So, you’re an aspiring entrepreneur? Awesome! I bet you’ve got a TON of great ideas you’ve been wanting to execute on for years… but, here’s a question I wanna ask.
If that question made you think “shoot, I really have to get on that”, don’t worry this blog will help you cover all the legal bases for your business in no time! I got my friend, Mairin Van Shura, an attorney turned CEO with over 14 years of legal experience, to share her insight with us on the legalities of starting a business. Read on to learn more!
📌Pin this blog for later!📌
First up, let’s tackle the question that’s been buzzing in your mind…
Aside from the obvious answer that it will keep you safe from having a run-in with the law… tidying up the legal side of your business also saves you time and money.
How? Think about it. Getting sued costs a fortune. Settling a lawsuit takes time and a whole lot of energy.
Can you really afford to waste these resources when you’re just starting your business? I don’t think so. That’s why it’s better for you get all the legal stuff correct the first time around. Agree?
If you want to start your business the right way legally, here’s what Mairin suggests you should do:
Below are five of the most common business types, pick one and get started:
🌟 Sole Proprietorship
Like the name says, this type of business is under the full control of one person. It’s also the easiest type to set up. If you like running things solo, this may be for you.
Got a business buddy you want to work with? Sign up for a partnership! This type lets you and a friend (or friends) share both responsibilities and profit.
🌟 Limited Partnership
Do you plan on working with an investor while you handle the front lines? This business type may be what you’re looking for.
Do you plan on running a business with many shareholders? If that’s the case, your business is most suited to be a corporation. It’s more complex to set up than the other types, but hey! It’s not rocket science either.
🌟 Limited Liability Company (LLC)
This is one of the most popular choices for new entrepreneurs. Why? It keeps you safe from added liability. This means that if ever your company runs into trouble… your personal assets stay protected. You won’t need to empty your bank account in the event of a lawsuit!
If you’re still unsure which one to pick, talk to your accountant. They can help you select the best type that suits your business goals and management style.
The main purpose of having a service agreement ― in writing ― is to set your client’s expectations. It also acts as your liability shield (so you don’t get sued!) AND helps make sure that you get paid.
Here’s one of many scenarios. Let’s say you offered your services on an installment plan with one client. After three months, your client decides to ghost you.
Now, who will you hold accountable for that? …When you and your client didn’t have any formal agreement in the first place?
See what I mean?
As an entrepreneur, you already know how vital a website is to your business. But… have you taken time to go over the terms & conditions, privacy policies, and disclaimers on your site? If you haven’t yet, do it now! Here’s why it matters:
🌟 Terms & Conditions
This is your website’s rule book. It sets the rules on how web visitors can use your site content (images, copy, logos, etc.). The terms and conditions also dictate the kind of behavior you allow on your website. Think of it also as a way to protect your intellectual property.
This tidbit is a legal requirement for your website. It talks about how your website collects and stores data from all your web visitors and users.
Besides not following the correct actions legally, your payment processing site (like Stripe or PayPal) may withhold your payment! Oh no!
Almost every website has one in place. Yours should too! What it does is limit your liability to any outcome from the use of your business website. Or, from the misuse of your products and services. If you don’t want to get sued for something that isn’t obviously your fault, you need this set up ASAP!
Not sure what to write for these sections? There are a lot of templates you can use as reference online. Pick a few that resonate with your brand and get writing!
What is a trademark anyway? Well, for starters, it is something that you want people to associate you with. I figured you would have other questions about using a trademark, so I rounded up the answers for you:
🌟 What do trademarks do?
It eliminates consumer confusion. Using a trademark shields you from people who want to make use of your logo, name, or services for personal gain.
🌟 What and when do you need to trademark?
It’s more suited for products, services, or courses that you will be selling for a loooong period of time. If you’re going to do a one-time product launch, you don’t really need to trademark that.
The process of signing up for a trademark can be long and winding, but it is worth it. After all, you don’t want all your hard work stolen from you, right?
🌟 How much does it cost to trademark?
Fees start at $240 up to $1000. Yes, it’s costly, but think about how much it would save you from having to deal with copycats!
So, what do you think? Already got all your legal ducks in a row? Preparing all these legal documents can be a long process. But, it will make running your business much easier in the future.