Starting your own business is a big decision and one that you should never make without consulting a lawyer first. Before you open your doors and order your inventory, here is what you need to know.
What Type of Business Is Right for You?
The structure of your business has serious legal and tax ramifications, so it’s crucial that you take your time and work with an experienced lawyer. If you choose not to establish your own business as a legal entity, you will be a sole proprietor (owner) and legally responsible for your company. That means that, if you fall into debt or face a lawsuit, you are personally accountable for the ramifications.
It’s a much better idea to structure your business with your personal financial and legal protection in mind. Some of the most common structures include:
- Limited liability company (LLC)
- Limited liability partnership (LLP)
- Limited partnership
- Non-profit corporation
Laying the Groundwork for Employees
The employees that you hire, especially early in the life of your business, can make or break you. Hiring the right people and providing a great environment for growth is essential. Smart hiring and employment practices will help you to attract and retain the best employees in your field. When starting your own business, you should work with a skilled attorney to develop your employee handbook and employment policies, as well as employment and independent contractor agreements. These policies and procedures are vital to legally protecting your business, as you need to comply with a wide range of federal and state laws, from equal opportunity employment laws to minimum wage requirements.
Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Whenever you have something that is proprietary about your business, or a product that makes you unique, you need to take steps to protect those elements with copyrights, patents or trademarks. A lawyer can ensure that your branding, taglines and intellectual property are safe and secure from your competitors and opportunists.
Gathering Relevant Documents
To make the most of your time with your lawyer, you should gather up documentation in advance. As a general guideline, you should get together:
- Your business plan
- A pro forma balance sheet containing liabilities and assets that will be contributed to or assumed by the new business
- A proposed list of any officers, directors or investors
- Tax returns, corporate records or financial statements if you will be merging two businesses together
- Any documents that have already been created including meeting minutes, notes or agreements
- Any other documents that your lawyer asks you to bring along
Before You Create Your Own Business, Call Mobley and Brown, LLP
If you want guidance throughout the business entity formation or employee hiring process, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs and set you up for long-term business success. Call us now at (410) 385-0398 or toll-free at (833) 355-9897.