Starting a business can be both an exciting and daunting experience. There are so many things to think about – from the initial planning stages to getting your business off the ground. And once your business is up and running, you need to make sure you are staying on top of all the legal requirements. This blog post will provide a legal checklist for startups and small businesses.
1: Choose the Right Business Entity:
Selecting the right business entity is an important first step. Do you want to be a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation? Each entity has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision.
2: Get the Necessary Licenses and Permits:
Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may need to obtain licenses and permits from local, state, and/or federal entities. Make sure you know what is required in your area before launching your business. You should also make sure your business is compliant with any applicable laws and regulations.
3: Draft an Operating Agreement:
If you are forming a partnership or limited liability company (LLC), drafting an operating agreement can help protect the interests of all parties involved. An operating agreement should include information on how the business will be managed, as well as how decisions will be made. It should also outline each partner’s responsibilities and stake in the business.
4: Get Registered With Your Local Tax Authority:
In addition to getting licenses and permits, you may need to register with your state and local tax authorities if you plan on doing business in those areas. This registration process usually requires filling out forms, providing documentation, and paying fees.
5: Establish a Bank Account:
Opening a business bank account is essential to separate your personal finances from your business finances. Having separate accounts can help you keep track of expenses, as well as simplify the process of filing taxes. The type of bank account you open will depend on the type of business entity you choose.
6: Complete an Intellectual Property Audit:
If your business has any intellectual property, such as a logo or name, it’s important to make sure it is legally protected before launching your business. You can do this by conducting an intellectual property audit to identify any potential infringement issues. You can also work with a lawyer to review any contracts or agreements related to your intellectual property.
7: Contract Tracking System:
No matter what type of business you are starting, it’s important to have a system in place for tracking contracts. This will help make sure that all parties involved in the agreement understand their rights and obligations. A contract tracking system can also help you keep up with deadlines, as well as ensure that your contracts remain in effect.
8: Product liability lawyer:
If your business is going to manufacture a product, it’s important to have product liability insurance in place. This can help protect you if a customer or user of your product is injured due to using it. Additionally, having a product liability lawyer on retainer can help ensure that any legal issues related to your products are addressed quickly and efficiently.
9: Have an Employment Lawyer:
If you are hiring employees, it’s important to have an employment lawyer on retainer. This will help make sure that your business is compliant with all applicable employment laws and regulations. An employment lawyer can also provide guidance on best practices for hiring, firing, and managing employees.
10: Have a Business Insurance Policy:
Having the right insurance policy in place is essential for any business. A good policy should cover both property damage and liability claims. Make sure you thoroughly review your policy and understand what is covered so that you are properly protected in the event of unexpected losses or lawsuits.
11: File Your Annual Report:
Depending on your type of business entity, you may need to file an annual report with your state or local government. This usually requires providing financial statements and other information about the business. Make sure you are aware of any applicable filing requirements and that you submit the proper paperwork on time.
12: Keep Records:
Regularly keeping records is important for any business, as it helps maintain accurate financial records. This includes keeping track of receipts and invoices, as well as tracking expenses and sales tax payments. Having up-to-date documentation can also help simplify the process of filing taxes each year.
Starting a business is an exciting and daunting experience – with the right guidance, planning, and effort, you’re sure to make it successful. Take your time to get everything in order and ensure that all of the necessary paperwork is filed accurately – this will save you from possible headaches down the road. With these 12 steps as a guide, you are now one step closer to achieving your entrepreneurial dreams.