,580 --> 00:24:45,300
His company was already doing well again.

468
00:24:45,300 --> 00:24:49,800
And he could have also
marketed the company

469
00:24:49,800 --> 00:24:52,710
to other potential buyers
and gotten other offers,

470
00:24:52,710 --> 00:24:54,090
but he didn't.

471
00:24:54,090 --> 00:24:58,200
He was so attached to this one
offer and just stuck with it.

472
00:24:58,200 --> 00:25:02,883
And they pretty much abused
him during the process.

473
00:25:03,720 --> 00:25:08,720
And it was so bad because he
was also supposed to stay on

474
00:25:10,830 --> 00:25:15,830
for a few years in an employment
capacity after the sale.

475
00:25:17,280 --> 00:25:20,490
And at the end of the deal
when he was signing it

476
00:25:20,490 --> 00:25:24,030
and he was like, the way they treated me,

477
00:25:24,030 --> 00:25:26,140
I cannot wait to quit

478
00:25:28,440 --> 00:25:31,290
but he was obligated to to continue.

479
00:25:31,290 --> 00:25:36,290
And so it was very, very poor
decision making along the way

480
00:25:36,510 --> 00:25:39,780
that led him to this
position of being stuck

481
00:25:39,780 --> 00:25:43,620
and not knowing how to get out of it.

482
00:25:43,620 --> 00:25:48,380
So that was my, hopefully
not a very good example, but.

483
00:25:48,380 --> 00:25:51,060
- I beg to differ, I think
it's an excellent example.

484
00:25:51,060 --> 00:25:54,900
Whereas your client kind
of got stuck to an idea.

485
00:25:54,900 --> 00:25:56,040
- Yeah.

486
00:25:56,040 --> 00:25:59,100
- And latching onto that idea,

487
00:25:59,100 --> 00:26:03,690
it really compromised him and his position

488
00:26:03,690 --> 00:26:05,640
and it kind of tainted the whole process.

489
00:26:05,640 --> 00:26:06,990
- It really did.

490
00:26:06,990 --> 00:26:11,610
And he had me as an advisor
and I tried to do my best,

491
00:26:11,610 --> 00:26:14,730
but he really should have
also had other advisors

492
00:26:14,730 --> 00:26:16,830
besides myself.

493
00:26:16,830 --> 00:26:19,440
I'm just a lawyer, I do words.

494
00:26:19,440 --> 00:26:23,610
He needed advice from
a financial standpoint.

495
00:26:23,610 --> 00:26:26,880
He needed advice from like
an operational standpoint

496
00:26:26,880 --> 00:26:31,800
or like some really more like
an industry kind of advice

497
00:26:31,800 --> 00:26:34,320
because he was mentally stuck to the idea

498
00:26:34,320 --> 00:26:37,800
that he wouldn't be able
to find another buyer.

499
00:26:37,800 --> 00:26:39,900
And I don't think that that's true,

500
00:26:39,900 --> 00:26:42,963
but I don't have the expertise
to convince him of that.

501
00:26:44,368 --> 00:26:46,980
So yeah, he should have
invested in other advisors.

502
00:26:46,980 --> 00:26:50,760
He could have come up with a
much better potentially deal

503
00:26:50,760 --> 00:26:51,813
than he did.

504
00:26:53,340 --> 00:26:56,910
- Tanya, you would be
known as a trusted advisor.

505
00:26:56,910 --> 00:26:58,920
You've already mentioned the importance

506
00:26:58,920 --> 00:27:03,425
of having someone advise from
an accounting perspective.

507
00:27:03,425 --> 00:27:08,425
When you're working with
entrepreneurs and they ask,

508
00:27:09,427 --> 00:27:11,760
"who should I surround myself with,

509
00:27:11,760 --> 00:27:14,430
who should my advisors be?"

510
00:27:14,430 --> 00:27:16,230
How do you respond to that question?

511
00:27:17,310 --> 00:27:18,300
- Very good question,

512
00:27:18,300 --> 00:27:20,643
'cause I just had this
conversation yesterday.

513
00:27:21,570 --> 00:27:26,570
So I always advise my clients
to have a business attorney

514
00:27:26,970 --> 00:27:30,536
like myself who is experienced
with small business

515
00:27:30,536 --> 00:27:34,870
and transactional issues, but
from a practical perspective

516
00:27:35,760 --> 00:27:40,760
and a CPA who is not just
someone who fills out tax forms

517
00:27:41,940 --> 00:27:46,680
but does planning that
works with small businesses

518
00:27:46,680 --> 00:27:50,110
and advise them on how
to plan and save money

519
00:27:50,970 --> 00:27:53,340
and like a financial person,

520
00:27:53,340 --> 00:27:55,350
whether from their personal life,

521
00:27:55,350 --> 00:27:58,300
like a financial advisor
for their personal life

522
00:27:58,300 --> 00:28:02,032
and maybe like a CFO
type person who can help

523
00:28:02,032 --> 00:28:04,770
manage all the financial stuff.

524
00:28:04,770 --> 00:28:05,943
Those are the minimum.

