Posts

Legal Tips for Small Business Owners

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Small Business Owners|Legal Tips for Small Business OwnersAs the owner of a small business, it is essential that you consider the law in running your business as you will obviously want to make sure that you are operating above board and know how to protect your small business. A small business can struggle if they encounter any kind of legal issue, which is why it is so important to be aware of a few tips which could come in useful when it comes to abiding by the law and protecting your business. Read on to find out the best legal tips for small businesses and how they could help.

Choose the Right Business Structure

First, you need to make sure that you choose the right business structure and one which will protect your personal assets at risk if you encounter a legal issue. You will be able to protect your personal assets by forming a limited liability partnership or limited company, so it is important to spend some time researching what would be best for you.

Create Contracts for All Agreements

Many business owners make the mistake of not creating contracts for agreements, but this could prove to be costly down the line. This is why contracts need to be drawn up for every single agreement, which also helps to clarify what is expected and should stop any misunderstandings from occurring.

Create Terms and Conditions

Similarly, you need to create Ts&Cs in order to protect the business and to outline what is expected when a consumer enters an agreement with your business. Without this, you are putting yourself at risk of uncertainty and misunderstandings, so you need to establish the rules in order to protect yourself.

Protect Your Intellectual Property

You do not want other companies benefiting from your intelligence and creativity, which is why you need to use trademarks, patents, and copyrights to protect your intellectual property. Additionally, when you create a new idea, product, service, or anything else, then you should always do a patent and trademark search to avoid stealing intellectual property.

Find Reliable Lawyers

It is also important to do your research, find the best corporate lawyers in your area, and consider different potential issues. As an example, you will want to find an expert eminent domain attorney in the event of authorized companies trying to take your private property for public use, and they will be able to fight on your behalf to stop this from happening or secure the best possible amount.

Stay Current With Changing Laws and Regulations

Finally, you need to make sure that you keep up to date with changing laws and regulations as these can change and often. HR will help a business stay compliant and make necessary changes relating to employment law, which will stop you from encountering any issues.

Hopefully, these legal tips will be of use and help you to protect your business. In particular, small businesses need to be wary of the legal issues that can arise from running a business and make sure that they have the best protection in place.

How to Start Your Own Small Business

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Small Business|How to Start Your Own Small BusinessIf you have dreamed about being an entrepreneur and starting your own small business, the process may be easier than you imagined. Since you are not opening a large or medium business, the steps to create your business are much more manageable. You do not have to deal with stock, public trading, large demands for capital, or complex tax or legal issues. Here is what you need to know about taking on this endeavor.

Steps to Starting Your Own Small Business

You can quickly launch your business after completing these steps:

Business Planning

Every business should have a business plan. This is the foundation of your request for outside funding. However, even if you do not require funding from a bank or other financial institution, a business plan can be helpful in creating a roadmap on how to operate and grow your business.

Funding Your Business

You may need some initial capital to start your small business, such as to pay for inventory, equipment, staff, and other needs. You may have several options to fund your business, such as:

  • Using personal funds
  • Asking friends and family to invest
  • Using crowdfunding
  • Borrowing from a bank or other financial institution
  • Seeking out investors

You will want to consider the funds you need to initially start your business, as well as your capital needs for the future. You don’t want to make an initial ask for funds and then have to return to ask for more shortly later.

Pick a Business Location

The location you choose for your business can have a dramatic impact on the potential success – or lack thereof – of your business. The business location you choose can affect your revenue, legal requirements, and taxes. Additionally, if you choose a bad location that is associated with past problems or legal issues, this can negatively impact the community’s perception of your business.

Use appropriate tools to get an address report about locations that you are considering. This can help you to be informed about the location and any potential issues with it.

Select Your Business Structure

The legal structure you select for your business will impact important aspects of your business, including requirements on how to register your business, your potential personal liability, and the amount you pay in taxes. Common types of legal structures for small businesses include:

  • Sole proprietorship – This is the simplest structure to have and if you do not choose any other structure, this will be the default classification for your business. With a sole proprietorship, you do not have any protection from personal liability and your business income is taxed at your individual rate.
  • Partnership – A partnership involves two or more people who are in business together. It is possible to limit personal liability with certain types of partnerships.
  • Limited liability company – A limited liability company has the same types of legal protections as a corporation but provides tax benefits of a partnership.
  • Corporation – A corporation is a separate legal entity from the individual owners. It can own property, pay taxes, enter into contracts, assume liability, and make and defend against legal claims in its own name. Corporations provide protection against personal liability.

You will want to choose the business structure that best suits the needs of your business, now and in the future.

Register Your Business

You will want to register your business to make it legal and to establish a brand for it. You will likely need to register with the government, potentially with the federal, state, and local government. Corporations must file articles of incorporation that identify the business name, its purpose, the legal structure, and other pertinent information.

