New Year New Business? Legal Advice to Seek When Starting a Business

By Dominique Shields

Hello future entrepreneurs! Did you plan on starting the year off with a business venture? Are you sitting on a good business idea and don’t know which steps to take first? Well a good place to start is with the legal stuff. And to help you out, I have a few questions you need to ask yourself, and find the answer, so you can get a jump-start on building your business.


How do I protect my intellectual property?

When I say intellectual property, I mean anything from your ideas and names to the logos. If someone comes along and tries to copy you, what could you do other than be upset and say you had it first? Ways to protect your intellectual property is copyrights and trademarks. For more information on protecting your intellectual property, visit here.


Trademarks; how do I file for them?

The first thing you should do before you start filing for trademarks is check to make sure no one else did it already. Check out this website that lets you search all trademarks. Trademarks are a vital part of business because not only are you getting the name, but also things like social media handles and web domains. The online application process takes about 90 minutes and it will cost you between $275 and $325. That might seem like a steep price, but as I said, trademarks are a vital part of business and someone else could profit off your name. If think you may need to keep your day job to save more and be more ready, check out this article for some help.


What should my business structure look like?

Your business structure will show the type of business you are and how it will be classified. There are 5 different types of ways to structure your business, so it’s best that you carefully choose the best fit for your business. The structures are corporation (for large companies who already have some type of establishment in their market), cooperative (people from social, economic, or professional commonalities come together to create a service that meets all their needs), partnership (many different types, like general, limited, and jointed; some benefits is shared responsibility and they’re easy and cheap), s corporation ( similar to the type I mentioned earlier, the main difference is avoiding being taxed twice - for the corp and the shareholders), and lastly sole proprietorship (simply going into business alone and being solely responsible for all assets and liabilities).


Any employment regulations I need to follow?

Okay, your employees. You have to make sure everything is in order for your employees because they too are an important part of your business because without them who would do the work? So there are 7 steps to hiring your first set of employees. They are as follows: obtain an employee identification number, set up your record for tax withholding, get verified for employee eligibility, register with the new hire reporting program, get workers compensation insurance, inform employees of their rights, and file your taxes. For more information about these regulations, click here.

Now you’re well equipped with the right questions and on your way to becoming a business owner. Do more research, make sure I didn’t leave anything out, and good luck with your business ventures!