Part of scaling-up and growing your business means increasing your ops team to get better processes in place that help increase revenue, whilst managing and protecting assets and risk. But many companies still either over-pay or wing-it when it comes to one function: legal. They either:
- Use the corporate lawyer who did a great job on their last funding round but doesn’t know how to prioritise and manage work for fast-growth companies with limited budgets, OR
- Buy templates, fill in the blanks, and hope it doesn’t go wrong, as the team juggle legal with their day job.
Legal is often low on the to-do list. Until something bad happens. Contracts with customers and partners get stuck. An ex-employee causes problems. A customer stops paying. At that stage it’s too late, so an expensive specialist is parachuted in to try to fix the problem.
Do you get an ROI from that? Undoubtedly not.
So, what’s the alternative? How do you avoid wasting management time and money dealing with crises? How do you get legal to grow up with the rest of the business and provide an ROI?
1. Think differently.
Good legal support should be part of your ops team, not treated as an expensive afterthought. Get the right resource in place that’s proactive, not reactive, and knows your type of business. And set the tone from the top that legal is important and valued. Having someone who’s worked in a business like yours is critical. They can help work out what to worry about and what’s not important. And what to spend. As well as what tech can help. It’s a practical commercial approach that needs the right skill set.
2. Have a strategy and budget for legal.
This will help drive revenues and protect and make the most of your assets, whilst also minimise nasty surprises. It will also help prepare for big milestones, like attracting investment, going into new markets, offering new products and services.
Consider getting a legal health check, which is a good starting point for building a tailored legal strategy. As with anything, if you get the right resources – by this we mean people and technology – in place they will do this for you AND manage the budget.
3. Look at processes.
The right processes should make it easier for you to do business. If contracts aren’t closed out quickly and effectively your sales cycle slows and revenue growth stops. And bad or unprofitable deals cost money and management time. Do your team know what they can negotiate, and what they should escalate? Do they know what’s got to be delivered under key contracts? Who’s responsible for what and what the risks are if not? A good in-house lawyer will get the right processes in place for all of this.
All fast-growth companies should have a joined-up ops team which includes a proper legal strategy and budget, with processes in place to scale faster and more efficiently. Importantly, you need to ensure you have that single viewpoint of your legal for your business – or that a trusted partner does for you.
It’s about ensuring your resources for legal – from a time and money perspective – are focused, and proactively support your overall strategy, taking you closer towards your goals.