Introduction to Business Law

Course Title from Introduction to Busine

"We treat our people like royalty. If you honor and serve the people who work for you, they will honor and serve you."

~ Mary Kay Ash | Founder of The Mary Kay Empire ~

Forming a company.  Protecting ideas.  Raising money.  Hiring employees.  Signing Contracts.  From startup to exit, the law is ever-present in the daily life of an entrepreneur.  Most business decisions have a legal consequence. Understanding where the laws apply to your business operations can help you make confident decisions, protect your rights, minimize risk and save money.  Having access to expertise in navigating the legal issues that early-stage ventures face on a daily basis is a competitive advantage not enjoyed by many startups due to attorney costs, misunderstandings of the law, and a desire to move as quickly as possible.  Through the knowledge that you'll gain in this course, you can be that competitive advantage, driving efficient execution of the business plan while also avoiding the legal pitfalls that impede early-stage ventures far too often. 

In the modules of this course, you will receive a basics overview of business law hot topics, starting with the different types of corporate entities available under which to form your new business and the varying differences of each.  You will have an opportunity to uncover the dynamics, theory, and management of contracts and other legal documents that can be applicable to your start-up.  Negotiation is an important part of success in getting what you want in a contract, so we will touch on this as well.  Partnerships will be discussed at length and you will have the opportunity to learn such key knowledge as the 13 questions you must ask of a potential partner for your business and how much equity you should be willing to give up.  This course will dive into your business' organizational structure in order for you to avoid costly mistakes in the future.  No course on business law would be complete without taking time to thoroughly explain Intellectual Property Law and its 4 components - Trademark, Copyright, Patent, and Design Rights.  Lastly, you will form your exit strategy for your business because one must always start with the end in mind. 



1. Module 1 - Types of Corporations

Beginning with a comprehensive definition and overview of the principles of business law, you will learn exactly what sole proprietorships, corporations, partnerships, and limited liability corporations are and how each legal structure can be beneficial dependent upon your own personal circumstance. Case study work will feature 20 classic business situations that can affect any business. Because legal issues can be confusing as you run your small business, you will learn about 3 common legal mistakes to avoid as you build your business. Lastly, you will be provided with an excellent list of online legal resources for your start-up, and you will be given the opportunity to create an outline of which legal structure you will use for your new business.

2. Module 2 - Contracts and Legal Documents

In this module we will explore exactly what a contract is and is not. You will learn such terms as "consideration", "negotiation", "offer", "counter offer", and "acceptance". You will also learn the theory behind contract law which will help you when drafting future agreements for your business. Case study work will engage you to discover how partnership contracts where created for a software start-up and what that can mean for you. Understanding and developing negotiation skills will be studied and is paramount to success in all businesses, so, to that end, you will learn 3 simple tips on how to negotiate well when executing a contract with another party.

3. Module 3 - Partnerships

Starting with a video on what partnerships are, you will also learn the variables or types of partnerships available to business owners. Case study work will allow you to analyze ways to keep business partnerships strong and thriving through the development of strategic partnership initiatives. You will learn the 13 Questions you must ask of any potential business partner before taking on someone as a partner in your new business. Additionally, you will learn how to find the perfect business partner for your business and what percentage of equity your should offer him/her. Lastly, you will be provided with stories of successful partnerships so that you can see what's possible should you choose to partner with someone as you build your new business.

4. Module 4 - Shareholder, Board, and Officers

When entrepreneurs decide to build businesses, it is important to understand the basics of corporate structures and how each type hierarchy works to the benefit of the business. Case study work will explore the organizational structure or hierarchy of a major international corporation and you will explore the modules of hierarchical structure – both centralized and decentralized – so that you can evaluate the type that is good for your business. You will also learn why and how the wrong structure can adversely affect your business in the long term and how to avoid it. We will also dive deeper to explore departmental organization structures, which further divides the company into functional areas. Ultimately, you will have the opportunity to design your own organizational chart.

5. Module 5 - Intellectual Property

As human beings, it is in our nature to create things. Intellectual property is the legal way to protect our ideas and creations. In this module, you will learn about the 4 types of protections of your rights — Trademarks, Copyright, Patent, and Design Rights. You will get the opportunity to delve into 10 famous intellectual property disputes and by diving deeper, you will get comprehensive information on the legal differences between trademarks, patents, and copyright protection.

6. Module 6 - Company Dissolutions and Exits

When starting a brand new company, it is best to start with the END in mind. This is the reasoning behind developing your exit strategy for your new business. Through case study work, you will learn how to sell your business when you want to do so, and how a well executed exit can increase the company's value by 50%. You will learn 3 small business exit strategies that may be right for you, and how to avoid 7 tragic mistakes business sellers make. Lastly, you will learn how to know when it's time to sell, quit, or restructure your business.