Austin TX Business Law Blog

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tips for Obtaining Venture Capital

You have a great idea and you want to start a business, or you have a thriving business and are looking to expand. Either way, you need money.  Most new companies get the funds they need to get off the ground though venture capital.  Venture capital is an investment in a new business or start-up that involves a significant amount of risk. Although you should speak to a qualified business law attorney before attempting to obtain venture capital, if you think it is the right option you should have everything in order before starting your quest for an investor or investors.  In this tough economy only the businesses with an organized approach with get the funding they need.

In order to obtain venture capital you must have a solid business plan.  Investors want to fund businesses that are going to be successful and a well thought out business plan is the first step towards that goal.  Your plan should be as detailed as possible and include an overview of the business and the industry it will operate in.  You should contemplate and acknowledge the strengths and weaknesses of the business as well as any obstacles that it may face.  Most importantly, you must include financial information.  Investors want to know how your business performed in the past (if it did) and what the finances might look like in the future.  A business law attorney can help you put together a comprehensive business plan that includes all of the necessary elements.

After you have a business plan in place, you can start your search for funds.  You should take advantage of the internet and all of the social and professional networking opportunities it has to offer in order to connect with and possibly hook an investor.  You might also want to look into crowd funding.  Crowd funding refers to raising money to start a business using small amounts from a large number of people.  There are websites devoted to just this process which you can easily exploit.

Finally, don’t be afraid to go right to the source.  Venture capitalists know best what other venture capitalists want in an investment.  Talk to anyone that will see you and present them with your business plan.  Then ask for and listen to their advice.

If you are in need of advice with regard to venture capital, call Austin, Texas business law attorney Sanjeev Kumar at (512)323-6060 for a consultation today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Number and Success of Female Entrepreneurs Growing

According to a recent study by Expert Market, business is no longer completely a man’s world.  The number of female entrepreneurs and female-owned businesses in the United States has increased exponentially over the last 20 years. From 1997 to 2014, almost 4 million of these businesses have popped up.  These ventures make trillions in revenue and employ millions of people.

Certain states are leading the others in this area.  For example, states including Washington, D.C. (although not technically a state), Maryland, New Mexico, Hawaii and Georgia have the highest number of female-owned businesses in the country. From 1997 to 2014, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Mississippi and Texas have seen the most growth in female entrepreneurship.  Texas has seen the second highest amount of growth of any state in this area with a 98% increase in female-owned businesses.

Some female entrepreneurs claim that men are still dominating the Texas markets.  A few of these business owners lament that people often avoid doing business with them because of their faulty presumption which equates being a woman with inadequate knowledge of the business.  Others claim that men in the various industries do not give them a fair break because of preconceived notions about women in general.  But, this has not stopped them.  One theory claims the increase in female-owned businesses in these states to be a result of the cyclical nature of business and the snowball effect.  As more women become entrepreneurs, the more women look up to them as role models and believe that they too can do the same thing.  Women no longer consider the dream of owning their own business an insurmountable task. 

Starting your own business can be a difficult situation regardless of your gender.  Even in these times, if you are a woman, it is exceptionally important to have a well thought out business plan to overcome the obstacles that may come before you.  The advice of a qualified business law attorney in matters of structure and day to day operations can be essential to your success. Call Austin, Texas business law attorney Sanjeev Kumar at (512)323-6060 for a consultation regarding your business start-up today.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Slip and Fall Case Impacts on Spoliation Rules

A large part of running a business is dealing with records.  If a business disposes of records that may serve as evidence in a legal matter they can be found responsible for spoliation.  Spoliation is defined as the destruction of or failure to retain evidence.   It can be hard to determine which records must be preserved and which can be disposed of.  With a new ruling by the Texas Supreme Court, the task may become slightly more bearable.

In 2004, former professional football player Jerry Aldridge fell in a grocery store after slipping on grease that was on the floor.  He filed a personal injury suit against the grocery store which was owned by Brookside Brothers.  A surveillance camera recorded Aldridge walking into the store and falling.  When his attorney asked for more footage than that showing the fall, it was discovered that Brookside Brothers had only kept the 8 minute clip and failed to retain any other surveillance video.  At the end of the case, the judge issued a spoliation instruction to the jury asking them to determine if the defendants knew or could have known that the surveillance footage might be relevant to the dispute. The jury found that spoliation did occur and issued a $1 million dollar verdict in the plaintiff’s favor.  

On appeal, the Texas Supreme Court came to a different conclusion.  The court found that spoliation did not occur and reversed the verdict.  In their decision they also explained the elements required for a finding of spoliation.  They detailed that the court's first inquiry must be whether a party failed to retain evidence and, if so, if the party had a duty to retain the evidence.  If the answers to the previous inquiries are both yes, the court must then determine whether the party did so intentionally or negligently.  Once the court has determined that the spoliation did occur, they can then assess a remedy.  If the party committed spoliation intentionally, the jury may construe the unavailable evidence against that party.  If they did so negligently, it must be determined whether the spoliation prevented the other party from making a case.  The decision also instructs businesses as to how they should preserve records and electronic data although it does not give them a time-frame for retaining these records.

If you are engaged in a business dispute and are concerned that you may be liable for spoliation or need advice on any other matter, call Austin, Texas business law attorney Sanjeev Kumar at (512)323-6060.

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