Whether you are just starting a small business or are an experienced small business entrepreneur, we can take care of your legal needs and help you take your business to the next level. We offer dependable and professional legal counsel for your business at a fair, affordable price. We offer predicatable subscription based pricing to help small business get the legal services they need.
We can help you develop a business plan to prosper in today's market.
We can partner with you to help build your business on secure legal ground.
We can help you grow and scale your business with solid legal services.
We can provide legal solutions to help protect your business from legal risks.
Business Startup Pricing
starting at $299
(not including state filing fees)
starting at $499
(not including state filing fees)
SMALL BUSINESS FAQ'S
HOW DO I START MY OWN BUSINESS?
Starting your own business can be a risky endeavor, and it requires careful thought and preparation. Being your own business owner, however, can also lead to a great deal of personal satisfaction and success. Once you have determined an initial idea for your business, it is important to thoroughly evaluate the market in which you will be operating and determine how you can best contribute through your original business idea. You will then want to develop a comprehensive business plan that considers how your business will be structured, how it will operate, how you will market, and what your expenses and revenue are likely to look like. This will help you to evaluate whether you can be financially successful and also will allow you to attract potential investors or apply for loans.
You will then need to establish the legal structure for your business, such as a Corporation or a limited liability company. This will depend on the individuals involved in your business, tax implications, and liability risks. Once you have decided on the legal structure that is best for you, you will need to register your business in the jurisdiction of your choice. This could be where you live, or where you want your business to operate. This will include completing some paperwork and paying a registration fee. It is important to remember that this registration will need to be renewed yearly.
Finally, you will need to obtain a business tax ID for paying corporate taxes to the IRS. You will also need to apply for any licenses or permits relevant to your business. For instance, if you will be starting a food-related business, you may need to obtain the necessary health and safety permits from your local government.
WHICH BUSINESS ENTITY IS BEST FOR ME?
Once you have a business idea and business plan, the next step is to pick a business entity structure. There are many different types of businesses available to owners, and choosing the right one depends on the number of individuals, if any, who will co-own the business with you, your tax preferences, and any liability concerns.
If you are the sole owner of your business, you may wish to run your company as a sole proprietorship. Sole proprietorships are one of the easiest types of businesses to start and often require little to no paperwork. Business taxes are recorded as personal taxes on one's income tax returns. However, sole proprietorships do not provide owners with the same legal protection that is offered by other corporate structures.
One alternative to a sole proprietorship is a limited liability company (an LLC). An LLC is filed with the Secretary of State and is internally governed by an operating agreement. The Operating Agreement defines how the LLC is run or controlled, and limits the liability of the individual members (or owners) for the decisions of the LLC. An LLC can be taxed where the profits of the company pass through the LLC and on to the individual members of the LLC where they are taxed on individual tax returns.
Another type of business entity is a corporation. The two main types of corporations are C corporations and S corporations. The main difference between these two is how taxes are treated for each corporation. C corporations pay taxes as corporate entities. For S corporations, the profits of the company pass through the company and on to the shareholders or owners of the corporation, where they are taxed on individual tax returns. Depending on the preferences of your business, or its anticipated size and revenues, one of these methods may be more preferable than another.
Finally, some owners choose to start business that pursue a social good, as opposed to financial profit. These individuals may prefer to structure their business idea as either a nonprofit organization or as a special benefit corporation. If this is something you are interested in doing, it is important to look into the unique formation and taxation requirements for these entities.
HOW DO I FORM A BUSINESS ENTITY?
There are several steps that any business owner must take in order to form a business entity. First, you must choose a name for your entity that is distinct from any other entity registered in your state. You cannot have the same name as an entity already in existence. Once you have selected a unique name, you must then select who will be the key individuals for your business. Your business entity will have to have at least one key individual.
After you have selected at least one key individual, the next step is to file formal articles of formation with the Secretary of State’s office. When filing the articles, you will also be required to pay a filing fee that may be up to several hundred dollars.
Although these are the most important formalities, forming an entity also requires the creation of business documentation that govern the overall operations for your business entity (i.e. bylaws, operating agreement, or partnership agreement). Furthermore, you must hold your initial meeting, at which decisions can be made on the governance of your business entity, such as who will be able to legally bind the company and how finances will be handled. These are both important steps in ensuring the success of your newly formed entity.
DO I NEED WRITTEN EMPLOYEE POLICIES?
