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So you've weighed the pros and cons of incorporation and you've decided to take the next step and form your small business as an LLC. As you move down your LLC to-do list, you see: "File your LLC's Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State office in your state."

Wait, what are articles of organization? And how are they important to your business? Here's a quick background and a few tips on writing and filing your LLC's articles of organization.

Congratulations! It looks like your Etsy business is booming. Sales are so high you're considering getting a partner or even hiring employees.

However, before you do any of that, have you incorporated your business? Do you need to?

For business owners, incorporating a business can have tax benefits and ensure limited liability, but it can also be a hassle. Here are the pros and cons of incorporating a business:

The large cash deposits smell like marijuana, so some of the businesses are spraying the cash with room freshener or perfume to hide the marijuana smell. ... The banks are even more suspicious when they have a person trying to deposit a large cash deposit that smells like perfume.

That's Colorado State Senator David Balmer, describing how the state was ill-prepared for a booming recreational marijuana industry. For all the talk about a tax windfall from legalized and regulated pot sales, one not-so-minor detail had been left out: How will marijuana businesses bank their money?

As one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana sales, Colorado is a valuable test case for pot banking -- both in terms of early missteps and possible ways forward for a burgeoning but legally tenuous economy.

Small Business 101: What Is 'Equity' in a Company?

As you know, starting and operating a business takes money. And one of the many tough decisions business owners must make is whether that money should come from debt or from equity.

Most people are probably familiar with debt, whether from credit cards, car loans or home mortgages. A business loan is no different: You borrow money in exchange for the promise to repay it under agreed-upon conditions. Loans allow a business owner to maintain complete control over a business, but also require regular payments regardless of how the business is doing; they also often require a business owner to put up personal assets as collateral. That's why some business owners decide to raise business capital by securing equity investments in their company.

But what is equity?

Top 3 Legal Tips for Freelancers

With the job market tighter than ever, more and more Americans are turning to freelancing as a way to put their skills to use.

According to freelance worker advocacy group the Freelancers Union, a recent survey found that 53 million Americans are freelancing, working as independent contractors for clients as a "small business" of one. But along with unique benefits -- such as scheduling flexibility, being able to choose the projects you work, and being your own boss -- there are also several legal issues that freelancers in particular should be aware of.

Here are three legal tips for freelancers to follow:

"Public benefit corporations" may sound like charitable organizations, but they're actually a great way for small businesses to make a difference while staying in the black.

Take the Curious Iguana bookstore as an example. It opened last September in Frederick, Maryland, under the state's benefit corporation statute, choosing to hold itself to strict standards of charitable giving, environmental impact, and employee welfare, reports Southwest: The Magazine.

Where else is this type of corporate structure available, and what are the benefits of your small business becoming a "public benefit corporation?"

Small business owners who incorporate may wonder if their company is considered a "closely held corporation," especially in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby decision.

As you probably know, closely held corporations like the craft-store chain Hobby Lobby are now eligible for an exemption from Obamacare's contraceptive mandate, so knowing the distinction can have real legal consequences.

So what exactly is a closely held corporation?

How Did Hobby Lobby Win at the Supreme Court?

At the center of today's U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby are three family-owned businesses: Hobby Lobby, Mardel, and Conestoga Wood Specialties.

The businesses were ultimately successful in their suits to avoid providing post-conception contraception to employees as mandated by Obamacare (aka the Affordable Care Act), Reuters reports.

How did these businesses prevail in front of the nation's highest court? Here's an overview of the three-step legal analysis that won their case:

American Apparel CEO Dov Charney has been ousted pending investigations of sexual misconduct, leaving the clothing company to pick up the pieces. The lesson for small businesses: You may need a CEO succession plan.

Charney's "highly sexualized" private life often seeped into his role with American Apparel, leading to his eventual ouster and replacement by company CFO John Luttrell, reports the Los Angeles Times. Charney's departure also has the potential to put the company in a financial tailspin.

So can a CEO succession plan help you avoid an American Apparel-type disaster?

CEOs can resign or be removed like any other employee, yet your business needs a plan if its leadership is going to step down.

Just today, Reuters reports that Target removed CEO Gregg Steinhafel after massive data breaches during the holiday season made headlines. While Target is many times larger than your small business, a CEO's departure can raise similar issues.

When the head of your business is gone, here are some simple but necessary next steps for your company: