New Business Owner? Your Top 5 Legal Questions Answered

Americans started nearly 5.5 million new businesses last year, according to the U.S. Business Formation Statistics. This is an 8% increase from the year before and more than double the number of new businesses founded in 2012.

Naturally, when entrepreneurship is on the rise, there will be many new business owners facing unknowns and wondering about their legal responsibilities and rights. This blog will answer some of the most common legal questions new business owners have.

Top 5 Legal Questions for New Business Owners

What business structure should I choose?

One of the most basic questions new business owners will have to answer is how to structure their start-up business. There are significant differences between sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations.

For example, corporations and LLCs offer owners personal liability protection that other structures do not. An experienced business law attorney can consult with you and help you decide which structure is best suited to meet your needs and concerns.

Do I need permits and licenses?

Depending on your new business venture, you may need permission to operate from local, state, and federal authorities. For example, if you intend to open a bar or restaurant, you will likely need one or more state licenses before you can open your doors.

Failing to obtain these permits and licenses can lead to fines, penalties, and the shuttering of your business.

How do I protect my business name and ideas?

Your intellectual property, including your business name, logo, and ideas for products or services, is valuable. Protect it with trademarks and copyrights as needed to dissuade others from copying your ideas and profiting from them.

Registering trademarks and copyrights can be challenging, especially for new business owners. An attorney’s assistance can prove valuable and worth the investment.

What contracts do I need for my business?

Your business will need contracts for everything from leasing a business space to securing goods and services from vendors to selling products to customers. However, you will want to ensure your contracts are specifically tailored to your needs and protect your interests.

For example, if your business has one or more trade secrets or you intend to employ highly specialized employees, you may want to require them to sign a non-disclosure or non-compete agreement. Other businesses, like restaurants and retail establishments, may not need these agreements.

A skilled business law attorney can advise you on what contracts your operation will likely need and help you draft them quickly.

What employment laws do I need to know?

If you intend to have any employees or people working for you, you need to have a grasp of relevant employment laws. These state and federal statutes address employee relation issues like:

  • Minimum wage and overtime
  • Paying employees regularly for the work they perform
  • Allowing leave for certain life events and illnesses
  • Avoiding certain employment actions like termination or discipline if they are motivated by discriminatory intentions

Once again, a skilled attorney can examine the specifics of your business enterprise and advise you on what employment laws apply to you. This knowledge alone can help you avoid costly penalties and lawsuits.

The Importance of an Experienced Pittsburgh Business Law Attorney

When you are just starting your business, it is critical that you get your questions answered by a knowledgeable business law attorney. Not only can an attorney provide you with accurate and up-to-date answers to your questions, but it can also give you the answers to other questions you may not have thought about asking.

Your business can not only survive but thrive. Having solid legal support from an experienced Pittsburgh business law firm to guide you along the way is crucial to achieving that goal.

More to Read: