Are you thinking about launching a new business in 2014? If so, you need to set the right legal foundation or risk costly consequences down the road. Here are five legal tips for entrepreneurs:
- Find a legal adviser. The best time to have a business lawyer is when you’re just starting out. He or she can advise you on the best entity for your new business that can help save you on taxes and help you manage risk. Developing the right legal relationship now can save you time and money.
- Create a legal plan. Having a business legal plan at the outset will answer questions that may cause concern for your company in the future. Address issues like business succession, buy-sell agreements, asset protection and intellectual property protection before they become an issue.
- Put everything in writing. Entrepreneurs that are lax in executing written agreements with partners, employees, vendors and customers are laying a firm foundation for a business dispute – one in which you are unlikely to prevail without a written agreement.
- Protect everything. If it matters to your business, it’s worth protecting with a patent, trademark or copyright. Use a trademark monitoring service to see if anyone is infringing on your brands.
- Pay attention to employment law. Federal and state laws govern the employer-employee relationship and you could run afoul of these if you classify an employee as a contractor. Your legal adviser can help you stay out of trouble with the IRS.
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