Protect Your Business: An Interview with Tamara Young of Consign Couture
Talking Business with Consign Couture:
As experienced litigators, we've helped our clients resolve all kinds of business disputes. Often, the best strategy is to avoid potential litigation altogether by having a team you can trust (i.e., a CPA, a bookkeeper, and a lawyer), a solid business plan, well-drafted contracts, and comprehensive corporate documents in place. We interviewed Tamara Young, owner of Portland, Oregon's Consign Couture, to learn about how she resolved an unexpected dispute with her then-partner and built a thriving business in the face of adversity.
The Need for Strategic Planning:
One of the most common reasons companies go out of business is due to a lack of strategic planning. Oftentimes, companies—especially early stage businesses and startups—get so caught up in what they’re putting forth into the world with respect to their services, products, and branding, that they fail to prioritize internal tasks that are essential to keeping business running smoothly. Some of these internal tasks include preparing a written business plan, drafting an operating agreement governing the roles and duties of the owners and managers of the company, hiring a CPA, and more. We totally get it—getting legal documents in place and making sure your books are well kept may be a lot less exciting than launching a new product line. Plus, you and your business partners get along great and share a common vision. What could possibly go wrong?
Business Relationships Gone Sour:
All business deals and relationships have the potential to go sour. Fortunately, business disputes can often be resolved more easily and cost-effectively (or prevented from occurring in the first place) if every business had well-drafted contracts, corporate documents, and well-organized finances from the get-go. Contracts and corporate documents are important because they govern the internal processes of your business, including its finances, structure, and regulations. They also provide you with procedures in case any of your business partners breach their duties to you or the company, steal funds from the company, or otherwise engage in unsavory business behavior. It may seem pessimistic to prepare for the worst when you’re just starting out, but it’s in every business’s best interest to have a contingency plan.
Have a Business Plan:
Of course, not all the paperwork for your business has to be full of legalese. Another essential document to have in place is your business plan, and this can even be fun to write. Sure, you might have some ideas about your company’s mission statement and values, its intended market, and how much profit you’d like to make, but have you written everything down in a comprehensive document that you can show potential investors and employees? If not, it might be a good idea to consult a business advisor to help you write a business plan. A written business plan is indispensable if you want your business to succeed and grow, because your company needs a clear set of goals and guidelines to follow when it comes to your day-to-day operations and meeting your business’s financial goals.
How to Protect Your Business:
The best way to protect your business is to keep your business in great legal shape from the get-go, which can help you prevent business disputes and avoid potential litigation. This means you should strongly consider writing a business plan, drafting a partnership or operating agreement depending on what type of legal structure you’ve chosen for your business, and drafting a shareholders’ agreement and corporate bylaws if your business is a corporation. If you’re not sure what kinds of documents your business should have in place, it might be a good idea to consult an experienced business attorney (as well as a business advisor) for guidance on how to keep your business running smoothly and profitably. Per Consign Couture's advice, don't forget to make sure all your numbers add up by meeting regularly with a CPA and bookkeeper.
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us, Tamara! We're so impressed by what you've accomplished at Consign Couture.
You can find Consign Couture at 7400 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203.
Res Nova Law is an intellectual property and business law firm based in beautiful Portland, Oregon, serving innovative companies and entrepreneurs across the Pacific Northwest. We’re your go-to lawyers for startups and well-established businesses of all sizes and in every stage of business growth. Our legal services include business formation, contract drafting, intellectual property advising and litigation, business advising and litigation, and more. We also offer outside counsel plans for businesses with ongoing legal needs.