TIP 1: FILE ORIGINATING DOCUMENTS
Operating as a corporation? File articles of incorporation. Operating as an LLC? File articles of organization. It’s easy for a lawyer or accountant to help you with these.
TIP 2: SELECT A BUSINESS NAME
Make sure you select a business name that is different than your competition.
TIP 3: GET ALL NECESSARY LICENSES AND PERMITS
A lawyer can help you research the requirements for your business, and then obtain all necessary licenses and permits.
TIP 4: ADOPT GOVERNING DOCUMENTS
The structure you choose for your business may determine the type of governing documents you need to have in place, such as operating agreements, bylaws, etc.
TIP 5: IMPLEMENT WRITTEN CONTRACTS AND AGREEMENTS
Prepare and implement contracts and agreements reviewed by your lawyer.
TIP 6: MARKET YOUR BUSINESS IN A SOUND MANNER
The most basic rule with regard to advertising and marketing is that you cannot use deceptive practices to market or advertise.
TIP 7: PROTECT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
All businesses have proprietary intellectual property of some kind. Ensure it is protected with the help of your lawyer. For more information on types of intellectual property, visit The New York Times’ small business guide to intellectual property.
TIP 8: EMPLOYMENT OBLIGATIONS
If your business has employees, you will need to ensure that your business complies with federal and state employment laws.
TIP 9: FINANCIAL MATTERS SHOULD BE IN ORDER
Open bank accounts and obtain credit in the name of your business, and keep those accounts separate from your personal accounts. Second, ensure you pay all necessary taxes—employment taxes, income taxes, sales tax, etc. Third, get insurance. A lawyer is a great person to recommend you to a good banker, accountant and insurance agent.
TIP 10: ADOPT A RECORD KEEPING PROGRAM
A common issue for small businesses is failing to maintain the required records. These records may include minutes of corporate meetings, stock certificates, financial statements, payroll documentation, injury logs, etc. Adopt a record keeping program and follow it.
TIP 11: MERGE AND ACQUIRE
Lawyers who help small businesses grow can provide sound advice for growing through mergers and acquisitions.
TIP 12: KEEP A LAWYER ON RETAINER
Rapidly growing small businesses face a myriad of legal challenges as their businesses grow and change. Having a trusted lawyer on retainer that’s proven to have helped businesses grow is a sound investment.
NEED MORE HELP?
Contact Clarity Lawyer, John F. Thomas, Jr., Esq.