If you’re an entrepreneur, you already know that it takes a special kind of person to start his or her own business. That’s because, with all the legal requirements for businesses today, starting your own company isn’t as simple as hanging a sign on the door and getting some letterhead made. From business licenses to office leases to paying taxes, the business world can be complex.
Here are a few legal matters you should consider from the start:
You need a business plan
If you’ve already created a comprehensive business plan, great: you’re already on track. But if not, you should know that a business plan will serve as the blueprint for your venture.
This document will determine which products and services you offer, who your target customers is, where your business will be located, how you’ll market your products and what competition already exists in the marketplace.
You’ll also want to include financial projections, including estimations on start-up costs, personnel costs, rent and how much you anticipate your business might make in a given time period.
Your business plan won’t only help you identify which legal matters you’ll need to resolve, but it will also act as a “brochure” for potential investors. The more detailed, the better.
Choose a legal structure
Unfortunately, naming a business and selling a product do not a business make. Legally, you’ll need to determine whether your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or corporation.
Determining which of these structures is most appropriate (and most advantageous) to you will be something you’ll likely want to discuss with an attorney.
Legitimize the business
You’ve outlined a business plan and designated a structure. Now it’s time to make your business legit.
You’ll need to obtain a tax registration certificate (or business license) by registering with your local city or county tax collector’s office.
Depending on your location, you might also be required to obtain other permits, including federal and state employer identification numbers, a seller’s permit or specialized permit or license (depending on your business or product type).
One thing we can’t stress enough to entrepreneurs is this: never do business without proper insurance.
Before you open your doors, ensure you already evaluated your business’s liability (or hired a professional to do that) and purchased the right insurance coverages.
Remember, insurance doesn’t just protect your business and your employees – it also helps protect you and your family.
Get a consultant
If you’re new to your market – or even simply new to running a business – it can help to consult with a seasoned professional. Many of the tasks associated with starting and running a business might seem simple, and you’re likely capable of completing them (and doing so successfully).
That said, hiring outside consultants and other professionals can help you offload some of the tasks with which you’re not experienced, freeing you up to work on your products and services.
For example, instead of pouring over the books day-in and day-out, hire a financial professional who can run your payroll, balance your budget and make sure you’re paying taxes. Even if you contract with a consultant just once or twice a year, it can really help you keep your business on track.
Get a lawyer
When it comes to the legal aspects of your business, you don’t want to be a do-it-yourselfer. That’s because the longevity of your business depends on its legitimacy.
Don’t underestimate your legal expenses, and understand that these might be a large upfront “investment” into your business (which you should write into your business plan). You’ll want to ensure you have a buffer so you’re able to pull in the right legal help when you really need it.
If you’re ready to turn your business dreams into reality, we can help. Give us a call today.