Every business owner hopes that, from the launch of their business through the growth and success stages, all will run smoothly without any hiccups. However, we all know that ups and downs will inevitably occur. Sometimes, issues arise that could have legal and financial implications for your business — or even you personally — if they're not properly addressed. In these cases, it would be prudent to consult a small business attorney.

As a small business owner, you have a number of options when it comes to seeking legal advice. Depending on the size of your business and your business needs, you might decide to hire an attorney as a full-time employee, engage the services of an attorney on an ad hoc basis, or hire an attorney on retainer. But, the question is, when is the right time to make this hire?

Here are four reasons why you may want to hire a small business attorney now.

1. Contract Drafting and Reviewing

All businesses, no matter the size, will have to sign or draft a contract at some point. An attorney can help with the legalities of drafting and reviewing these legal documents. They may seem simple or standard, but the subtleties of contract language can easily trip up a layperson. Having an attorney can help you steer clear of complications to help prevent your business getting into trouble down the road.

2. Employee Issues

If you have employees, you'll have employee-related problems at some point. An employment law attorney can help you resolve employee issues quickly and efficiently by drafting appropriate agreements, advising on leave or termination issues, drafting policies and procedures, and more, as Business.com reports. It's better to use an attorney proactively for these issues than to be caught off guard by an employee complaint or administrative charge.

3. Lawsuits

Attorneys can examine your processes, procedures and operations (which might pertain to regulatory, environmental, benefits, employee or safety issues, for example) to see if any legal or compliance issues arise that may be addressed before any claims or complaints are filed. If claims are filed against the company, an attorney may be able to negotiate those claims and help reduce any liability. A reduction in liability and amounts owed on certain claims can better position your company and protect you from facing litigation without mitigation.

4. Growth

As your business grows and you acquire more employees, more offices or more locations, an attorney can assist you by spotting legal issues along the way.

If you grow rapidly and acquire or merge with another company, then an attorney is essential to help you with the legal issues and the logistics of the acquisition or merger. As your company continues to grow, if your legal needs begin to escalate, then you may want to consider hiring an internal legal team, as Forbes suggests. And if you ever do require outside counsel, this go-to internal legal team can provide them with a valuable insider's perspective.

Whether your legal needs would require a small business attorney or an internal legal team, this addition to your business can help give you peace of mind. Business owners need to focus on their core business, not on trying to be everything to everybody. Hire competent team players to help with the legal side of your business. This will help enable you to sustain and grow your business while protecting it.

Tags: Laws and Regulations Risk Management