Our Principal Lawyer and Director, Tania White is passionate about being a part of her client's team - she wants to know their business, be a part of their journey, someone that they trust and someone that they feel that they can pick up the phone to and have a chat.
Tania believes in transparency, open communication and collaboration.
Let's be honest, it is hard to FOCUS 100% of the time.
We all know the sayings: "starve your distractions, feed your focus", "focus on the outcome, not the obstacle".... unfortunately, motivational quotes don't always work in business.
What can work though is clearly articulating what your goals are, detailing a plan of how you will go about achieving those goals and taking a good, hard look at yourself to identify what's achievable and what you need help with.... that is, you need a BUSINESS PLAN!
If you have a written plan, it is easier to FOCUS on that plan. Distractions will arise, that's life. Obstacles will present themselves, that too is life. Having a clear plan will help you to focus and overcome those distractions and obstacles.
At the moment, many businesses are:
(a) finding themselves with time on their hands; or
(b) madly scrambling to pivot to new offerings.
In either case, a BUSINESS PLAN will assist. Do you have a plan in place? If not, why not?
I have been asked a couple of times recently about my WHY, HOW, WHO and WHAT?
Here is what I said:
I started Cross the T with a view to doing things differently - providing commercial legal advice and business consultancy services to start-ups and SMEs in a responsive, flexible and affordable manner.
Responsive: I get back to clients ASAP and keep them updated on progress.
Flexible - I know that small business owners aren’t working 9-5 days and so neither do I.
Affordable - I operate a lean practice with low overheads and can therefore keep my costs down. I offer fixed-fees so that clients have transparency and clarity at the outset.
I was close to leaving the law a few years ago on the back of extreme burn-out… but after some pretty extreme soul searching, I realised that the law makes me happy. Helping businesses to navigate the minefield which is the law makes me happy. Talking to engaged, enthusiastic and intelligent business people makes me happy. I love applying my analytical mind to complex problems and I love breaking difficult concepts down so that they’re digestible by all.
That's my why, my how, my when and my who..... what's yours?
No matter the nature of your start-up or small business, there are a range of common legal issues which you will need to turn your mind to.
These legal issues include:
Has the COVID-19 pandemic exposed gaps in your processes, procedures or work place policies?
Many businesses have found themselves exposed with the sudden onslaught of employees working from home; new ways of sharing data and information; increased health and safety obligations; different reporting obligations; and different ways of doing things....
Is your business well prepared to overcome the inevitable gap that the current circumstances have exposed?
Let Tania White or Barry White of Cross the T know if you would like to discuss your current processes, procedures and policies to identify what gaps exist and how you can overcome them (firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com).
Sometimes being in business is tough - and when I say "sometimes", I mean "always".
Some days it is difficult to drag yourself out of bed and to work.
It's difficult to find motivation to do what needs to be done rather than procrastinate.
It's difficult to turn your mind to those things that are in the "too hard basket".
I get it. I too am a business owner and it is TOUGH. We wear so many different hats all of the time.
We are continually pulled into a million different directions.
We lose sleep night in, night out worrying about what's around the corner.
It is tough... but we DO IT ANYWAY.
I do it because I have a passion for what I do. I also love being a strong, determined, role model for my kids. I love supporting my clients and I hate feeling like I have ever let anyone down.
What motivates you to get up, get in and get it done?
So you're thinking about SCALING YOUR BUSINESS?
Are you ready to scale? Are your foundations right? Your growth may come quickly and so you need to make sure you’re ready before you start.
What’s right for you and your business? Growth isn’t for everyone and every business – make the right decisions for you.
Scaling can be dangerous if it happens too fast - growing in size and revenue before the business is ready, over investing in resources and not creating solid foundations as required to support the growth can create disastrous outcomes.
If you decide that scaling is the right move for you, create the right mindset, make sure your team is ready, determine what your core competencies are (what makes your business successful?), collaborate with the right advisors, employees and mentors and ensure that your foundations are correct.
Is your existing legal structure adequate, appropriate and robust enough to support your anticipated growth? If and when you get financial injections (be that via third-party investments or otherwise), you will need to consider the deal structures and payment requirements.
The key takeaway: get the basics right before scaling. The basics can be tedious and no where near as sexy as launching a new brand, new product line or service offering, but scaling before getting the basics right could be a major flop, produce mediocre growth or set you up to fail.
I've heard that Warren Buffet (who we all know is one of the world's greatest business magnates, investors and philanthropists) was once asked to define risk. Instead of going into chapter and verse, his answer was simple:
Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing...
Now, you would be hard pressed to find a contract or a commercial deal in which the parties are not exposed to some degree of risk. In my mind, that doesn't mean that the parties don't know what they are doing, it's the nature of business. However, if the parties cannot or do not identify and address those risks, then they may just fall into the category of not knowing what they're doing.
That is why it is imperative to conduct an effective and accurate assessment of all contractual risks at the outset.
Risk analysis is about developing an understanding of the risks posed. It considers the types of risks, the sources of risk, their potential positive and negative consequences and the likelihood that those consequences will occur.
The purpose of risk evaluation is to understand the outcomes of the risk analysis and to make decisions about which risks need treatment and what your priorities should be.
There are a range of ways in which to address risk and its treatment... the treatment option which is closest to my heart as a lawyer is that of legal risk transference – the act of transferring the relevant risk to your contractual counterparty. Alas, legal risk transference is not always an option, or may not always be the most commercial option.
Other methods for treating risks include:
Don’t put your head in the sand around risks, it won’t make them go away, it just means that you’re unprepared when they come to pass.
You're looking to buy a business - are you getting a bargain or are you setting yourself up for a ‘deep pocket’ experience…..financial due diligence (DD) is a critical phase of the entire due diligence process that should be undertaken.
You need to focus on:
Multiple years of audited financials (P&L and Balance Sheet), EBITDA forecasts/projections, aged receivables & payables, cashflow, capital spend, employee provisions, asset register….this list goes on and on.
Not sure where to start? Ask Barry White of Cross The T today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
In the business world, joint ventures really can be described as a great business love story.
Joint ventures offer the joint venturing partners a range of benefits including:
While joint ventures can offer great rewards to the joint venturing partners in the right circumstances, they are not without risk.
That's why it is imperative that the joint venture arrangements are appropriately discussed and documented at the outset of the relationship, while love is young, optimism reigns supreme and the roses smell sweet.