Cost effectively meeting the legal needs of small businesses, from start to finish and in between. We can help set up your business, help you select the right form of ownership and taxation, and direct what happens to your business if something happens to you. Our Small Business Practice will help you prevent and solve the problems business owners face on a daily basis, and those arising only occasionally.
Grandma often said to me, “Begin as you mean to go on.” She was talking about marriage and personal relationships, but her advice is equally relevant to business ventures. It’s about setting expectations, but mostly it’s about communicating expectations. When you and your co-owners know what is expected, the relationship will work better. Is there a dollar limit on purchase authority of one owner acting alone? Who makes hiring decisions? What can those outside the relationship expect? These and more are the issues we help you work through as you start a business. The time you invest in the beginning will save you time over the life of the business. More importantly, it will make your business, and therefore your life, run more smoothly.
Contracts are a method of defining obligations in a relationship. Not every business transaction (read, contract) needs a written contract – you shouldn’t expect to read and sign a ten page contract before you buy a cup of coffee. But, a contract for a year’s supply of coffee in writing is a good idea, whether it’s for personal consumption or for your coffee shop business. Does the personal supply of coffee include cups, creamer, sugar, and if so, how much? How many cups a day can you have? Is there a credit for days you have no coffee? Can you get coffee at any time, or are you limited to specific peak or non-peak hours? If it’s your business, how much coffee is a year’s supply? Whatever you think you need, or whatever the supplier thinks you need? What happens if you end up needing less coffee than you thought, or the supplier can’t get you all you need? Whatever the answers are, having thought of the questions in advance helps the contract more accurately reflect what you do need and want. Written contracts reduce confusion and dispute and help streamline the dispute resolution process if a dispute does arise. Professional preparation of a written contract is a cost effective way to protect your business.
One thing we all have in common: death. Hopefully not today, but one day, all of us will die. Even you. Whether you’re the sole owner or have co-owners, you should plan to have your business survive you. So, who’s going to run your business? How are they going to get paid to do it? How is your family going to get paid for (or from) the business? Succession planning helps you answer these questions in a way best suited to your business and family situation.
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Buying a Small Business