Guest Post by Lucy Taylor
You have the perfect idea for a new business, and you can’t wait to get started. Whether you’ve had a life-long dream of entrepreneurship, or if you just had a spark of brilliance while waiting in a car-pool lane, deciding to open a business is an exciting new adventure. Unfortunately, many new business owners are caught off-guard by some of the legal issues involved in starting a business. Here are a few things to consider before you begin, so you don’t get into legal trouble later on.
One of the most important things to do early in your venture is to decide on your business structure. Are you planning on going it alone and having a sole proprietorship, or do you have business partners? Take the time to research the different available structures and find out which one is right for you. Whatever you do, remember to make sure that you separate your business from your personal finances, and protect your personal assets from business liability.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re opening; the government is going to want a piece of it. It’s important to make sure that you register your business with the appropriate government agencies, and make sure that your accounting is detailed and accurate. Many small business owners find themselves on the wrong side of the law, and even accidents can leave you facing criminal charges. Ignorance of the laws does not exempt you from them. Consult with an attorney to avoid potential problems.
Coming up with the perfect name can be a daunting task, and once you’ve found it, the work isn’t done. It’s important to make sure that you aren’t infringing on anyone else’s use. A quick internet search can often tell you if your name is already in use, but it can’t always tell you that it isn’t. Businesses that have already trademarked a name might not have it in use yet, so it may not show up. Check with your office of patents and trademarks or enlist the help of an attorney to make sure that your chosen name is safe to use. Once you have one, you will want to go ahead and set up your own trademark to protect others from using it.
Just because you’ve decided on a business structure and figured out your tax liabilities, many people think they’re done. Unfortunately, you often have to register your business again by getting a license to operate within a certain jurisdiction. Zoning laws and licensing can be a hassle to figure out, so make sure you research this before you get started. Opening a business without the correct zoning and licensing can result in your business being shuttered almost immediately.
Another area where new business owners often find themselves struggling is in the human resources side of things. Employment law, insurance, payroll taxes, training, and employee discipline are all things that you’re going to have to deal with at some point if you decide that you are going to hire people to work for your business. Violating labor laws or failing to provide information to employees can result in serious consequences for your business, particularly when it comes to health and safety. Taking good care of your employees is critical to having a successful business.
Starting a business can be a rewarding experience for many people. Being blindsided by legal issues can derail the best laid plans, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time so you don’t get caught up in legal trouble down the road.
More About the Author
Lucy Taylor is an avid blogger who enjoys sharing her tips and suggestions with her online readers. Working as a legal expert at LY Lawyers, Lucy often helps people dealing with legal problems, addictions and crime.