With decades of experience guiding businesses, our team of attorneys understands the opportunities and concerns that come with starting a new venture. As your trusted advisors, we craft unique solutions that fit your needs and protect your business, ideas, and personal assets.
Who needs us?
Rapp & Krock is committed to serving those individuals and small to mid-sized businesses who are looking to facilitate successful business transactions, desire to protect their rights as much as possible, solve their business problems, and help them plan for the future. There can be a lot of unknowns to a business whenever when starting a new business, but whether this is your first business venture or one of many, Rapp & Krock can help businesses and business owners identify these unknowns and find effective solutions to a variety of situations.
What is a business owner?
Every business will have one or more business owners who not only create the business, but also share in its profits, develop the direction for the business, and plan for its future. Business owners not only control the business, but they also must work with other business owners, if the business has multiple owners, and protect the business from possible situations that can affect the ownership of the business. It’s important for business owners to understand their agreements with their co-owners (which is usually the governing document called Bylaws for a Corporation or an LLC Agreement for an LLC) and to understand potential future events that can affect the ownership of the business (such as the death or disability of an owner, the divorce of an owner, etc.). Rapp & Krock can help navigate these issues with business owners and protect their interests amongst themselves as well as potential future events.
How do you want your business to grow?
Growing a business can be both exciting and daunting for a business owner. But growth can mean different things to different people. Some may view a business’ growth as expanding offices and employees, or adding new business owners and management to the business. Others may view growth as targeting and securing a new customer base and market, or expanding into new and different product lines. However, growth is measured though, business owners need to understand the necessity of protecting a growing business from new and different problems that may arise. Rapp & Krock can help identify potential issues before they arise and help develop creative solutions to ensure that the business and its owners are taken care of while the business grows.
Relationships with co-owners
The initial ownership group of a company is key to its beginning success, from the sweat equity and funding that they bring to the table, to their experience and connections to help the company grow. Unfortunately, the different strengths and resources that are so useful at the beginning of the company are a common source of dispute later on. It is critical to establish agreed-upon roles and responsibilities among the owners, and a non-confrontational way to resolve disputes and reduce tension before potential issues become unmanageable. Rapp & Krock can assist your partners in walking through options and strategies for improving the long-term health of your ownership group.
How to protect your ideas
The value of a new company usually consists of intangible assets, from the knowledge and skills that its owners have, to the ideas, plans, and connections that they have created. Those intangible assets should be protected at all levels of the business, from implementing confidentiality agreements with employees and vendors, securing ownership of the assets as they are developed, and filing for trademark or copyright protections when appropriate. Rapp & Krock can help companies evaluate the risks to their intellectual property, and assist in crafting the necessary agreements and strategies to manage those risks.
Relationships with clients and vendors
The suppliers and customers of a business are crucial partners in its success. Too often, companies will neglect to properly structure and document these relationships, out of a desire to avoid asking too much, to avoid revealing too much about their business, or to avoid potentially jeopardizing a relationship that “works.” However, the best long-term relationships are built on defined expectations. Rapp & Krock can counsel you on how to document your agreements with your supply chain partners or critical customers, in order to forge strong and lasting ties.
What is a start-up?
A startup is simply a business at the beginning stages of operations, usually with a closely-held set of business owners who have identified and developed certain products or services to a market in need of such products or services. The biggest hurdle facing startups is capital – startups usually obtain capital through its founding owners, but it is common for startups to require additional capital to move to the next phases of a business’ life cycle. Rapp & Krock can help business owners in all aspects of a startup, including to create their startup company, identify and implement asset-protection strategies, plan for future risks, and help in various areas of need that startups inevitably encounter, such as finance, employment, intellectual property, real estate, succession planning, and acquisitions and dispositions.
Where do you want your business to go?
A business plan is key to a business’ success, but implementing certain aspects of a business plan can require legal considerations. Whether a business is looking to expand operations by purchasing or leasing property in a new city, hire new employees, conduct a capital raise or secure third party financing, register intellectual property, or look to acquire the business of a competitor, business transactions should begin with thoughtful legal considerations and should end with a tailored yet thorough legal documentation to ensure the business transaction is not only documented correctly, but also worded appropriately to protect the business and the business owners. Rapp & Krock can help business owners in the consideration and negotiation of business transactions as well as ensure that the business transaction aligns with the business owner’s plan.
How to fund your company
Every business is different, and every business owner has a different set of priorities. There is no single way to fund a business, but there are a variety of ways depending on the business owner’s goals. Funding a business can range from a business owner contributing capital personally to the business, getting bank loans, conducting private placements, to structuring convertible debt-to-equity loans. Understanding the pros and cons to each scenario of funding is essential in order to put the business in the best position to be successful and to protect the rights of the business owner, and Rapp & Krock is here to help any business owner understand these scenarios and implement those needed to facilitate the business’ success.
How to build your team
A successful startup business needs people both inside and outside the organization to work hand in hand. Inside the company, the owners and operational personnel should work together to implement their goals. Outside the company, advisors such as lawyers, accountants, insurance brokers, real estate agents, and others should be tapped to provide the internal stakeholders with the appropriate resources and support to allow them to focus on running the business and not on external matters. Rapp & Krock is able to advise on potential gaps in a company’s team of trusted advisors, and help the organization select and engage the appropriate additional resources to build a strong team.
How to protect your business
There are generally four different ways to protect your business operations: policies and procedures to prevent issues from arising; contractual terms to address expected and normal business concerns; insurance policies to handle unpredictable and unmanageably large risks; and structural protections to prevent potentially catastrophic issues from affecting your affiliates, other divisions, or even your personal assets. Rapp & Krock can help you understand the benefits and limitations of each type of protection, and advise you in crafting a customized strategy to understand the risks your business faces, and mitigate the potential downside of those risks.