I was born and raised by an entrepreneur.

What does that really mean? It means my entire life I have thought about “owning my own business.” I don’t think I am alone in this crazy dream.

According to Entrepeneur Magazine,
-68% of business students are interested in owning their own business. (Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, July 2006)
– 77.8% of students with entrepreneur family members would like to start their own business someday; 64% of students whose family are not self-employed agreed. (JA Worldwide, August 2006)

Ok – so Millions of Americans will start their own business. What does this mean?
It means Millions of Americans are excited, passionate and may unknowingly be setting themselves up for expensive litigation.

I know this sounds cruel, but when you spend 1 day reading about business litigation in Virginia, and what employers allege, you will be just as scared.

Start your own business? Great idea. But not while you have a job with a competing company.

Write a business plan – again, great. Don’t do it on company time or using work computers.

Want to tell your friends and start to advertise? Again, a good idea – but not while you are still under contract elsewhere.

All of this will be used to form an action against you called BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY – and maybe BREACH OF CONTRACT.

Like the pricing structure of your current job and want to incorporate it into your new business? That may lead to a TRADE Secret claim.

I don’t mean to be alarmist, but sometimes those focused on starting a new business, are not focused on protecting themselves.

Please obtain legal help and advice to try and avoid these pitfalls – BEFORE you put the first word of your new business on paper. Not when you get the lawsuit.

Entrepreneur says that “Roughly 82% of small business owners turn to their accountant for business advice over their lawyer or banker.” (SurePayroll, September 2006)

That is certainly bad news. Please seek a professional that can help you avoid business litigation, that will be worth its weight in gold.

About the author

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

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