Starting a business can be an exciting but challenging journey. As you embark on this new venture, it’s important to have a solid legal foundation to protect yourself and your business. To navigate the legal complexities of entrepreneurship, it’s wise to consult with a knowledgeable business lawyer who can provide valuable guidance. In this article, we’ll discuss the key questions to ask a lawyer when starting a business, helping ensure you have the necessary information to make informed decisions and set yourself up for success.
Legal Questions to Ask When Starting a Business
Not sure what questions to ask? Here are a few ideas.
What business entity should I choose?
Selecting the right business entity is a critical decision. A lawyer can help you understand the pros and cons of various entity types, such as sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. They can guide you in considering factors like liability protection, taxation, management structure, and compliance requirements.
How do I protect my personal assets?
One of the main reasons entrepreneurs choose to form a business entity is to protect their personal assets. A lawyer can explain the risks associated with operating as a sole proprietor and the benefits of limited liability offered by registered entities like LLCs and corporations. They can also clarify the limitations of liability protections, ensuring you understand the steps necessary to safeguard your personal assets.
How do I choose my business name?
Selecting the right business name is crucial for branding and legal purposes. A lawyer can assist you in conducting a thorough name search to ensure your chosen name is available and doesn’t infringe on any existing trademarks. They can guide you through the registration process, helping you secure your business name legally.
How do I protect my intellectual property?
Intellectual property (IP) includes trademarks, copyrights, and patents that safeguard your unique ideas, designs, or products. An experienced lawyer can help you identify the IP assets your business possesses and guide you through the process of registering and protecting them. They can also advise on enforcing your IP rights if infringements occur.
What should I include in my LLC operating agreement or corporate bylaws?
Operating agreements (for LLCs) or corporate bylaws (for corporations) are crucial internal documents that establish the rules and regulations governing your business. A lawyer can help you draft these documents, ensuring they address important areas such as ownership rights, decision-making processes, profit distribution, and dispute resolution.
What are the risks of taking on investors?
If you’re considering raising capital through investors, it’s essential to understand the legal implications and potential risks involved. A lawyer can explain the various options for fundraising, such as equity financing or loans, and guide you through the process, including drafting agreements and complying with securities regulations.
What are the legal issues surrounding employees and independent contractors?
Hiring employees or working with independent contractors brings legal responsibilities. A lawyer can help you understand the legal distinctions between employees and contractors, ensuring you comply with labor laws, tax obligations, and non-disclosure agreements. They can also guide you through creating employment contracts and implementing proper HR policies.
What business licenses and permits do I need?
Depending on your industry and location, certain licenses and permits may be required to operate legally. A lawyer can assist you in identifying the specific licenses and permits relevant to your business and guide you through the application process, ensuring you meet all the necessary requirements.
Do I need any legal contracts for my business?
Having well-drafted contracts is essential for any business. A lawyer can help you create legally binding contracts tailored to your specific needs, whether it’s client agreements, vendor contracts, or partnership agreements. They can ensure your contracts protect your interests and minimize potential disputes.
How do I stay in compliance with the law?
Compliance with federal, state, and local laws is crucial for the ongoing operation of your business. A lawyer can help you understand the legal obligations, deadlines, and reporting requirements relevant to your industry. They can also provide guidance on maintaining proper records, filing taxes, and staying compliant with changing regulations.
What business records do I need to keep?
Maintaining accurate business records is essential for legal and financial purposes. A lawyer can advise you on the specific records you need to keep, such as financial statements, tax records, contracts, employment records, and minutes of meetings. They can help you establish good record-keeping practices from the start.
What insurance should I get for the business?
Insurance is a vital aspect of managing risk in any business. A lawyer can guide you in assessing the appropriate insurance coverage for your specific industry and circumstances. They can help you understand the types of insurance available, such as general liability, professional liability, or workers’ compensation, and recommend the coverage that best protects your business.
We can help!
At ZenBusiness, we understand the challenges of starting and running a business. Our platform provides support at every step, from LLC formation services to customizable operating agreement templates. With our expert guidance and tools, you can start your business on the right foot. Focus on your business while we handle the red tape. Start your entrepreneurial journey with ZenBusiness today!
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.
What are good questions to ask when starting a business?
When starting a business, it’s important to ask key questions to ensure a solid legal foundation. For example, you might ask what business structure you should start, how to register your business, how to set up your tax accounts, and more. Asking these questions and getting any legal guidance you need can help set your business on the right path.
What questions should I ask a startup lawyer?
It all depends on your legal situation. But some good questions to ask a startup lawyer may include discussing the most suitable business structure, protecting personal assets from liabilities, establishing the necessary legal documents for operation, and safeguarding intellectual property rights.
You’ll also want to understand employment and contractor legalities, compliance with industry-specific regulations, getting licenses and permits, how to negotiate contracts, and anticipating potential legal risks as the business grows. These discussions can provide valuable insights and help navigate the legal complexities of starting a business, ultimately setting the stage for success.