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Posts from the ‘Business Start-Up’ Category

How to Start a Business: A Checklist

Ok, so you’re ready to start-up your business — either online, home based, or (the old-fashioned way) in a brick-and-mortar building.  What do you need to do to make sure you’re operating legally?  Here is a checklist of some essential first steps:

√  Get a Business License

Contact your local government to find out what sort of license is required for the type of business you plan to open.  Most cities and counties now have websites where you can download the application forms, as well as get further information.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you have a home business you don’t need a license — most cities will require one and can impose penalties if you fail to get a license or you wait until after you’ve already been doing business for a while.  Some local governments even have arrangements with state tax authorities to check returns for home-based business income generated by unlicensed businesses.

Also, check to make sure your business complies with local zoning requirements, especially if you are operating from your home.  Finally, make sure you have the permits necessary for your particular type of business operation (e.g., food preparation, liquor sales, daycare, etc.).  Again, you can get this information from your city or county website, or by contacting your local government office or town hall. Read more

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5 Reasons a Small Business Owner Should Talk to a Lawyer

A small business owner needs a lawyer like  . . .  a fish needs a bicycle? I know that’s what a lot of business owners think. When told they should get legal advice, they react with disgust, horror, panic, fear, or some combination of those emotions.  And for good reason.  Going to a lawyer’s office can be intimidating.  Getting a lawyer to pay attention and give practical advice can be daunting.  And thinking about  all the money it might cost is completely overwhelming.  So lots of people try to get around this.  They ask a friend or relative for advice.  They try to do it themselves (maybe with some online help).  Or — by far the most popular — they ignore the problem and hope it goes away.

I understand. In my career, I have hired and supervised dozens of attorneys on hundreds of matters.  I was often frustrated with the level of service they provided.  I was ALWAYS frustrated with the cost.   But if you are starting up a business, or running a business with employee, contracts or other legal needs (which, let’s face it, is pretty much EVERY business), there are at least 5 good reasons you should bite the bullet and get professional legal help.  Why?  Because: Read more