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Legal Questions to Ask Your Attorney Before You Start a Business

The decision to start a business is one that you must take seriously. Many businesses fail within the first five years, often because they did not follow a feasible plan. As the pandemic slows, this could be the ideal time to open a new business. Before you start a business, there are some essential questions you should ask an attorney. An experienced business lawyer will assist you with the steps of opening a new business and help you if you run into problems or disputes.

What Type of Business Structure is Best?

There are many types of business structures to choose from including individual ownership, partnership, and incorporations, among others. One of the factors to consider is your liability or exposure should the business fail or run into legal problems. As a sole proprietor, you alone have control over the decisions of the business; however, you could also be personally liable in the event of failure. You could end up losing your personal assets. A partnership or incorporation may be a better option. Before you make this critical decision, consult with a skilled business lawyer. Your attorney will review your particular situation and give you some of the pros and cons so you can make an informed choice.

How Do I Choose a Name for My Business?

Choosing a name for your business can be a difficult process. You want your business name to reflect your type of products or services and be easy to recall. Your business name will be with you for many years to come, so you want to make sure that you have a legal right to it. The last thing you want to do is spend a year or two building your company only to find out that your business name is the same, or similar to another. To avoid this problem, you will need to research your potential business name. Once you choose a name, properly register your company. You can also choose to trademark your business name to protect it from future problems.

Does My Business Need to Use Contracts?

Contracts are an essential part of most businesses. Generally, whenever you provide goods or services to customers, you should have a contract in place. The contract protects both you and your clients and ensures that you both understand the services that you will provide. A contract spells out the exact details of the transaction and also offers a way to make a payment schedule. Contracts are legal documents, so make certain that you create them with help from a business attorney. You will also need to use contracts for other aspects of your business, such as procuring materials and services. If someone presents you with a contract, make sure that you read it through completely and have your attorney review it also. Remember that you can propose and negotiate changes to contracts to protect your business.

How Can I Minimize My Business Risks?

Owning and operating a business comes with some inherent risks. You need to protect your business from potential foreseeable problems.  Proper business formation will give you a stable basis that immediately helps to reduce potential liability. Make sure that the contracts you utilize provide adequate protection. You will also want to maintain insurance. Review and assess your risks on a regular basis to address any new risks. Consult with a business attorney to discuss your needs and for assistance in starting and operating a new business.

To learn more about starting and operating a new business, seek legal help. Contact our legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. online or by phone at (608) 784-8310 for an initial consultation.

Published May 7, 2021
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