No matter how small your business, it is always a good idea to have an employee handbook. A document of this nature can clearly establish rules, rights, and expectations for employees. Having these policies memorialized can increase efficiency, and also serve to protect you from employee lawsuits.
Keep in mind that employee handbooks should be worded carefully, as a poorly drafted policy can expose you to legal liability. For example, employee handbooks can be construed as employment contracts in some states (even if you don't intend to establish an employment or contractual relationship), and this can provide the basis for a number of legal claims against you. It is a good idea to regularly review and update your employee handbook to ensure compliance with current employment laws.
HOW DO I PROTECT MY BUSINESS IDEAS?
There are several options available for protecting your business ideas from being stolen or copied by others. If you would like to ensure that your business partners or employees do not share important business ideas or information with others, your best bet may be to create a non-disclosure or non-compete agreement that employees can be required to sign. These types of agreements help to ensure confidentiality among employees and other individuals associated with your business, and they also protect against their leaving your company to create a competing business nearby that utilizes your ideas.
If your business idea is revolutionary or has required extensive money and time on your part, you may wish to seek a patent or trademark to protect your idea. These are legal protections offered by the government and typically require a fee to obtain.
WHAT BENEFITES CAN I PROVIDE TO MY EMPLOYEES?
When considering employee benefits, it is important to remember that some are optional, whereas others are required by law. For example, all employers are required to pay Social Security taxes, and employers of a certain size are required to comply with federal family leave and COBRA laws. At the state level, you must participate in the workers' compensation system, and possibly unemployment and/or disability programs. The recently enacted Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that employers with 50 or more employees provide health insurance or pay a fee. ACA requirements do not apply to part time workers, but other unemployment and tax obligations may.
Optional benefits include retirement plans, paid vacation time, sick leave, group life insurance, stock options, and transportation costs. While it is your decision whether to offer any of these benefits, making them available can help you attract and retain talent. The costs of some of these benefits can also be tax deductible, and can potentially decrease your Social Security, unemployment, and other taxes.
HOW DO I CONDUCT MY BUSINESS REMOTELY OR ENTIRELY ONLINE?
Due to the popularity of online shopping and services, online businesses are increasingly popular. Often, these types of businesses are run out of an individual's home and do not require a business owner to lease or purchase physical office space. There is no requirement under state or federal law that your office must have a physical location devoted solely to business matters.
However, when registering your business, you will be required to provide a business address where your business is located at. This could be your home address or another location, but it is important for determining state and local tax compliance. You cannot start a business without determining some physical space where you can receive mail and correspondence about your business, and from which you will pay taxes.
If you choose to start an online business, it is also important to know that special laws and regulations apply to online businesses in order to ensure compliance with internet laws.
WHAT BUSINESS EXPENSES CAN I "WRITE OFF"?
When you are able to write off certain business expenses, you can lower your company's tax bill by subtracting certain costs from its gross income. Write offs may even help you to end up in a lower tax bracket, reducing the percentage of your company income that is taxable. Examples of expenses your business can write off include office equipment, rent for office space, and charitable donations. It is important to keep receipts and records of any expenses you write off in case of an audit.
The laws, rules, and regulations that affect your business can be overwhelming and are subject to change. As a business owner, you want your time focused on steering and growing your business toward success, not being immersed in researching the law and staying on top of legal updates.
We can help.
We partner with our clients to make educated choices that will help them grow their businesses, and we can give you the legal representation and sound counsel you need to deal decisively with whatever challenge your business may face.
We can provide:
- Advice on choosing the right business entity, whether corporation, LLC, limited partnership, or otherwise
- Preparation and filing of the documents necessary to legally form your business entity
- Preparation of operating agreements, corporate by-laws, participation agreements, and buy-sell agreements
- Negotiations and preparation of documents governing the rights and obligations of members or investors in your business
- Negotiation and preparation of specialized forms and contracts
- Preparation and review of your day-to-day business forms to maximize your legal protection
- Negotiation and documentation of sales or transfers of stock or other ownership interests
- Preparation of non-competition and confidentiality agreements
- Negotiation and documentation of secured and other UCC transactions
- Review and negotiation of financial agreements
- Advise and counsel in insurance coverage disputes
- Advise and counsel on employer and employee relations
- Advise and counsel in business disputes
- General counsel and operational advice
- Business succession planning services
- Merger and acquisition services
- Corporate dissolution and winding down services