You've finally made the difficult decision to start your own business. Good for you -- congratulations!
Before you get started down the path to being your own boss, we want to share 5 steps to starting your own business. These are 5 steps you need to consider taking when starting your own business. And while this isn't a complete list (this is a shorter version of our 20 Step New Business Checklist - designed to be less scary and easier to follow), knowing these steps will help you get your new business on the right track.
Step 1 - Hire a Lawyer
Once you get started, questions will arise and many of them will concern the legalities of starting a business. Having a good business lawyer to guide you will save you time, headaches, and money. Yes - hiring a lawyer is not free - but paying a lawyer $1,000 to help you set up your business correctly is a lot better than paying a lawyer $10,000 down the line to fix the problems that could have been avoided. Hiring a lawyer should be the very first step in the process.
Step 2 - Form a Business Entity
Will your business be a corporation, a limited liability company (LLC), or something else? Based on your particular business, individual circumstances, and a variety of different factors, your lawyer will guide you to discover the best way to register your new business.
Step 3 - Don't Forget About Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property, or IP, refers to things like inventions, literary and artistic works or designs, symbols, names and images used in business. IP is protected by law through patents, copyrights, trade secrets, and trademarks - which allow people to earn recognition and/or financial gain from the things they invent or create. (I hope you are starting to see why step number 1 was to hire a lawyer?!)
Step 4 - Contracts, Contracts, Contracts
Properly drafted contracts will give your new business legal protections necessary to maintain a healthy business. Long gone are the days of 'handshake deals'. You're probably an honest and forthright person, but not everybody is. Business needs vary, of course, but in general, there are three types of contracts that your business should have drawn up: 1. a non-disclosure agreement, 2. an independent contractor agreement, and 3. a partnership agreement. Your lawyer can explain the whys and "wherefores" of each type of contract and why they're necessary to protect you legally.
Step 5 - Licenses
Depending on what your business is, licenses and permits are likely legal requirements to getting your business off the ground. Your lawyer will do the research and make sure you have everything you need for your business.
Once you've completed these 5 important steps, you're on your way to beginning your new venture fully prepared, and ready to concentrate on the nitty-gritty. As we mentioned before, check out our Business Toolkit and download the New Business Checklist to ensure you are completely on the right track.
Should you need additionally help, contact us to learn how our innovative services can make your business launch a success while saving you time and worry.
Julian Cordero is an Attorney, Business Strategist, and Music Producer. Oh and he blogs too! Julian is licensed to practice law in New York and is the Managing Attorney of Cordero Law LLC, a New York City based law firm focusing on Business Law, Entertainment Law, and Intellectual Property Law.