Questions to Ask an Attorney Before You Open Your Doors for Business
Did you know that nearly half of all small businesses fail within the first five years? While most of these failures are related to financial issues, many can be avoided by seeking out expert advice. For example, there are certain legal questions to ask an attorney before you start. As a business owner, you will be more vulnerable to lawsuits, accidents, and law violations.
Before you open your doors, ask your attorney the following questions.
1. How Should I Structure My Business?
As a small business owner, you need to learn to ask legal questions that will heavily impact your finances and business model. For example, there are many ways to form your business:
- C Corporation
- S Corporation (for smaller businesses)
- Limited Liability Company
- Sole Proprietorship
Each business structure has various pros and cons. Ultimate, it comes down to the type of business you want to start. However, these are vital questions to ask an attorney to make sure you are making the right move in terms of protection, function, and finances.
2. What Licenses or Certifications Do I Need?
Before you open up shop, you need to make sure your business is operating 100 percent within the confines of the law. A small business attorney will make sure you have everything you need to prevent any lawsuits or fines from the city.
For example, you will need a business license from the city and an EIN (employer identification number). The EIN is the code you will need for filing taxes.
Depending on your business, you may also need additional certifications or licenses. For example, contractors, fitness trainers, and health professional are all required to have certifications outside of their business licenses.
3. What Type of Insurance Should I Get?
When you start a small business, you need to make sure you and your assets are protected. A small business attorney can help guide you through the different types of insurance policies you will need and how much coverage you should get.
For example, if you have employees, you need to think about several factors, such as workers compensation, should any of them get injured on the job. However, you also need to think about protecting. If there was a fire, break-in, theft, or another scenario that led to the damage or loss of equipment, documents, supplies, or inventory, and you cannot afford to pay for it out of pocket.
4. Do I Need a Contract for Working With Business Partners or Independent Contractors?
There are other questions to ask an attorney if you are planning on working with partners, independent contractors, or businesses. You will want a lawyer for a business startup to help you hack out the details of legally binding contracts.
A small business attorney can help you draw up a contract that protects all parties involved. It will line out everything from individual obligations to settling disputes.
5. What Do I Need to Know If I Hire Employees?
Finally, you will want a small business attorney if you are planning on hiring employees. They will help you create an employee handbook or a list of policies that dictate employee expectations, fair treatment, conduct, consequences, and more.
You may also want to ask your attorney about the best way to protect yourself against lawsuits from disgruntled, injured, or fired employees.
Do You Have Any More Questions to Ask an Attorney?
Starting a small business is no small feat. However, keeping it alive and thriving is even harder. For your best chances of success, we recommend coming up with a list of questions to ask an attorney to make sure your business is free and clear of any potential issues.
We can help. Contact us today to discuss your business and learn how to start off on the right foot.