It’s a watershed moment – you and your partners make the decision that it’s the right time to expand your company – to go from startup to scale up. Perhaps the most important things to factor in when you take this step are legal considerations. What should a legal department think about when a business is in its growth phase, and how can contract automation solutions assist? Let’s investigate.
Important considerations, in brief
- Keep all parties informed of progress with negotiations and internal or external discussions
- Take seriously how you manage people within your organization, especially during times of change
- Be aware of national and international real-estate markets and their legal implications
- Be attentive of all parties’ communication and document requirements during merger and acquisition processes
- Stay ahead of wage and tax requirements wherever you decide to trade, including new territories
Shared overview of growth plans
Your legal department will need to know what the long term plans are for your business – will you trade in more territories, or are your plans to expand so that you also have another base, in a different country? The latter can be a popular move for startups taking the next stage in their development, because there are countries where the hiring or economic climate might be more favorable, and where, for example, software engineers may be easier to bring in quickly.
If so, your legal team will need full clarity on hiring policies. Not only that, there is also a need to ensure that any recruitment taking place in a second country follows local laws. Such documents as employment contracts will most likely need to be checked through by a local law firm, and redrafted if necessary in order to comply fully with the relevant legislation. With all these changes happening behind the scenes, automated contracts clearly go a long way towards heading off any confusion, and a contract automation solution can be invaluable to all parties.
Talking of hiring and other people matters, does your company have a Human Resources department yet? Many startups choose to take the first phase of their journey with the founders acting as HR managers as well as CEO or CTO. While this is initially a good cost-saving step, by the time you get to around the 25-employee mark, or arguably earlier in some businesses, higher-level management is growing more distant from the rank-and-file staff. Additionally, issues related to training, workplace wellness, and performance reviewing may become too much for managers not qualified in HR to handle alongside the business of finding new investment and promoting their product to the wider world.
Hiring an HR department, and a parallel legal specialist or team, means that you take the uncertainty out of the transition from startup to scale up, and you take the stress out of matters such as contract lifecycle management.
👉 Take a look at our Employment Contract template
Automated contracts, such as those offered through contract automation solutions like Avokaado, mean that HR professionals, even if they are not legally trained, can, with limited and simple guidance, draft contracts for new employees, and automate the workflow around their drafting and signing. With repetitive tasks requiring attention to detail being fully automated, it means your HR and people specialists, whatever their background, can put more time into nurturing a healthy working environment and seeing to the training and resource needs of existing employees.
Real estate issues
How did you acquire the first office for your startup? The chances are, you and your fellow founders scoped out some premises in your local area, finding the property which you felt best suited the needs of you and the people around you. You may have even rented a room or some desks in a coworking space, a popular choice for new companies.
Whatever you chose for your first move, the second move is more challenging for everyone at the company. This is because when your headcount multiplies, you begin to need a more specialized workspace, where your people can interact seamlessly, but can also get their heads down and complete their tasks when the chips are down.
👉 Take a look at our Lease Agreement for Business Premises template
Finding real estate that makes perfect sense for your organization, negotiating the right price and conditions, and arranging the lease or purchase are matters that need your legal team to maintain their focus, and with the real estate market constantly fluctuating, it’s a situation that is likely to constantly change. For this reason, your legal specialists will benefit hugely from dealing with realtors and landlords using contract management solutions that help their efficiency, and speed up the deal, meaning your company can take the next steps in its growth phase.
Avokaado helps your organization accomplish this, with:
- Docx styles, meaning your templates have a corporate, professional appearance
- Visual, easy-to-follow approval and signing flows
- User groups that are simple for the user to create and manage
- An updated dashboard with statistics on deals, and the ability to see instantly which signing deadlines are most crucial and closest.
Sometimes the way forward for a company is not necessarily to grow alone – sometimes the best course of action might be a merger, an acquisition of another company, or to itself be bought. In each case, there will be action the legal department, or legal specialists, within your business will need to take decisively and precisely.
Due diligence is vital in any merger or acquisition process, on both sides. You want to make sure that your future partner will be the kind of organization that can be trusted if you are to sign up to a deal with it. That’s why you need your legal team to be in regular communication with the other side’s legal team, raising crucial questions and using contract management solutions in order to create a document that will be of mutual benefit in the venture.
Automated contracts mean a smoother merger or acquisition process for all concerned. This is accomplished by Avokaado through easily-customizable templates, and a drag-and-drop interface that works intuitively and lets you manage your contracts at the touch of a button, with no emails needed, and all signatures collected electronically.
Wage and tax considerations
We’ve already shown that your legal department will need to be sharp in order to handle the changing landscape when your company takes the steps to progress from startup to scale up, but there are additional issues to think about. One of these is the proper remuneration of your employees, and of any contractors you bring in as you grow. This is particularly the case if you are moving into new markets, where the law may be quite different to that which you have become accustomed to.
Automated contracts can help with this, as can carefully managed and efficient communication. It means that your legal specialists spend less time on clerical matters such as updating employees, investors, and tax authorities on your organization’s future plans, and more time on their core tasks. It also means your communication with authorities, including tax boards, in your own territory or a new place of business, can be greatly streamlined.
We have shown in this article some of the key areas of focus for legal specialists in a business that is attempting to make the transition from startup to scale up, or from the early stage to growth stage. While it may seem daunting at first, if you have shown the viability of your product in the market, and if you have built a team that works well together, you can take the next steps with confidence.
Attention to detail and effective communication to all parties can help enormously. This is where a contract management solution such as Avokaado can pay long-term dividends for your business.
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