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Starting a Startup? For Entrepreneurs and their Advisers

Startups are not for the fainthearted. It takes talent, ambition and persistence to add value and to be successful, whilst navigating the legal and compliance which often threaten to suppress the innovation. Some quick tips below for advisers of startups (like us!) and the entrepreneur founders themselves.

Business Knowledge

Once you familiarise yourself with how the startup is to operate, take time to study the strategies that key decision-makers (such as the CEO, executive team and department leaders) will utilise to drive the business forward, ensuring that you consider the risks from financial, operational and reputational perspectives. Don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in reading innovation, relevant industry and business articles, seeking further relevant professional development and listening to industry podcasts.

Building Relationships

An individual’s ability to proactively identify and resolve risks prior to any potential disasters occurring is critical. Not all organisations will have decision-making protocols, particularly if they are in their infancy. Be prepared for situations where it is unknown about whether and when to involve a professional advisers such as a lawyer, accountant or financial or business adviser in decision-making. Building professional and mutually beneficial relationships early is key in building trusted long term relationships and so that advisers can get to know the business in a more insightful way. Timely and relevant advice can then be provided regarding future decisions as and when they arise.

Delivering Solutions

A savvy startup adviser not only issue spots, but has the ability to effectively resolve such issues, which align with the startup’s legal, financial, operational and reputational needs. To build a true business partnership between startup and adviser, the adviser should brief the executive on issues that require attention, as well as offer proposed actionable solutions.

The Adaptable Generalist

Advisers to a startup generally receive any work that is legal, business, compliance or advice related. Be open to learning new things and expanding your horizons. For example, yesterday the startup needed advice with an insurance matter, today it is an employment matter, and tomorrow there may be agreements or disagreements between owners or directors of the startup.

You should reach out to your professional support network including mentors, classmates and fellow startup peers. Networking with other professionals and industry subject matter experts already working in the environment will hold you in good stead as an adviser or founder of a startup into the future.

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Insight Written by Meghan Warren

Contacts

Meghan Warren

Principal

Meghan Warren

Principal
LL.B GAICD B.Bus (FinPlan)
Meghan is one of the few lawyers in Australia admitted in the State (Victoria) and Federal jurisdictions of Australia, and as an Attorney at Law to the New York State Bar in the United States.

Kristy Muhlhan

Principal

Kristy Muhlhan

Principal
LL.B (Hons) GRAD DIP. L.P., GAICD.
Since 2014, she has been an owner and Principal of the firm and has mastered a broad range of essential commercial and business skills which go hand in hand with the work she does for...

Rosy Roberts

Principal

Rosy Roberts

Principal
LL.B (Hons) B.A GAICD
Rosy has extensive experience in Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution having represented clients in all Victorian State Courts and the High Court of Australia. She is also a VCAT appointed Administrator.

Elizabeth Ong

Special Counsel

Elizabeth Ong

Special Counsel
LL.B.(Hons) CLP GDLP
Elizabeth is committed to providing world class, comprehensive commercial solutions and corporate advice tailored to the best interests of her clients. She is fluent in written and verbal English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien and Malaysian languages.

George Hanger

Associate

George Hanger

Associate
LL.B BA
George was admitted to legal practice in May 2015 after completing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Laws at Monash University.

Stewart Davis

Associate

Stewart Davis

Associate
LL.B (Hons) B.Com
As well as property law, Stewart has had exposure to VCAT administration matters and commercial law, particularly servicing developer clients.

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