Starting A Business
Congratulations on wanting to become an enterpreneur! Starting a business is the surest way to use your own talents to improve society while growing wealth. Plus you will have more control over your life! It is not difficult to get the ball rolling, but there are many legal issues to consider, because businesses are regulated by multiple levels of government. So it is wise to get the basic decisions and legal steps out of the way well before you actually start doing business. That way, when an opportunity for your business idea presents itself, you are ready to pounce on it!
Unlike some online self-help non-law firms that offer business formations, Argent Place Law does more than merely create paperwork for legal filings, we are dedicated to making sure you understand what is required to start your business properly, operate it successfully, grow its value, and ultimately exit in a manner that satisfies you.
We give you options: Generic instructions for how to start your own LLC, State-Specific instructions to do it yourself, or you can hire us to do it all for you so you can concentrate on other things.
Get The Details of Starting A Business In Your State
Click the link below and we’ll email you our free guide with details on how to form a new LLC in your State. Our State-specific documentation gives you the steps you should perform, the right order to perform them to minimize possible problems, and links to the appropriate agencies you need to connect with.
(We use your contact info only to send you the State-specific document and so we can follow up with you and see if you have any questions or need additional help.)
Have Us Do It For You
Rely on Argent Place Law to do it all for you. If you decide that you want to concentrate on doing other things and hire an experienced law firm to do this for you, Argent Place Law has a streamlined approach to starting your business for you, while still giving you personalized legal service. In many cases we are even more economical than the online self-help non-law firms when you understand all that needs to be done!
The Generic Steps to Starting A Business
Here are the six issues that are important to understand as you are starting out in your entrepreneurial endeavors:
Issue 1: Decide your form of governance. Here are your basic options:
- Sole Proprietorship (one owner, personally liable). Here are a few key facts you should be aware of as a sole proprietor:
- State registration is not required. However, most businesses must register at the local level (in the county or city where your business is located).
- Sole proprietors are personally liable for everything the company does, including the actions of employees.
- Partnerships of various kinds (multiple owners, personally liable). These generally are not a good form for startup businesses except in very specific circumstances.
- Corporation (one or more owners, limited personal liability, strict structure)
- LLC (one or more owners, limited personal liability, very flexible structure). LLC’s are the preferred form of governance in most cases because of their flexibility. Here are a few facts you should be aware of when forming either a Corporation or LLC:
- Generally, the personal assets of the owner(s) are not at risk to satisfy the business’s debts–hence the “limited liability.”
- Both LLCs and Corporations must file Articles with the state in order to recognize that limited liability.
- Often LLCs and Corporations must also register in the county or city where your business is located in order to do business there.
Issue 2: Register with state and local governments and the IRS. All business forms except the Sole Proprietor and Partnership must register with the state, and pay fees to the state. Most businesses must also register with the local government to get a license (and pay local taxes). You need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS in order to open a bank account in the name of the company, whether or not you have any employees.
Issue 3: Have an agreement with your partners on how to run the company. The relationship among the owners of Corporations or LLCs is set by law, unless there is an agreement among the owners to replace the default rules. That agreement is called an “Operating Agreement” for LLCs and a “Shareholder Agreement” for Corporations. It will be a critical document that you should refer to often during the course of growing your business. It should cover things like how the business is managed and how are profits handled, but there should also be provisions for the departure of owners, either voluntarily or involuntarily (commonly referred to as a “Buy-Sell Agreement).
Issue 4: Decide how you will pay income taxes. LLCs and Corporations have the option to be taxed on income at the federal level in a special way called an S-Corp. Companies that choose the S-Corp election do not pay income taxes directly, rather all the company income as allocated to the owners who pay the income tax.
Issue 5: Think about registering to use a fictitious name. Fictitious names are also known as the DBA or “Doing Business As…” name, or the “trade name,” which is NOT a trademark. For example, “Robert Sandborne Plumbing, LLC” may advertise as “Famous Bob’s Plumbing,” but only if a fictitious name is registered.
Issue 6: Protect your intellectual property. While the above process attempts to confirm that you are clear to use use the name you have chosen, it is a good idea to get a federally registered trademark before someone else takes your company name later. Your proprietary ideas should be protected as trade secrets or patents, and creative work such as website content, software or graphical design, photography, or literary works should be copyrighted.
Use Argent Place Law For Starting Your Business
If you read all of that and now decided you want to let us handle the legal details for you just click through to our Business Formation page and we’ll have you off and running your new business as soon as possible.
Additional Services From Argent Place Law After Starting Your Business
Set up an appointment as a prospective client to get a quote for any of these legal services
- Draft a detailed Operating Agreement among owners to include buy-sell and other customized provisions
- Protect your company name and logo with Trademarks
- Filing a fictitious name, also know as a trade name or “DBA”
- Protect internal processes that form the basis of your competitive advantage (an NDA for your trade secrets)