I know, I know..... a lawyer?Is this trip really necessary? Maybe.....
Let's talk about the types of business that might need protection from frivolous lawsuits and other weird and wonderful things that could happen, like somebody trips on your doorstep, or...?
If you own a small business, sooner or later
you're going to need one. In spite of the popular misconception, they do more than just solve problems. Find one who is experienced in small-business, who can help you start your business, look over and negotiate proposed leases, and prepare various business contracts you may need.
S/he can also help you comply with regulations on everything about finance and credit, if you need to incorporate and zoning regulations for your store-front location.
Don't think that you can take the first one that you talk to. They don't all have the expertise you need. You're going to have to do some searching to find the right one.
Get some referrals from accountants, bankers, successful small-business owners, and maybe some trusted friends.
What is the best way to find a lawyer
specializing in home-based business?
Start with checking your local BAR Associations, state, federal, provincial, etc. Check on the internet and search for "legal help for home-based business."
In the U.S. you can go on the Web to www.findlaw.com and you'll have instant access to thousands of lawyers. You can search by city and state, and several results come up within the area you specify, with details of each firm's background, areas of practice, published works, lawyers on staff, etc.
But to find a lawyer you can like and trust is another
matter entirely and can be difficult.
I still think you'd be further ahead to get referrals as suggested above. Some local small business owners would probably be a good source to check with. They can tell you, and probably will,the good or bad things about the lawyers they have dealt with or maybe are still using
I get asked every year by hundreds of small busines owners if they should incorporate. That is a very indivualized question that needs to be answered by your local accountant. There is just too many variables to give a blanket answer to that question.
Having said that, if you're going to take all the time, trouble and expense of starting a business, you need to make sure your company is structured so that it protects your interests and fits your goals.
If you ever have a legal problem, you'll need someone knowledgeable to advise you.
Lawyers are not as expensive as you might think,
and the value you'll get is significant.
What does DBA mean?
"DBA" stands for "doing business as," and it's is just another name for your business.
Sometimes people use different corporate and business names.
An example of this is, "Brown Inc." could be the corporate name, with "Bob Brown's Interior Decorating" as the business name. So legally this business is "Brown Inc. doing business as Bob Brown's Interior Decorating."
Does a corporation protect me from liability?
If it is set up right, then yes. You may have heard that you can't be sued personally for anything that happens in the corporation and your personal assets can't be attacked by creditors or a lawsuit on the corporation. Well that's true, but to have this protection, you must be and act like a corporation.
. You must have board meetings
. take notes
. publish minutes in your corporation book
. have a separate corporate checking account
. corporate credit cards (if you need them)
So, to be treated like a corporation, you must act like one.
Your lawyer can fill you in on more about this.
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