Think before you leap

I love the New Year.

I make resolutions, work out, eat better and do everything that makes me a whole person, for about three weeks. Then the pace of life kicks in and I lose my resolve again until next year.

For many Virginia employees, the New Year seems like a good time to finally make the leap, take the plunge – start a new business. And for some, it very well may be a good time for major change.

But the best new businesses, are those that are well planned, considered and crafted. And often, it’s not the product or sales pitch or marketing plan that needs the work. It is the behind the scenes transition from one business to another, evaluating legal duties and risks, that leads to a better business.

  • Can you take clients?
  • If so, when?
  • How should you tell them?
  • When should you start planning your new business? What about the website, EIN number, business cards, etc?
  • Is it against the law to start a competing company that isn’t actually competing yet?
  • What about waiting for the raise, and then leaving – is that bad? Is it illegal?
  • Can they sue your new business? What if your wife is the new business owner and you just the employee (BTW – BAD IDEA, lets discuss this one later).

Our Google analytics feed is replete with these kind of questions and more. And while I would love to answer them all in one very brief and witty blog post, it is not possible. It is not possible because these questions seek legal advice and when it comes to non-competes, that advice cannot (or should not) be given in a total vacuum without context of the industry, players, contracts at issue, etc.

So, before you make plans for 2015 to be the year of the small business in your living room, make sure you have asked the right questions of a qualified Virginia lawyer who can help advise what rights you have, and what actions will protect you in the long term.

Happy New Year all. Now I’m off to buy a shake weight, or ab roller – just to be used until February.


Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at