The Small Business Administration estimates that 543,000 small businesses start up each month, but only half survive for five years or longer. How can you increase the chances of your business being one of those who make the cut?
Ensuring the success of your business begins before you open your office, land your first client, or manufacture your first widget. Knowing how to structure your business can set the stage for success and help avoid costly mistakes. An experienced business lawyer can help make those crucial decisions, including:
- Choosing a business entity. There are many choices for how to set up a business, and each had advantages and disadvantages. For example, the simplest form of business entity, a sole proprietorship, is the easiest to establish and requires the least paperwork. However, it offers no protection for your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit.
- Other business entities, such as LLCs, S-corporations, C-corporations, and partnerships, offer varying degrees of protection and have different requirements. Some business entities need to be registered with the state or with the city in which your business is located. When you meet with your attorney, he/she will ask the right questions in order to determine which choice of entity will best suit your needs and provide the maximum protection.
- Protecting your name or ideas. To protect your name, your intellectual property, and your unique ideas from being stolen, you may need to talk to an attorney about copywriting.
- Choosing a location. Before you buy or rent a property for your business, you may need to make sure that the location you have chosen is zoned for the service you are offering.
- Preparing contracts. Whether you are selling auto parts, offering dog-sitting services, or opening a restaurant, you may need contracts for customers, employees, or subcontractors. You should always have an attorney prepare or review any contract you will be using, to make sure your legal rights are protected, and that the contract can be enforced.
- Taxes. You may hire an accountant or use tax preparation software to do your business taxes, but an attorney can help you obtain an EIN (employer identification number), make sure you have the necessary local business licenses, and give you advice on the basic tax consequences of various types of business entities.
Many new business owners find themselves so consumed with the minutiae of setting up their operation that they are unable to do what they do best. While your attorney takes care of these details, you can focus on making your product or perfecting your service. You can concentrate on the most important ingredient for your success - satisfied customers. For more information about the benefits of hiring a business attorney or to schedule a consultation, contact Williams and Jorden here.