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Small Business Legal Issues

Should you structure your new startup as a Limited Company, a sole trader, or a private partnership? What impact will that decision have on your tax situation? What are the must-have components of a partnership agreement? Get up to speed quickly with our selection of articles on incorporation, company structure, and other small business legal issues.

 

Protect Your Ideas*

Build it, then sell it People often ask if they can sell an idea for a new product or service to a company that will implement it. But ideas that can’t be protected are worth relatively little. I don’t mean necessarily legally protected, but at the very least, protected with marketing momentum, image, and awareness. [...]

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Simple and Enforceable Contracts*

Crafting Simple Agreements Although lots of contracts are filled with mind-bending legal gibberish, there’s no reason why this has to be true. For most contracts, legalese is not essential or even helpful. On the contrary, the agreements you’ll want to put into a written contract are best expressed in simple, everyday English. All that is [...]

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Sole Trader Basics*

What the sole trader needs to know A sole trader is a business that is owned by one person (and sometimes his or her spouse) and that isn’t registered as a corporation or a limited liability company. Sole proprietorships are so easy to set up and maintain that you may already own one without knowing [...]

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Getting Investors and Protecting Your Idea*

Expect imitations I don’t think you really can protect a business idea in any practical way. If it is a good idea it will be copied. That’s in the nature of business. Your only hope is to launch it yourself and execute the idea so well that your imitators are scared off. Please, Business ideas [...]

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Financing While Maintaining Equity*

When starting a new business you may need start-up funds but lack the money to invest yourself. What are your options, can it be done without losing equity in the company? Start off by thinking about it from the other side. If you had £500,000, what would make you want to give it to you [...]

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Corporation Basics*

What to think about when incorporating Most people have heard that forming a corporation provides “limited liability” — that is, it limits your personal liability for business debts. What you may not know is that there’s more to creating and running a corporation than filing a few papers. You’ll need to keep excellent records to [...]

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Creating a Partnership Agreement*

If you and your partners don’t spell out your rights and responsibilities in a written partnership agreement, you’ll be ill-equipped to settle conflicts when they arise, and minor misunderstandings may erupt into full-blown disputes. How a partnership agreement helps your business A partnership agreement allows you to structure your relationship with your partners in a [...]

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Plan for Changes in Partnership Ownership With a Buy-Sell Agreement*

Partnership Buy-outs Many business partners overlook a critical element of their partnership agreement that can save them both money and angst: buy-sell provisions. When you create buy-sell, or buyout, provisions for your partnership agreement, you and your partners can prepare for events that have been the downfall of more than a few successful small businesses [...]

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Plan for Ownership Changes With Shareholders *

The Shareholders Agreement While diligently filing articles of incorporation and adopting bylaws, many company owners overlook a critical element of their business relationship: buy-sell, or buyout, provisions. By creating a shareholders’ agreement with buy-sell provisions, the owners of a small, privately held corporation can prepare for events that have been the downfall of more than [...]

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Seven Steps to Starting Your own Business *

Starting your own business can be a daunting task. Here are seven steps that can start you in the right direction. Step 1: Personal evaluation. Begin by taking stock of yourself and your situation. Why do you want to start a business? Is it money, freedom, creativity, or some other reason? What skills do you [...]

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