shutterstock 556373581 770x433 750x410 - The Dangers of "Do It Yourself" Legal Documents for Tech Start-Ups

Technology is complicated, I think it’s fair to say that is a statement the vast majority of people agree with. With that in mind can you imagine the complexity involved in setting up your tech business?

Setting up even a small and relatively simple business (if such a thing exists nowadays) is complicated enough. But when you move into an industry like technology it becomes even more complicated.

There’s a lot of important documentation involved with setting up a business and juggling everything isn’t easy. There’s employee contracts, non-disclosure agreements, privacy policies, terms of use, shareholders agreements and much more.

The list might seem endless and no one sets-up their own business to spend hours filling in forms, do they? Which is why shortcuts are so enticing for entrepreneurs, after all, they make a long job so much easier don’t they?

Rather than spending time setting out everything you need to cover, then getting it checked by a legal professional, making changes and then getting it finalised wouldn’t it be much easier to just use a template or an online service? Well yes, it would be easier and simpler but that isn’t always a good thing.

There’s a lot of dangers to be aware of when it comes to filling out your legal documents, even the smallest error could lead to a lot of potential legal problems. And when you take a shortcut to get your documentation finished the risk of making a mistake increases substantially, this is especially true in the tech industry.

But despite the danger, many entrepreneurs still take these shortcuts, and some don’t even realise they’re doing it till it’s too late. Which is why it’s essential you understand the dangers and know which shortcuts to avoid.

Below Jones Whyte who are solicitors based in Glasgow have outlined the three main shortcuts many entrepreneurs take when setting up their businesses.

While these shortcuts may seem great at first glance when you take a more in-depth look the legal dangers become clearer. So, wither further ado let’s take a look at the shortcuts all entrepreneurs need to avoid.

The Template User

Templates are a very tempting shortcut for any entrepreneur but especially those in the tech industry where additional forms like non-disclosure agreements are more commonplace and frequent. The other issue with templates is that sometimes they do actually work.

That might sound like a strange admission when I’ am talking about the dangers of using shortcuts but to be honest sometimes they do really work. However, the key word there is “sometimes” and an over-reliance on templates is where the problems start to develop, templates will only be a viable option on certain documents as well.

The memorandum of association, for example, is a relatively simple and straightforward document and templates are available for the Direct GOV website. For documents like this using a template is usually fine, however, it also outlines another important factor you need to consider namely the source of the template.

A quick Google search will bring up a wide range of templates for all kinds of legal documents if you do plan to use one or even view one to just get some insight make sure you pay close attention to the site that’s offering it. It’s easier than you think to download an outdated or foreign template for a document without you realising it.

The DIY Expert

Whether you use a template or not nothing is worse than trying to do it yourself! Setting up a business is a complex procedure as I previously mentioned, but that doesn’t stop many people from trying to do everything on their own.

This shortcut also ties into our first because many people will use a template and then edit it to fit their needs. In theory, this might not sound like a bad idea but editing legal documentation especially from a basic template is not easy and in many cases, it will result in a poor-quality document. 

To ensure your legal documents are up to standard you shouldn’t try to do everything yourself. You need to work with a legal professional to ensure your documentation covers everything it needs to. If you miss something out or get something wrong, then you could face serious legal consequences.

Doing it yourself might seem like a great way to save time and money, but when it comes to your legal documentation you need to be patient and work with a professional. That way you can ensure everything is right. 

Skipping The Final Step

You should get all your legal documentation checked by a professional before you submit it. This might seem obverse but it’s a step that many entrepreneurs either forget to do or choose not to. But it’s imperative that you remember to get your legal documents examined by a professional.

They’ll be able to check to make sure every document is correct and identify any possible mistakes you may have made. They’ll also be able to tell you if you have missed any important documentation, there is no one rule for businesses it can vary wildly from place to place to how much documentation you’ll need.

So, a legal professional will be able to assist you in a number of ways and every entrepreneur should be sure to arrange a meeting with one before submitting any documents. Yes, this will come at a cost, but it is worth it, you can also employ a lawyer or solicitor to assist you with filling out the documentation as well. So, they can help you throughout the process.

Shortcuts Don’t Always Lead To Success

You’ll see many websites and people claiming they have a working, 100% guaranteed shortcut to success but in my experience, these always turn out to be overblown statements at best and completely false at worst.

Which is why when you’re setting up your business you need to do things the right way. Yes, this will often end up costing you more time and in some cases money, but it will give you complete peace of mind.   

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