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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Starting Your Own Business: The Basics

Embarking on a new business enterprise is indeed exciting. While it is tempting to move quickly to build the business, it is imperative that the owner/operator take care of certain details early on. Doing so will help to ensure eventual success.

After initially setting up the corporation or limited liability company, it is important to turn one’s attention to the contract issues which typically confront businesses. Perhaps the first one which needs to be tackled is the commercial/office lease. It is essential that the terms of the lease be reviewed carefully. Many items, such as real estate tax escalations, the ability to sublet, and responsibility for repairs, are extremely important in determining the financial viability of the lease. Often, these types of issues can be negotiated successfully when handled by an experienced attorney.

If you are starting your business with one or more partners, then having a shareholder or operating agreement is absolutely necessary. Such an agreement serves to define the roles of the various parties, the division of profits, and the procedure to be followed if a partner dies, retires or otherwise wishes to leave the business.

When hiring employees, it is imperative to have a written confidentiality and non-compete agreement, to protect the company’s intellectual property, customer lists, and the like, and to prevent employees who leave from taking business with them. An employee handbook is also important in delineating what is expected of employees and what benefits they can expect to earn.

Depending on the type of business you have, you will likely need written agreements in place, ones which detail the services or products you supply, with the prices, delivery methods, and payment terms clearly specified. Having agreements memorialized in writing can prove quite effective in avoiding payment problems and other disputes.

In summary, starting a business can be a wonderful experience. It can be made less difficult and more productive if one knows in advance what legal and business issues are likely to arise and has a plan to resolve them at the outset. Having an experienced attorney guide you through the process can prove invaluable and save the business owner a great deal of time, trouble and money down the road.

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