The American Entrepreneur
Starting your own business is what entrepreneurs are all about in America. If you have an idea for a business and you believe you can develop that company and make it a success for years down the road, by all means, take your vision and fly with it to unknown success.
Starting a business means that you must be a person who can make sound decisions. One wise decision before you start a business is to consult with a business attorney. If you like the attorneys you choose, stick with them during your business venture and far into the future. An attorney can eliminate or decrease any future problems or risks associated with your new company.
Your first consultation is free with no obligations, so be sure to write down all your questions regarding your idea for a start-up business. Some of the most common questions attorneys hear from new entrepreneurs are as follows. You may think of more questions not listed, and if they are essential questions to you, they are vital to this attorney.
How should I structure my new business?
You no doubt have plenty of ideas floating around in your head about starting a new business. Consider making initial business plans, developing your product line and services, and getting all the financing in line, in addition to finding an excellent business attorney. You cannot start a business without a business plan, which is as vital as finding a business attorney. The following are questions to ask your attorney.
It would be best if you decided on how you want to structure your company. For instance, do you plan on forming a sole proprietorship, meaning you are the one and only owner or do you want a general partnership with one or more people sharing ownership? You must know that your business and you are considered one entity. If anyone decides to sue your company, you are personally responsible, as are your business debts. These debts belong to you.
Do you prefer to have your company as a corporation, a limited liability company, or a limited liability partnership? When you structure your company like one of these entities, you and or your partners do not risk losing all your assets should someone decide to sue you. These options also mean that creditors can only take what you invested in your company if you cannot meet your financial debts.
Your attorney helps you understand how to structure your company because what you decide affects how your business is owned, taxed, and managed.
What kind of problems can my business name cause me?
You no doubt have thought long and hard about a name for your company, or maybe this took no thought at all, and the perfect name suddenly came to you one day. There are some legal issues to consider, which is one of the reasons you hire your attorney. Never file a DBA until you speak with your attorney or waste money on business cards and signs you may not be able to use because someone else thought of your business name first.
You must know that you cannot choose a name for your business that someone is already using. Do your research. You need to know the rules and regulations of your state. The name you choose can also infringe on another business. Be careful of the brand and logo you choose and ensure that it meets the trademark protection guidelines. It takes the expertise of this business attorney to guide you in the right direction.
Is it risky to be an employer?
The type of business you have depends on your state’s federal and state employment laws, and do these laws pertain to your company?
It would be best if you stayed in compliance at all times with federal and state guidelines, or you could risk paying stiff fines, penalties and find yourself in the middle of employment-related litigation. Your attorney helps you through this process. Remaining within the rules and regulations of your state means that your lawyer will guide and direct you through some challenging issues, such as the following, making sure that you never violate these laws.
- Anti-discrimination laws
- Health and safety rules and regulations
- Wages, hourly wage laws, and minimum wages
- Policies and procedures
- Company handbooks
- Legal training of employees
- The hiring of only United States citizens avoiding immigration issues
Does My Company Need Contracts?
Every business is different. However, contracts are created to help protect your business. Contracts outline the rights of the parties involved along with their responsibilities. Contracts are drawn up to help avoid disputes. Contracts ensure you get paid as agreed upon by the other party. Contracts are used to protect HIPPA Law and to keep confidential information secure. Agreements are needed for routine and significant transactions. Contracts can outline employment relationships. It is your business attorney who can prepare any number of contracts you need. You can also reuse these contracts at various times.
Does the Business I Choose Carry a High-Risk Potential?
Every company is different, posing different risks associated with the products and services they offer the public. While some businesses present a uniquely high set of risks, others may not. If you have increased risks in your chosen company, your attorney can decrease or eliminate these risks with specific contracts. Your attorney is excellent if they present to you a proactive plan to avoid complex issues. Your attorney can tell you where risks lie in your company and how to decrease these risks or eliminate them.
Because your company is running smoothly and well, never neglect to lose touch with your attorney; visit your attorney occasionally to seek advice on various issues. This step helps you to protect your assets as your business grows and changes are made.
Do I need a Business Plan?
Every new business must have a sound business plan. Included in this business plan are the bylaws of your company. Additionally, you must have operating agreements outlining how you will operate your company. This plan outlines how and when you make decisions. When are the shareholder meetings held? If your partnership changes, how are you going to handle it? How are shares of stock issued? All business plans must meet the unique needs of that company.
Why do I have to deal with the United States Patent and Trademark Office?
A skilled and experienced business law attorney always has your best interest at heart. Please communicate with your attorney and visit their firm regularly. You will need help with your company identity in the form of the business name you chose, your business logo, your label, your packaging, and any slogans related to your product or services. People will get to know you by your logo or brand. The public needs to see your logo and instantly know that it stands for excellence in products and services. If you do not protect these things, someone can use them, but not if you register them with a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Your attorney helps you through this process.
All marketing tools you use within your business need protection through copyright for original authorship. For instance, if your company has developed an invention, you must apply for a patent. All of these entities are intellectual properties that need protection through copyright or trademark registration. Your attorney can advise you on contacting a patent lawyer if you have an invention that needs protection.