525
00:28:07,175 --> 00:28:10,650
And, of course there's all
kinds of different advisors

526
00:28:10,650 --> 00:28:13,320
and consultants and coaches
on the operational side

527
00:28:13,320 --> 00:28:16,770
and the sales side and the
HR side and everything else.

528
00:28:16,770 --> 00:28:19,320
But I think the minimum
are these financial

529
00:28:19,320 --> 00:28:22,590
and legal advisors who have a big picture

530
00:28:22,590 --> 00:28:23,823
and who are neutral.

531
00:28:25,410 --> 00:28:29,400
We are not gonna be affected
if your business succeeds

532
00:28:29,400 --> 00:28:30,233
or fails.

533
00:28:30,233 --> 00:28:34,770
We're giving you our best advice
based on our own knowledge

534
00:28:34,770 --> 00:28:38,760
and it's like a neutral point of view

535
00:28:38,760 --> 00:28:42,003
that is not invested
in the business itself.

536
00:28:43,860 --> 00:28:48,860
- You came out of working
in very large organizations,

537
00:28:50,390 --> 00:28:54,750
I too came out of working
for very large organizations.

538
00:28:54,750 --> 00:28:56,799
You've chosen and I have chosen

539
00:28:56,799 --> 00:29:01,080
to work with "small to
medium size businesses."

540
00:29:01,080 --> 00:29:04,800
When I tell friends that that's
who I prefer to work with,

541
00:29:04,800 --> 00:29:06,630
I find that they sometimes
scratch their head,

542
00:29:06,630 --> 00:29:10,500
Why would you choose a smaller business?

543
00:29:10,500 --> 00:29:14,790
For me, my response is
because I get to work with

544
00:29:14,790 --> 00:29:17,610
the decision maker most typically,

545
00:29:17,610 --> 00:29:20,020
and therefore decisions are made quicker

546
00:29:21,360 --> 00:29:24,870
and oftentimes are better because of that.

547
00:29:24,870 --> 00:29:26,497
But when people say,

548
00:29:26,497 --> 00:29:29,970
"Well, why did you choose
to begin working with

549
00:29:29,970 --> 00:29:32,730
and continue working small
to mid-size businesses"

550
00:29:32,730 --> 00:29:37,730
what's the appeal to you as a
lawyer with your own law firm?

551
00:29:39,375 --> 00:29:40,407
- In a lot of ways,

552
00:29:40,407 --> 00:29:44,100
the big humongous companies
are very set in their ways

553
00:29:44,100 --> 00:29:49,100
and they have already huge law
departments full of lawyers

554
00:29:49,410 --> 00:29:51,600
who do the day to day legal stuff.

555
00:29:51,600 --> 00:29:52,893
So they don't need me.

556
00:29:53,880 --> 00:29:57,810
I like helping people
because I can see the results

557
00:29:57,810 --> 00:30:01,701
of my help in real life
and it makes me feel good

558
00:30:01,701 --> 00:30:05,640
to have helped someone that
otherwise wouldn't have it.

559
00:30:05,640 --> 00:30:06,933
That's pretty much it.

560
00:30:07,950 --> 00:30:11,010
- A lawyer is saying,
it makes me feel good.

561
00:30:11,010 --> 00:30:13,050
You're tapping into something

562
00:30:13,050 --> 00:30:15,930
I know lawyers get a
bad rep left and right

563
00:30:15,930 --> 00:30:17,550
until they meet you.

564
00:30:17,550 --> 00:30:21,990
They can see aspects of what
you bring to a relationship.

565
00:30:21,990 --> 00:30:25,530
As you kind of reflect
on this conversation,

566
00:30:25,530 --> 00:30:28,170
what do you hope our viewers and listeners

567
00:30:28,170 --> 00:30:29,763
have as takeaways?

568
00:30:32,280 --> 00:30:36,330
- I know that lawyers, everybody
says they hate lawyers,

569
00:30:36,330 --> 00:30:38,193
but they love their lawyer.

570
00:30:39,330 --> 00:30:44,330
So, we have a bad rep
generally, but not individually,

571
00:30:45,390 --> 00:30:48,000
I guess is the way.

572
00:30:48,000 --> 00:30:51,390
The takeaway I think is to pay attention

573
00:30:51,390 --> 00:30:53,223
to the boring stuff.

574
00:30:54,120 --> 00:30:56,940
The marketing and the branding
are all exciting and fun

575
00:30:56,940 --> 00:30:59,130
and sales are exciting and fun,

576
00:30:59,130 --> 00:31:02,430
but without the solid
foundation and the structure

577
00:31:02,430 --> 00:31:04,050
and the neutrality

578
00:31:04,050 --> 00:31:07,680
brought by the financial
and the legal side,

579
00:31:07,680 --> 00:31:12,680
you only have a very
biased view of the company.

580
00:31:13,620 --> 00:31:18,480
It's having the good
foundations, the solid advice,

581
00:31:18,480 --> 00:31:21,480
not advice you necessarily want to hear

582
00:31:21,480 --> 00:31:25,230
is probably the most
valuable advice sometimes.

