Tricks & Tips — All you need for Growth™

Thanks to one of our amazing mentors, Sébastien Bonneau, we share with you some good insights about why and how to protect your company from legal fails. With the help of Sebastien, we are happy to share with you all you need for growth. 🌟

Sébastien Bonneau is the CEO and Founder of All you need for Growth, the first consulting firm to provide to the most demanding and bold entrepreneurs a 360 solution in decision making and execution from ideation to maturity.

About Sébastien 😎

Before founding AYNFG, Sébastien spent 12 years in the corporate finance departments of tier one international law firms in France and Africa. Sébastien holds degrees in Business Law, Business Administration, Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the University of Paris I — Pantheon Sorbonne, HEC Paris and Babson College.

Sébastien is also a member of the AYNFG team of lawyers, and provides end- to-end legal services to meet the needs of startups and growing companies.

Sébastien is passionate about entrepreneurship, so he enjoys helping entrepreneurs navigate the complex legal landscapes in order to develop their projects and achieve a faster and steadier growth. His education and experience allow him to think and speak as the entrepreneurs, allowing for a more efficient collaboration.

⭐️ Quite often, legal issues are not considered as the most important ones to focus on — , is that true?

“Legal issues are like math at school. They are very important but no one really wants to deal with them.”

Hiring an attorney is a very convenient way to getting rid of any legal issues, but even if you can afford these services, you are missing one of the key competences a CEO should have when building a successful company.

A CEO should know enough about business law to 1/address the basics by himself, and 2/ assess where and when risk or complexity justifies help from a professional. This means that a CEO should actually know quite a bit.

His/her curiosity (like basic math, knowing about basic legal issues is easy as long as you are curious about them) shall lead him/her to spot, analyze and treat matters before they become more problematic.

“Like a doctor, a lawyer knows how to assess risks before they become lethal.”

⭐️ But how can a CEO afford such expensive services? Can’t he/she find this information themselves?

Yes. A lot of this information is accessible online. However, what truly matters is not the information itself, but the experience of how to use this information to treat a disease. When a CEO finds an advisor who knows how to share his experience it becomes a win-win deal for the CEO. He/she has access to the information and the training, and this will improve their ability to solve legal issues on their own. Machines aren’t about to disrupt this part of the consulting industry just yet.

Ok, but still, the CEO will have to pay for those services. 🤑

Indeed, but paying for this safety net can save him/her a lot of money, worries, and sometimes the existence of their company itself. Then, it is a just a question of finding the right partner who you can trust and at a good price relative to your size, needs, and quality requirements.

⭐️ Your approach to law and business at large seems quite unique. Can you tell us more?

With pleasure. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “simplicity is the greatest sophistication”, and I very much believe in this as well. Truly talented and experienced advisors have the ability to formulate their advice in simple and understandable ways for their clients. It takes a lot of effort, but we think it is worth it at All you need for Growth™. Humans need to get back to simple and honest things after a century of acceleration. There is no way we will be faster than machines, and we should therefore concentrate our efforts on what’s truly unique: the person who gives the advice, and the person who receives it. This connection is very powerful and goes way beyond commoditization.

⭐️How would you translate this into legal advice to entrepreneurs?

Above all, do not consider that legal matters are only relevant for legal experts. Legal is as much part of the CEO’s job as finance, product or operations.

Set up a solid legal structure in your “house”. Anticipate problems. Prioritize fluidity over security. Find someone experienced and knowledgeable who will love to teach you how things work. Always be curious, and recognize that valuable things have a price, so don’t hesitate to pay for quality services. If I apply this to a contract, I would advise you to focus on short, simple, clear and controlled contractual documentation. It will be understood by your employees, your commercial partners and will become a truly efficient managerial tool.

⭐️Can you provide us with 2 or 3 examples of major failures due to legal negligence?

As matter of fact, all legal failures can be deadly for a startup.

Not to scare you, but that’s a reality. Let’s consider for example future partners who haven’t worked through their deep personal expectations when building their project. Sooner or later, this will turn into serious difficulties and may bring the business down.

Another common mistake is forgetting to check if the company’s businesses are subject to specific regulations. This can be a real problem when the startup has not yet clearly defined its product, and even more of a concern if the company operates across different markets with potentially different regulations. For example; What do you think will happen if a company shares financial information online with the public and does not question, at first, if this information is subject to protective regulations in the countries where final customers — including the company’s home market -have access to such sensitive information? The whole business can be forced to close and managers may also be liable to being sued. Lastly, parties to a commercial negotiation have no chance to build rock solid contractual documentation if they don’t have a clear idea of their main ‘gives’ and ‘takes’ in that relationship.

Finally, you always really need to consider that the clearer the business issues and positions are, the more secured you will be from a legal stand point. A lawyer can handle, or protect, but only to the extent that he knows what to handle.

⭐️ Tell us about being a mentor at Lafayette Plug and Play?

What an amazing experience! The team and infrastructure are so perfect, that you simply don’t hear from them when they silently work in the background to make everything work smoothly and beautifully. They deliver, are always nice and smiling, and thrive to offer to the whole ecosystem they are building such a high level of service.

But what is truly exceptional at Lafayette Plug and Play are the entrepreneurs themselves. Bright, internationally minded, always hungry and ambitious. They question, they listen, they digest and go forward. What has also struck me is that all of the teams I had to collaborate with since 2 years were nice people. Kind, polite and respectful. Bravo Lafayette Plug and Play!

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About All you need for growth.

All you need for Growth™ is the premier one-stop-shop consulting firm providing 360° advice to growth addicts worldwide.

· Experts on hand to help you grow and convert your business intuitions into strategic decisions. Experts to also assist you to achieve transactions such as fundraising and M&A. Make the right decision at the right time with the Advice for Growth™ team.

· Successful entrepreneurs and rock-solid experts in e-commerce and marketing to increase your sales, create your brand and boost its visibility among the right audience. Let your project take off and your brand be seen with the Marketing for Growth™ team.

· Highly specialized and business oriented certified lawyers to secure your operations. Get no-frills, no-nonsense protection for your business with the Legal for Growth™ team.

AYNFG is now present in Paris and Hong Kong, and is preparing for the opening of new offices in London and New York. A core team of 10 partners and 35 other expert professional advisers, with a broader network of a further 60 specialists for specific situations, all trained in the most famous elite law firms, M&A boutiques, investment banks, consulting firms, or successful entrepreneurs themselves, have advised more than 600 clients so far since 2012.

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