You have a fantastic idea for a brand new business and tons of drive, and you’re eager to get started. But meeting with a small business lawyer is essential if you want to position your new company in the best possible way to get off the ground.

If you haven’t even opened your doors for business yet, why do you need an attorney? Here are the top three reasons:

1. You need help choosing the right business structure.

Sole proprietorships and partnerships are easier to form and require less paperwork, but they also come with a lot of personal financial liability if something goes wrong. A limited liability company (LLC) or corporation would mean less risk, but more work and expense. 

Whichever business entity you choose will have a tremendous effect on your ownership rights, the way the business is managed, and how you are taxed. A lawyer can help you assess your options and pick the right structure for your business from the start.

2. You need assistance with your business name and trademark.

When you’re excited about a new enterprise, it’s tempting to order business cards and get started. You need to wait, however, to make sure that your new company’s name isn’t infringing on some other company’s trademark. 

A business attorney can help you figure out if the name you’d like to use is up for grabs and how to go about creating a trademark. Image is everything in the business world, so you want to protect your brand identifiers from misuse.

3. You need guidance with all of your contracts.

If you’re going into business with someone, you need a forward-thinking partnership agreement that both spells out your rights and responsibilities today and addresses all the “what-if” scenarios you may encounter in the future.

Even if you’re in business all by yourself, you will eventually need contracts for your suppliers, distributors, clients, contractors, and employees. Boilerplate contracts, like the kind you find online, are often ill-suited to individual situations — and they may not meet the legal requirements in your state to be valid.

Technically, you aren’t required to have an attorney for your start-up, but it makes a lot of sense to have one. You don’t want to let that great idea and all your ambition get mired down in liability and legal consequences. Working with an attorney from the start can help your business thrive.