In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Few places is that more evident than in the field of law, where taking proper measures to protect one's interests preeminently can ward off potentially messy situations down the road. Specifically, businesses that spend the time and resources to properly protect their interests before problems arise can limit their exposure to liabilities and lawsuits in the future.
I often receive questions from small business owners or folks thinking about starting a new business about how best to protect themselves from liability. Not surprisingly, from a legal standpoint, it’s usually the primary concern of new business owners. In the age of Google, it’s possible for curious entrepreneurs to look into that question on their own before coming to me for my opinion.
I'm frequently approached (virtually) by entrepreneurs that have great ideas for a new business to start.
One of the first decisions an entrepreneur must make after deciding to start a business is how the business should be structured. There are a number of options, from C Corporation to S Corporation, to various types of partnerships. But by far, the most common entity chosen by small business owners is the Limited Liability Company, or LLC.
The licenses and permits you will need to operate your business vary widely depending on your location and type of business. However, there are a few items that will be necessary for nearly all new businesses.
LLCs are all the rage these days, but did you know that even without formally forming a business, like an LLC or corporation, you may very well be operating a business without even considering it as a business. For example, do you have an Etsy shop? Cut the neighbors’ lawns around the neighborhood? Sell things on eBay? Babysit? Do freelance writing? If so, you have a business, and it’s called a sole proprietorship.
A general partnership is the simplest form of business organization involving more than one person and it is widely used today by a variety of businesses. Formation of a general partnership is easy. All that is needed is an agreement-whether written or oral, or even a handshake- that two or more individuals will carry on business for profit. Of course, a general partnership can be formed by written agreement which then governs the relationship of the partners.
I’ve written a lot about starting a new business and the legal challenges that any new entrepreneur must consider when turning an initial idea into a buildable business concept, trends I see taking off in 2013, how to give your new business a legal kick start, tools to operate an efficient business in the beginning stages and num