Legal issues are the part of running a small business some entrepreneurs hate the most. But attention to legal issues large and small will save you money, time and could even be the difference between success and failure. We’ve assembled some great content on the topic, so be sure to have a look at the post below and offer comments if you have something to add.
Picking your small business legal form. As you put your company together, many decisions are required, among them the legal form your company may take: sole proprietorship, partnership, S-corporation, LLC. But a recent study suggests that, despite conventional wisdom, the legal form a company initially chooses is far more likely to persist at least through the first four years and possibly through the life of the business than was previously thought raising the stakes of the original decision about how a business should be organized. WSJ
Why the legal organization of your small business matters. Since data now indicates the choices made early on about a small business’s legal structure are likely to stick, it’s important for small business owners first starting out to fully understand the future tax and other implications when choosing how to organize their startup. A host of factors make it unlikely business’s legal form will change meaning the choices made now are likely to follow a business into the foreseeable future…and possibly beyond. SunHerald.com
Report on the life-cycle of small business startup. Here is a full report prepared on behalf of U.S. Small Business Administration’s Department of Advocacy with more details on the way in which small businesses choose an initial legal form. The report challenges some long-held theories about the life-cycle of most small businesses from startup to maturity and may give some insight for new small business owners about how to organize their startups for the long haul. SBA
How much insurance does your small business need? This recent article from a Midwest news site lists a comprehensive guide to insurance for the small business owner. The overview can be used as a starting point for what can be a very intimidating part of operating a small business: making sure your business is fully covered while at the same time choosing the coverage options that make the most sense for your small business. Consulting an insurance provider and your attorney can help you make some of these tough calls too. Southeast Missourian
How knowledgable are tax officials when it comes to tax law? Not very, if you happen to be running a small business in Australia, according to this report from a national broadcaster. In the piece, Inspector General of Taxation Ali Noroozi admits, “The common theme that runs through all of them is this common theme of lack of technical expertise tax law and applying and also an understanding of the taxpayers’ business.” One of the areas where tax auditors receive many complaints is in their treatment of small businesses. Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Keeping up with rule changes. A constant challenge for small businesses, no matter where in the world they may be found, is to keep up with local regulations to be sure they are not only in compliance but that they make the necessary decisions to avoid or dilute disastrous costs or penalties due to changes in local policy. Such is the case with a new Pensions Act in the UK going into effect 2012. Are you keeping up with changes in local regulations that may impact your small business? FreshBusinessThinking.com
State of Delaware dumps small business loan stimulus plan. It might sound like a good idea at first. Have the state treasurer deposit state funds into small federally insured banks over the next 18 months freeing up extra funds banks could then use to make loans to small businesses. A host of concerns raised by the state’s Cash Management Policy Board put an end to the proposal and it’s unclear what guarantee leaders were given that funded banks would trully begin loaning again. Bloomberg BusinessWeek
Online small business legal advice abounds. Have a legal question about your small business? In the old days you might have browsed the Yellow Pages looking for a local attorney. Nowadays, just fire up your laptop or Web enabled mobile device and you’ll find both attorney listings and free legal advice online. This article is about one such leading resource in the field, but with a bit of practice you can locate many sites containing both small business legal information and contact information for attorneys online. Thomson Reuters
Ohio small business seminars feature legal, other advice. Small business legal advice will be among a variety of topics to be tackled in a series of seminars kicking off next week and sponsored by the Ohio Department of Development. Other topics during the series, which is being offered free to the public, will also include topics like accounting, insurance and e-commerce. Cincinnati.com
New Jersey business attorney helps businesses network offline. The idea of networking and building relationships has gained new prominence with the coming of social media. But Ken Kaplan, owner of Kaplan Law, Somerville and Warren, NJ, along co-founder Rea Wilke, professional life coach and CEO Your Life Now in Bridgewater, have put together a very unique small business group. Is there room for one in your community? MyCentralJersey.com
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Keeping up with the regulations is very important. Especially if your state regulates the specific industry under close provision. For example, home health care, food & drugs, and children facilities. That’s why most people feel comfortable working with franchises because they have the expertise in every area of the field.
This article is a great start. I find often small business owners do not have the time to deal with the legal piece of their business and therefore they put it off until later. Sometimes later is too late. In addition to those areas mentioned above, you might want to check and make sure you have all of your pertinent contracts detailed in writing. Also, if you have employees you will want to be fluent in the employment laws in your state.