Introduction To Starting A business
Before starting a business, you should consider the multitude of legal issues that surround such a task, including choosing the right business structure (sole proprietorship, corporation, limited liability company, or partnership), selecting the right company and/or product name, and how the business (including legal and accounting fees) will be financed, and what potential liabilities you face with your proposed business.
Whether your company is an emerging business start-up or mature, securing an experienced a transactional attorney is essential to your continued success in today's economy. Gone are the days when deals were done on a handshake. Gone are the days when people honored their oral promises. On this website, you will find numerous tools to help you identify and fulfill your company's legal needs to protect you and your business.
Choosing the Right Business Entity For A Business Start-Up.
Once you have determined that you are prepared to start your own business, you should begin the process of making your business legal. The first step should be to decide which legal structure is right for you. There are four main types: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and limited liability company. Which one is right for you? See our Legal Entities Section and then discuss your impressions with a local attorney. Seeing an attorney for just an hour to learn more valuable information could save you thousands down the road.
Naming Your New Business and/or Product
After you have determined the legal structure under which the business will operate, your next step should be to come up with a name for your business and/or products and services. The name should be catchy, and not too general. For more information, see our article on Naming Your Company and Choosing A Trademarkable Product Name. Once you have come up with three to five potential names for your business, you need to make sure the name is available, and if available, you should then register it with the county and state.
Preparing a Business Plan For A Small Business Start-Up
After you have determined the legal structure under which the business will operate, and found the right available name for your company and product/service, you should then take the time to prepare a thorough business plan. Preparing the business plan will help you gain a deep understanding of the company's vision, market, customers, strengths and weaknesses, competitors, risks and required budget. In addition, the business plan can serve as the main document to market the company to potential investors. In the Forms Library, there is a sample business plan and sample executive summary along with financial templates to help you with your balance, cash flow and income statements. For more information, see
Financing Your New Small Business
One of the greatest mistakes a new businesses makes is trying to operate with insufficient capital. A new business must be properly financed to succeed. Financing can come from many sources, including family loans, bank loans, investment from angel investors or venture capital firms, and the sale of stock.
Choosing A Business Location
When starting a business, you should also consider where the business will be located -- in your home or commercial office space, etc... If you decide to rent commercial space, you will need to negotiate a beneficial commercial lease. Commercial leases are very different from residential leases. Not only are there steps you can take to reduce your rent and security deposit, but there are also potential liabilities you can also restrict. With commercial leases, by way of example, it is not uncommon for the lessee (renter) to be responsible for any damage that occurs to the structure being rented, including the roof. For more information, see
Acquiring Service Providers
Once you have settled on a business structure, chosen and secured your business name, mapped out the financing elements, and secured office space, you will then need to get phone service, electrical service, a cleaning service, and the equipment necessary to operate your business effectively such as computers. It is important to compare companies and services and know the right questions to ask a potential service provider.
Once you have done everything above, you will need to hire employees to operate your business effectively. It is important to properly handle the hiring process. To learn more about these procedures, visit the Employment and Human Resources Library.
We strongly suggest that you consult a local attorney familiar with business and corporate law to ensure your new business does not subject you to great unforeseen liabilities.