Business Law 101 for New Start-ups

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The following is a guest post by Jeremy. Enjoy! 

Business Law 101 for New Start-ups

Most new business owners are excited to launch their own start-ups. With so much information on the Internet for entrepreneurs, it can be hard to know what steps you should take when starting a new business.

Legal Business Structure

Keep in mind that understanding business law will be absolutely essential to your success. Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may wish to contact a lawyer to assist you with paperwork or state and federal filings. The United States Small Business Administration provides a wealth of resources for new business owners. Take time to familiarize yourself with the agency’s website.

Many new business owners hire a lawyer or contract with an experienced entrepreneur to gain guidance. While this is a great option, you may be eager to do as much as you can on your own. A variety of easy-to-use legal documents are available for small business owners. One of the first things that you should consider when launching your enterprise is what type of business you will be. Will you run a sole proprietorship? Are you going to have a partner, or do you prefer to adopt a corporate structure? Whatever structure you end up choosing, you will need to file papers in your state so that your business can operate.

Considerations for Partnerships

If you are starting a partnership, you’ll want to be sure that you have a solid contract between partners. This should detail what will happen if there are any substantial changes in the business. Clarify how profits will be shared and what duties each partner is responsible for. While you probably have a great relationship with your business partner, it’s important to be prepared for the future. Be sure that you have a clear plan outlined for how profits will be divided should you decide to take your company public.

Employment Laws

Every new business owner should also take time to familiarize himself or herself with employment laws and regulations. If you plan on having employees, you will need to follow both state and federal laws. If you fail to comply with such laws, you can face heavy legal fines and may lose your business license. Attending an employment law seminar is a great way to familiarize yourself with the applicable laws in your state.

Tax Laws

You should also be sure to understand the tax laws that are applicable to your type of business. While you can find plenty of information on the Internal Revenue Service website, you may wish to speak with an experienced business accountant. Keeping your business records in good order is essential. Familiarize yourself with record keeping guidelines and laws. Remember that every business has different legal needs. Time spent investigating particular legal concerns in your industry will be time well-spent.

How about you all? What type of business structure do you have in place for your business – sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, S-corp., or an LLC? Why did you chose the format that you did? Would you do it differently if you could go back in time and start all over?

Do you hire a lawyer and/or accountant to help you with the tax and other legal issues surrounding your business, or do you handle everything yourself? Why?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

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    1. investlike1percent says:

      never do a sole proprietorship.

      llc – more real estate
      s-corp for profitable businesses
      c-corp for companies looking to raise money
      My recent post That Time of the Month

      • Thanks for sharing Investlike1%percent! I agree that sole proprietorships probably have the least amount of advantages as far as legal structure goes, but I think there is something to be said for the ease with which one can be set up.
        My recent post Sensible Spending and Saving For You And Your Family

    2. GREAT overview! So many small business owners and start-ups don’t understand what they need. Quite often specific things are needed for each business and only an attorney would be able to help with that. While it may seem expensive from the start, it will save you thousands and potentially millions of dollars in the long run.

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