Some people know they will be entrepreneurs from the time they’re 7 years old. Others end up entrepreneurs based on circumstances. William Randall Wiseacre, AKA Bill, was an entrepreneur at heart but didn’t know it until the time came.
Bill was a smart and hard-working employee at Safe & Steady Consulting. He made a good living and lived comfortably, but he wanted more out of life. His entrepreneurial spirit kicked in when he saw an invoice for one of his clients and realized how much money he could save the client if he did the work independently. Mentioning this to the client, he just knew it would be a win-win since he had time after hours and the client would get a discount.
But it wasn’t such a win for Bill. The client had a conversation with his manager and Bill was fired immediately. When Bill opened the door to independent work with the client, he violated his Non-Compete/Non-Solicitation Agreement he had signed when he was hired.
However, right before he was fired, Bill had copied the entire Safe & Steady customer list onto his flash drive, despite the confidentiality notices and security mechanisms they had put in place to prevent this.
Bill is now unemployed and bound by a restrictive covenant. This means he has promised he won’t compete or solicit their clients for an entire year. What’s he going to do?
Because of his desire to get more out of life, Bill decided he didn’t want to work for another big consulting company. With his hope for having his own company someday, he decided he would become an independent consultant. He had to figure out how to get around the restrictive covenants, especially with the flash drive. He was confident he would do quite well for himself.
On a side note, Bill tends to struggle with asking for guidance and is more than a little “financially conservative.” Basically, he’s a know-it-all and he’s cheap. But more on that next time…
The Momentum Law Group Perspective
- When Bill first started at Safe & Steady Consulting, we would have suggested he negotiate a more reasonable restrictive covenant, especially considering he’d been authorized to bring some clients with him from his prior employer. Perhaps he did his best but they wouldn’t negotiate on this point. And being so desperate for a job, Will took it knowing about the restrictions.
- Most people know Bill shouldn’t have solicited the Safe & Steady client, nor should he have copied the customer list. Although there’s no easy answer, we would have suggested he buy a client or a portion of the work instead of stealing.
- When Bill first thought about potentially working on his own, we would have suggested he be honest with Safe & Steady. He could have become a subcontractor for them, but by taking the actions he took, Will never gave them a chance to work with him to come up with a creative solution.
What would you have done in Bill’s situation?
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