STARTING A NEW BUSINESS 101
So you want to start your own business… There are several questions that need to be answered first in order to steer you in the right direction in terms of forming the proper legal entity and for the proper purpose. It is unlawful to operate an unregistered and unlicensed business in the State of Washington. The first place to start is the Washington State Secretary of State to begin the filing and formation process. The Washington State Secretary of State can be reached at http://www.sos.wa.gov/
It is possible to file the required business formation paperwork in Washington. However, it may be a lot more trouble than its worth. Hiring an attorney to file and form your business can save you a lot of headaches, paperwork, minutiae, keep your business filings on time. A mis-step could seriously harm your business.
PROFIT OR NON-PROFIT
This designation only matters in terms of filing and paperwork. You may still draw a salary from a non-profit. The non-profit designation merely sets the corporation’s objective.
It may seem obvious that in order to have a lawful business you must engage in a lawful business. This holds true even if you are conducting business that you do not know is illegal at the time. Ignorance is no defense. If you have any doubts or questions, its is best to seek the advice of an attorney to help trouble shoot any issues that could arise.
PARTNERS, SINGLE OWNER, OR CORPORATION?
Choosing the right ownership platform should be carefully considered. Do you play well with others? Do you work better alone? Do you want someone else to hold you accountable or help you make decisions? If you work better alone, it may be better to have a sole proprietor ship. If you have partners, it may be better to form a partnership.
Whom liability falls on generally pertains to profits, losses, and debts. These are generally shared with the owners of the business. However, a corporation is liable for liability when properly designated as a limited liability company and a limited partnership (LP or LLP) protects the owners from liability when engaged in lawful business purpose. Do you have significant personal or marital assets that you want to protect?
Choosing the right method to handle liability should be done thoughtfully and with assistance from an expert on the matter.
Insurance is a worthwhile and minimal expense in the grand scheme of things. You can protect the issues you would expect. Fire, property, employees, damage, loss, etc. However, you can also insure your receivables from non-payment and expectations. The business world can be unpredictable and insurance prepares you in the event things do not go as you like. Companies like USI Northwest handle a wide range of insurance plans. They can be viewed at http://www.usi.biz/
Checking in with legal counsel or having general counsel in your business is a tremendous asset. Many issues and initiatives live or die once they are presented to counsel. Experienced counsel should steer you clear of liability offer a different analysis as well as identify risk in issues. Flying blind can at times work out, but flying with a clear course and navigated plan is wiser. You want business counsel to understand the law and understand more than the theory of business. A business lawyer with real world application, practical knowledge, and experience should serve you far better than one who operates in theory and lacks application.
The above is not legal advice. It is a set of guidelines and concepts that may be useful in starting your own business. For information regarding starting, purchasing, or ending your business, contact email@example.com
Rhodes Legal Group, PLLC is a Seattle area based law firm that handles business, criminal, civil, and administrative matters. For more information on Rhodes Legal Group, PLLC visit www.rhodeslegalgroup.com or call (206)708-7852