Call me, maybe?

Innovative New Zealand businesses are taking on the world, launching globally competitive products and services, raising capital from overseas investors, and getting acquired by large multi-national corporations.

Technology has made starting a business much easier. Open source development tools and cloud-based hosting services have made it much cheaper to get a new product or service built and launched. Modern accounting tools like Xero make it possible to keep your finances in order. Online banking means your bills get paid on time and you can keep on top of your cashflow. The Companies Office even has an automated and streamlined online incorporation process. As a consequence, entrepreneurs in the startup phase feel very self-sufficient. The DIY attitude is part of what makes New Zealand companies so amazing to work with.

But, not so fast. There are some easily-avoided traps that I see entrepreneurs falling into over and over again. As a lawyer, it might seem like I have a vested interest in suggesting startup founders get professional advice early. But, the alternative is that they often end up paying people like me a lot more to clean up the mess later on, assuming that’s even possible.

In this article, I’ll discuss some things you should think about to make sure you are laying the right foundation for your startup. There are a few important choices that young companies can make early on that have significant consequences, particularly if you intend to raise money from external investors at some point in the future. If you follow this advice it should save you time and money, both by avoiding some obvious mistakes, and by giving you a good basic understanding to work from so that when you do decide to bring advisers on board you know what you need and what to ask for.

This is my advice about when to take advice.

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