583
00:31:25,230 --> 00:31:29,370
You have to be surrounded
by people who are not afraid

584
00:31:29,370 --> 00:31:34,080
to say the truth that
you may not wanna hear.

585
00:31:34,080 --> 00:31:37,142
And that's a mark of good leadership

586
00:31:37,142 --> 00:31:40,833
and that's what would help success.

587
00:31:41,730 --> 00:31:43,280
- Hmm, that's beautifully said.

588
00:31:44,910 --> 00:31:47,077
As folks have been listening,
they may be saying,

589
00:31:47,077 --> 00:31:49,050
"Gosh, I'd like to learn a little more.

590
00:31:49,050 --> 00:31:51,840
How do I contact Tanya?"

591
00:31:51,840 --> 00:31:54,780
What's the best way for
folks to reach out to you?

592
00:31:54,780 --> 00:31:58,440
- Thank you, I'm available,
I'm very active on LinkedIn.

593
00:31:58,440 --> 00:32:00,630
I enjoy sharing my content on LinkedIn,

594
00:32:00,630 --> 00:32:02,340
so look me up on there.

595
00:32:02,340 --> 00:32:05,640
I have a website, osenskylaw.com.

596
00:32:05,640 --> 00:32:09,210
You can email me tanya@osenskylaw.com.

597
00:32:09,210 --> 00:32:13,080
Or call me (404) 369-5126.

598
00:32:14,040 --> 00:32:15,660
- We even put the phone number in there.

599
00:32:15,660 --> 00:32:18,030
Now, by the way, spell Osensky please.

600
00:32:18,030 --> 00:32:21,900
- O-S-E-N-S-K-Y.

601
00:32:21,900 --> 00:32:22,733
- Okay.

602
00:32:22,733 --> 00:32:26,160
We will obviously
include in the show notes

603
00:32:26,160 --> 00:32:29,130
your LinkedIn profile, your website,

604
00:32:29,130 --> 00:32:30,780
and other contact information.

605
00:32:30,780 --> 00:32:32,070
Matter of fact, that's how you and I

606
00:32:32,070 --> 00:32:34,050
first came across each other.

607
00:32:34,050 --> 00:32:35,463
It was via LinkedIn.

608
00:32:35,463 --> 00:32:36,296
- Yes.

609
00:32:36,296 --> 00:32:37,665
- And I loved your post.

610
00:32:37,665 --> 00:32:38,498
- Thank you.

611
00:32:38,498 --> 00:32:42,330
- I just find them so
refreshing as a business owner,

612
00:32:42,330 --> 00:32:45,060
I glean from your posts.

613
00:32:45,060 --> 00:32:47,350
So for those who reach out and connect,

614
00:32:47,350 --> 00:32:51,240
you have an opportunity
to see Tanya's post

615
00:32:51,240 --> 00:32:53,430
on a more regular basis.

616
00:32:53,430 --> 00:32:54,263
- Thanks Mike.

617
00:32:54,263 --> 00:32:55,096
Thanks so much.

618
00:32:55,096 --> 00:32:55,983
That warms my heart.

619
00:32:57,390 --> 00:32:59,133
- Thank you for being a guest.

620
00:33:00,990 --> 00:33:02,550
- Thank you so much for having me.

621
00:33:02,550 --> 00:33:04,770
I really enjoyed our discussion.

622
00:33:04,770 --> 00:33:05,910
- Well, I've enjoyed it as well.

623
00:33:05,910 --> 00:33:10,320
I also wanna thank our
listeners for joining us today.

624
00:33:10,320 --> 00:33:13,380
We upload the latest
episode every Thursday

625
00:33:13,380 --> 00:33:17,430
to all the major platforms,
including Apple and Spotify.

626
00:33:17,430 --> 00:33:20,580
So if you've enjoyed
this episode with Tanya,

627
00:33:20,580 --> 00:33:21,723
please subscribe.

628
00:33:22,620 --> 00:33:24,810
Now I have a question for our listeners.

629
00:33:24,810 --> 00:33:27,090
Are you trying to grow your business

630
00:33:27,090 --> 00:33:29,580
and you wanna make sure
you've got the right people

631
00:33:29,580 --> 00:33:31,590
process and planning systems in place

632
00:33:31,590 --> 00:33:33,960
so that you can grow smoothly?

633
00:33:33,960 --> 00:33:36,180
If yes, let's talk.

634
00:33:36,180 --> 00:33:38,160
Head over to unstuck.show

635
00:33:38,160 --> 00:33:41,460
and schedule a quick non-sales call.

636
00:33:41,460 --> 00:33:43,560
We'll talk about your growth goals

637
00:33:43,560 --> 00:33:46,890
and explore practical steps
that you can take immediately

638
00:33:46,890 --> 00:33:48,780
to grow your business.

639
00:33:48,780 --> 00:33:50,970
So I wanna thank you for joining us

640
00:33:50,970 --> 00:33:54,330
and I hope you have picked
up on some tips from Tanya

641
00:33:54,330 --> 00:33:58,170
that will help you get
unstuck and on target.

642
00:33:58,170 --> 00:33:59,572
Until next time.

643
00:33:59,572 --> 00:34:02,155
(bright music)

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