It’s often said that only one party wins in a lawsuit – the lawyers. There’s simply nothing better than having quality legal counsel on your side. I heard a prominent business mogal once say that as a business person, you want to hire the best lawyers and accountants you can afford. For this section, we’ll assume that you’re not a billionaire and are looking for some more affordable ways to get basic legal help or advice.

As more and more companies and tools come to the market, I’ll be updating this section with products and services I’ve either tried myself or have vetted through professionals I know here.

Legal Zoom

Legal Zoom is great for basic legal help. If you’re forming a simple LLC, will, or basic contract, many of the top lawyers I know suggest going with Legal Zoom. When candidly talking with friends of mine who are lawyers, I often hear “if it’s boilerplate work, then Legal Zoom is the best option for most small businesses”. This isn’t something a typical lawyer would advise in public, but after a glass of wine or two, it’s what I often hear. There’s no substitute for quality legal advice from a trained professional, but if there were a substitute, this would be an excellent choice.

There are far too many services offered to list here, but some of the more notable offerings are helping you form your business entity, trademarks, lease agreements, copyrights, and even help with work visas.

Legal Zoom can not only help with your business but also your personal life. Although I’ve only used them for business, others might use them to help with a divorce, will, or even what they call a Pet Protection Agreement ©.

Cost: Varies depending on the service

Fraud Hotline

Fraud Hotline is a great service that creates an opportunity for staff to let you, the business owner, know if something is amiss at the office.

For a small fee, your staff will have a hotline that they can call to report abuses within the workplace such as theft, embezzlement, or harassment. They also offer an online form to allow someone in your company to make a report without fear of reprisal from other office workers.

Having been the victim, as many business owners have been, of embezzlement, I find having the Fraud Hotline service an inexpensive way to allow my team to report anonymously any wrong doings in our workplace. This is one of those things that a business owner doesn’t think they need until it’s too late, often costing much more than having a system in place to help prevent fraud from continuing.

An unexpected benefit of this service is simply having everyone in your business know that it exists. When employees know there is an easy way for a co-worker to report their wrongdoing, it keeps the honest people, well, honest. Just like locking your car will never keep the hardcore thieves from breaking in, it will deter someone and often that’s enough.

Cost: $250 (non-profit) and $500 (for profit) annually

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