Legal Advice For Starting A Business – They first picked up a calligraphy pen for a creative outlet and never put it down. Friends and family take notice and the investigation begins. You realize that you really can do it: pursue your creative passion and maybe start a small business in the process. You’ve caught the entrepreneurial bug and can’t wait to get started. But for starters… what does that mean? How do you legally start your own business?
That was my story almost a year ago. While taking a course with a local calligrapher, an entrepreneur friend of mine encouraged me to start my own business. I was addicted; I couldn’t hone my craft any further, maybe later I’d try my hand at entrepreneurship. For the rest of the year, I went about my days like many of us: working a 9-5 day job and immersed in calligraphy at night.
Legal Advice For Starting A Business
My story isn’t unique, save for one detail: My “main job” was working as a full-time attorney for small business owners. I’ve appeared in court with blackened hands for more days than I care to admit. As a lawyer, I knew exactly what steps I needed to take to get my business off the ground. And because I knew my business was legitimate, I had complete confidence in growing my business.
Things Your New Business Needs To Spend Money On
A friend I met in class? His business picked up speed and was very successful from the start. But about a year later, he received a letter every business owner dreads — a request to change the name of the company he had worked so hard to build. Why? Because its brand is similar to that of another (completely unrelated) company. To put it bluntly, he did nothing wrong. However, resolving the conflict diverted his attention from his business and there was plenty of experience to be gained.
Unfortunately, his story is not unique. An important aspect of owning a business is dealing with the unexpected, so it’s important to make sure it’s legal from the start. Protecting your business depends on limiting your liability. And while (spoiler alert!) I always recommend meeting with an attorney to get started, make sure you get started by following these steps:
First, even if you start out as a “sole proprietor,” if you open your Etsy shop or sell to a few family and friends, the government still considers you a “sole proprietor.” You don’t have to submit any documentation to the government to become a sole proprietor, but you are exempt from liability.
The most important factors in the incorporation decision revolve solely around liability and taxes (start with a local accountant for tax considerations). LLC business structures like this are popular for many reasons as they separate your personal assets from your business assets. If there is no legal separation and you are being sued for something related to your business, the court may order a separation
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Let’s say you’re a calligrapher and you start selling prints with your favorite artist’s lyrics. The print is a hit and will be a bestseller in your store. One day, you receive a cease and desist letter from the author’s attorney, urging you to stop selling the publication and pay penalties for infringing on the artist’s intellectual property rights. If you are involved in a lawsuit and you are the sole owner, your car or home can be used to pay for damages. On the other hand, if you have an LLC and your business is separate from your personal assets, the court can only seek damages from your business bank accounts. The key is to incorporate your LLC before disputes arise. If you wait to file a lawsuit, you may be missing out on the protection that an LLC offers.
After hearing this example, most clients will tell you that they already have a DBA and liability insurance, so they don’t need to provide an LLC. Wouldn’t that be the same protection? That’s a good question, and the answer is simple: your insurance is nothing more than a contract between you and your insurance company. It doesn’t protect you from accidental claims, and it doesn’t protect you from what you’re probably already doing. In the example above, it offers no protection. If you want to offer products or services to your customers, then it is time to form an LLC.
The goal of any business is growth, but if you are not protected by the right contracts, your business will stagnate. In addition to protecting your business with every customer interaction, the right contracts allow you to grow your business.
Good Legal Advice Makes For Good Business
You’ll be sure to pitch and collaborate with your creators, enter into joint ventures, and even host the conference you’ve always dreamed of. Without the right contracts, you cannot trust your business to take these steps, and you expose your business to liability for every customer interaction.
Protect yourself for the future. The protection you put in place when you started your business will continue to apply in the future. From a technical point of view, the statute of limitations for most potential claims is at least two to three years. In Oklahoma, for example, a person has five years to make claims for breach of contract. With a business entity like an LLC, your potential liability is reduced. As a small business owner, our most valuable asset is time, and putting in a little time and effort to get your business legal from the start will save you some of that precious time and save you the stress and worries of “what ifs”. “Later.
These terms need to be explained a little deeper and what to do? Download our free 10-page guide to researching your business!
Paige is an attorney and business owner focused on bridging the creative and legal worlds. After working as a litigator for small business owners by day and practicing calligraphy by night, he now combines the two to make the law more accessible to creative entrepreneurs. When she’s not practicing law, she can usually be found with her husband Matt, their beloved horse, or their chocolate lab in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kendall PC’s experienced attorneys have the legal and business expertise needed to help entrepreneurs. small and medium-sized companies at every stage of development. We work with a range of companies in highly regulated industries to develop the policies, processes and documents needed to protect their interests and grow their business.
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