If you hire employees, you will need an Employer Identification Number.

Acquire Legal Permits and Licenses

You may also be required to obtain various legal permits and licenses to legally operate your business. These vary by your state, location, industry, and other factors. Some trades require you to maintain a professional license. You may also need a permit before you collect sales tax from customers.

Purchase Insurance

Keep yourself protected by purchasing a general business insurance policy. You may also inquire about other types of insurance that may be able to protect you, such as errors and omissions insurance. A competent insurance broker should be able to inform you of your options.

Seek Out Additional Resources

Fortunately, there are many places that you can turn to for assistance and information. The Small Business Administration offers a wealth of information, including many free resources. Many states also have other organizations that provide assistance to small businesses and can help with everything from market research to financial planning. You can also check with the agency where you must register your business for additional assistance.

Conclusion

By following the steps above, you can soon be on your way to starting your own small business and becoming your own boss. Good luck!

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Ben HartwigBen is a Web Operations Executive at InfoTracer who takes a wide view from the whole system. He authors guides by sharing the best practices and does it the right way!

How to Start Your Small Business Online

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Start your small business|How to Start Your Small Business OnlineIn this article, we’re going to discuss why you should place your business in the online world, even if you’re just starting up. Also, you’ll find a list below of helpful pointers that are important considerations when readying your business to go online.

Why you should venture into online business

If you prefer to operate a traditional business in brick-and-mortar, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, you’ll be well served to take into account that the world is changing, and people’s buying patterns are changing as well.

With over four billion users as of July 2020, diving into an online business venture is not a bad idea. This might even be your business’ salvation during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from working remotely, an online business is cost-effective and competitive (based on your marketing strategy). This gives your company, no matter how small, a fighting chance against mammoth industries in your niche.

This is one reason why we recommend starting your online business sooner, rather than later. And here are the five easy steps that you’ll need to do to kick-start your online business:

Five easy steps when starting a small online business

1. Create a business plan

Identify what problem you are solving

Your business is a solution to your potential customers’ problems. But first, you need to define the problem at hand. What problem does your business want to solve? What need do you seek to fulfill?

Take some time to think about whether your skillset solves real-world problems. If it does, check if your competitors offer the same strategies. And if they do, what makes your solutions unique?

This will be your leverage against your competitors. Analyze these factors to see whether your market is thriving or nonexistent.

Manage your startup budget

When you’re starting a small business online, you will need startup capital to cover a range of necessary expenses. For beginners, you need to estimate the budget by having a good guess of your operating expenses.

Pay attention to the expenses that must be covered and make sure they are budgeted. The more cost-effective your startup, the more income you will have to work with.

2. Choose your business structure

When you’re starting your business online, you should define your business structure. You can operate solo (sole proprietorship), or with partners (LLC or corporation).

Sole proprietorship

This is the simplest type of business structure. You can operate this on your own even without filing a lot of paperwork. However, there are risks to this business structure.

Your business won’t have protection from liabilities of debts and business obligations. You will be personally responsible for all of these. That’s why you only choose sole proprietorship when you can handle your business on your own with little need for liability protection.

Limited liability company (LLC)

This business structure allows you to share your business liabilities and obligations with other individuals. If things go south, a LLC protects your personal assets from the liability of business debts.

Through a LLC, you share your liabilities with other individuals. The business is owned by you and these individuals share in profits and liabilities.

Corporation

You’d want to use this business structure if you choose to gain investors for your business. Corporations are like LLCs, but with outside funding possibilities and more personal protection.

In order to interest possible investors in purchasing your stock, you’ll need to arrive at a business arrangement. They will need to trust that your business will deliver. You can close more deals with investors if you know how to write a winning RFP response.

3. Market research and analysis

By the time you write your business plan, you’ve already done your market research. You know what is missing from the puzzle, and how your business can provide this missing piece. But you’ll need to dig deeper in order for your business to succeed.

You need to understand how your target market works. Do market research and analyze their buying patterns, market needs, etc. Know your market’s queries on search engines, what keywords they use, and other competitive advantages that you can use as leverage.

4. Poise yourself as an expert in your field

Contribute to your niche by providing expert ideas and solutions that come from trusted sources. Build your profile in your community. This builds trust between you and your potential consumers.

5. Design and optimize your website

Your website will be your online storefront. This is where you will communicate and exchange products/services online with your consumers. Thus, your website should be customer-friendly in order to give users a good experience. Some tips that you’ll need to keep in mind when designing a website:

  • Keep your website clean and simple
  • Make your website easily navigable
  • Every element on your website should contribute to converting your visitors to sales.

Final word

When you’re starting a small online business, you want to begin with your best foot forward. Get a step ahead of your competitors when you start your online business using these five easy steps!