“Don’t just advise me. Fix what needs fixing!” “Don’t just treat me as another client. Invest yourself in my business as if it were your own!”
These statements are likely to be heard from a business owner who recognizes the need of sound legal assistance, whether it be an owner of a fairly new business or a well-established company looking to grow.
A seasoned business law firm with attorneys and a business specialist on staff who possess first-hand knowledge of what it takes to start, build and run businesses, having experienced and learned from the failures that come from building successful enterprises, can bring that “something extra” to the table for business clients.
A business owner may simply need restructuring of the operations to maximize profits, or he/she may have inherited a company that has an antiquated culture resistant to change. Even if the owner is aware of the issues, it is a challenge to make the changes needed to further the company while dealing with putting out the proverbial fires that occur daily.
What would a law firm with the credentials described above (“the Law Firm”) do to solve a business owner’s problem?
- First, the Law Firm’s business specialist would thoroughly evaluate the structure of the organization, its cash flow status, personnel, operations, financial controls and tools, marketing, customer relations, vendor (IT) services, its advisors, and in-place employer-employee policies/agreements.
- The business specialist would share such findings with the business attorneys on staff to develop a plan designed to address the specific needs of the business. Depending on the size and age of the business, the plan could include a lifespan of anywhere from three to twelve months.
- The proposed plan would then be presented to the business owner for a thorough review, as well as follow-up sessions to allow time for the owner to fully digest the recommendations and allow for modifications of the plan. Upon approval of the plan, a Letter of Engagement would be formed to stipulate the services to be provided over the course of the plan. The parties would agree to an initial retainer gauged for the work to be done in phases, with the understanding that the retainer would be replenished on an as needed and mutually agreed upon basis.
- The business specialist of the Law Firm would then become a prominent advisor taking the lead on restructuring the business as well as ensuring the business owner has a strong grasp on the business by teaching him/her how to “know their numbers.” This will allow the owner the ability to deploy new capital/structured debt to grow their business.
- In a phased manner, the business attorneys of the Law Firm would address the relevant legal matters, serving as the quarterback to the client’s other advisors to integrate the services of all the company advisors into the plan’s implementation in a collaborative and cost-efficient manner.
- Like any plan, changes will be required in both timing and substance due to the “reality on the ground.” Particular focus will be on the client’s cash flow and the reactions of the client and personnel to the significant changes in the company’s business culture that will be required to successfully implement the business plan.
The process described can be tailored to a myriad of business situations and challenges. It takes foresight and courage for any owner of a privately held business that needs the kind of help described in this article to agree to the expenditure required to underwrite this approach. However, with the assistance of the Law Firm with the credentials described, such as Rust Law LLC, the business owner will realize that the cost of this service pales in comparison to the costs incurred prior to the plan’s implementation. Moreover, he/she will know that the reorganized enterprise has staying power, capable of besting its competition for the foreseeable future.
Alicia E. Emili, Esq. – Mark Reese, Business Specialist – Robert N. Rust III, Esq.
RUST LAW LLC
If you are interested in discussing the contents of this article further, you are welcome to contact any of the co-authors at the offices of Rust Law, LLC at (610 821 0484).