Questions Any New Business Owner Should Ask an Attorney
If you’re starting a new business, no doubt you’ve got your hands full. Merely coming up with a business plan and deciding on the location for your brick-and-mortar location can be time-consuming. Hiring employees, if necessary, can leave you with your head spinning with all there is to do. However, making time for a conversation with a lawyer to ask a few crucial questions can save you a lot of trouble in the future.
Rich Newsome, attorney and partner at Newsome Melton Law, says that he’s answered his fair share of questions for new business owners. “You should have a conversation with an attorney,” Newsome says. “This can save a few headaches down the road.”
Here are a few questions you should ask an attorney before you start a new business. Some of these questions may affect what steps you want to take to establish your business.
How Should I Structure My Business?
An attorney can explain to you the different ways to structure your company and the benefits and drawbacks of each. This lets you know if you need to begin your company as an LLC, an S corporation, or a C corporation.
Should I Use Personal Assets to Get My Business Started?
When it comes to your small business, the line between what’s personal and business can become blurred. However, you should keep personal assets and business assets separate. While it may be tempting to buy office supplies with your personal credit card, this could leave your personal assets at risk in a court of law.
Do I Need a Business License?
This is one of those questions that you should ask an attorney since laws and regulations vary by state, county, and even city. An attorney familiar with local laws can let you know what licenses you need to start your business.
What Kind of Name Should I Choose?
An attorney can advise you which local and state regulations related to the naming of the business. For example, they can let you know the legal implications of choosing a name that is already in use. They can also let you know about the process of obtaining a trademark for your business name.
What About Taxes?
While an attorney probably isn’t going to do your taxes for you, they can let you know the different advantages and disadvantages of deciding on certain structures for your business.
Before you open your doors to your customers, you should have a conversation with an attorney. An attorney can let you know the legal aspects of many points of doing business in your area as well as advise you about the risks you are undertaking. You may even want to go so far as to place an attorney on retainer if you can afford it. You never know when a legal issue may crop up that only an attorney can answer.