Small Business Starting a Business - Free Enterprise

Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Recently in Starting a Business Category

It's never easy going into business for yourself, by yourself. But at the same time, it's never been easier. On the one hand, it's up to you to create the business plan, do market and competitor research, incorporate your business, secure funding, and handle the day-to-day business decisions. On the other hand, there are more free, online resources for taking care of all that than ever before.

But just because you can go solo as an entrepreneur, doesn't mean you necessarily should. Here are a few things to consider before becoming a "solopreneur."

The term 'due diligence' is something that most business owners should be familiar with. But the concept of 'human rights due diligence' is often overlooked. Quite simply, businesses need to be aware of possible human rights violations in order to avoid facing backlash from customers. For example, think about the clothing industry: major brands face pressures from consumers to not only keep their prices reasonable, but to also produce their products without using sweatshops.

Human rights due diligence requires businesses to look at the impact they have on the human rights of their employees, consumers, and everyone in their supply chain. While factory workers assembling a product in the US may have good jobs, benefits, and a decent standard of living, the lives of the overseas workers on the supply-chain might be living in poverty. Even if your business does not employ workers overseas, if your suppliers do, consumers may not see a difference.

Married small business owners often overlook a common reason why some businesses fail: divorce. In most states, one spouse's small business can be considered a marital asset or marital property. When a couple divorces, assets need to be divided, and that small business can be a couple's largest asset. That's why it's important to make sure your business is divorce proof from the outset.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect a small business after a divorce has been filed. Nonetheless, it is a good idea to protect the business from division before divorce happens. To understand your situation, you first need to know if your business will be separate or community property.

If you forgot to divorce-proof your business before filing for divorce, your only option may be to give up other assets, such as the house, cars, or retirement accounts in order to maintain control of your business.

Most entrepreneurs start and end their careers as a sole proprietor. However, the more successful ones eventually incorporate, and the most successful ones start, run, and sell, multiple businesses at the same time. For the serial entrepreneur, there is no one right way to go about structuring multiple businesses.

Sometimes a serial entrepreneur will have multiple businesses all focused in one industry. For instance, a surf shop owner may own the surf store, as well as make surf boards, bikinis, offer surf lessons, sponsor a professional surf team, and make surfing videos. Apart from being one of the most motivated surfers to ever ride a wave, this serial entrepreneur would really benefit knowing the different kinds of corporate structures and how to structure multiple businesses.

Whether it's the grind of your 9-to-5 or the allure of making it on your own, you may be considering taking your talents on the road as a freelancer. The good news is that it's probably easier than ever to find a freelancing gig; the bad news is that it can still be hard to make a living freelancing. Remember, you'll be in charge of everything, from client acquisition and retention to production to contracts.

Here are some legal issues to consider when pondering the leap from employee to freelancer.

We're guessing you didn't go into business to get buried in paperwork. You may be thinking that a bunch of legalese will only bog your startup down, but the right set of contracts will serve to clarify things down the road. And putting the work in early will only mean a clearer path to success ahead.

Clear and concise contracts can be the difference between smooth sailing and a storm of litigation, so here are five tips regarding startup contracts, from our archives:

What to Include in a Startup Prenup

It's never a good idea to partner up with a colleague or family member based on a handshake and your word. Just ask the lawyers who get tasked with sorting out the mess after the partnership hits an iceberg and sinks. If you consult an attorney before entering a partnership or starting a business with one or more other people, the most important thing you'll be told is to put the agreement in writing.

The current trend for startups to get a prenup is nothing new. The only new part of this trend is calling the written agreement a prenup. It has always been advisable to make sure any partnership agreements are in writing. But what you need to include in your agreement can vary depending on who you'll be working with, what you'll be working on, and how you'll be making or spending money.

Starting a company isn't just opening the doors, cutting a ribbon, and getting to work. There are a lot of legal i's to dot and t's to cross, and, like any legal process, that can create a slew of paperwork. So how do you figure out which documents are essential and which may only slow your startup down?

Here are five standard legal document your startup will need, and why.

If you haven't noticed, marijuana laws in this country are changing rapidly. Four states have already legalized recreational pot possession, and a slew of others now allow medical marijuana for those with a prescription. And for those with an entrepreneurial mind, changes in the law mean business opportunities.

But just because your state has legalized it today, doesn't mean your weed retailer can open its doors tomorrow. Several states have set up significant barriers to entry into the medical marijuana market, and if you ain't got the dough, you may be out of luck.

International entrepreneurs starting businesses in the U.S. may see a few impediments to immigration removed under a new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rule. The International Entrepreneur Rule would grant qualifying foreign nationals temporary immigration relief if their entry into the country "would provide a significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation."

While the Obama administration's proposed rule is not yet final, it also does not require Congressional approval. So to whom would the International Entrepreneur Rule apply and how would it work?