This article contains essential advice about legal matters for anyone aiming to start or build a business in North Carolina. It includes advice about
- The advantages of working with a local North Carolina business attorney.
- The options and legal frameworks available for creating a business in North Carolina.
- Basic proactive measures you can take to protect your business from potential future lawsuits and litigation.
One of the most important foundations for any new enterprise is legal security. All of the paperwork and legal preparation that goes into starting and structuring a business can help make it a success and protect it, and you, against failure and litigation.
Trying to start a business without the help of an experienced law firm or attorney would be like trying to build a home without laying a strong foundation, everything might seem to be going great…until it all starts to fall apart.
What Areas Of A Business Does A Law Firm Assist With?
Business law firms in North Carolina exist to assist business owners and entrepreneurs with the organization of their businesses. This can include everything from planning ahead to organizing the structure of your business.
From essential details like filing the documents required to get you started all the way to setting you up with resources and offering help to establish a location and identify professional services like certified public accountants, a law firm functions as a reliable source of support at every step of the way. In fact, your attorney can even offer niche assistance like recommendations for payroll or cleaning services.
Much of what law firms do for new business owners is help them take a concept from the idea stage to reality. This includes working through your goals, how to organize your approach, and finding the right structure. But most importantly, it means going over your approach and ideas to identify any possible legal ramifications.
Regardless of whether you are making a website or selling a product in person, you will need to understand what legal liabilities are at play and how to minimize them. For example, identifying what disclaimers you need to put on your website and helping you craft them, or picking out what kinds of contracts you will need with your employees or subcontractors.
A business is only as strong as its legal foundation, especially as it grows. Working with a North Carolina business law firm is the best way to ensure you build it well to get the best chance of realizing your vision.
When Starting A Business, When During The Planning Process Should I Hire An Experienced Business Attorney?
If you are starting a business, you want to be sure to seek out your business attorney at the right time in the planning process. Too early and you will not have enough for them to work with, or require too many changes later. Too late and you might need to undo work to accommodate their advice or be unable to protect yourself properly from certain liabilities.
Ideally, before seeking out a business law firm, you should have some concrete ideas already. At this point, you will have talked with all the people who will be instrumental to the business (such as managers or co-owners) and have your business plan and some future outlook projections together. The business attorney will be the person who helps you turn all of that into a reality.
But keep this in mind: If you wait to contact an attorney until you are already being sued or another legal issue has come up – it might be too late. The best ways to protect yourself and your business are usually proactive, not reactive.
So, while a business attorney should certainly be able to help you reduce the damage, their help will be markedly more impactful if sought out before the issue arises in which case there is a good chance it can be prevented entirely.
What Are The Different Entity Options To Choose From When Forming A Business?
There are many different business structure types available, but the most commonly used at the small and medium business entrepreneur scale in North Carolina are:
- Sole proprietorships
- C Corporations (standard tax conditions)
- S Corporations (special tax conditions)
Which one is right for you and your business will depend on a number of factors.
How Do I Determine What Business Model Will Work For My Situation?
Determining which legal entity type and business model to go with usually requires an in-depth analysis and interview. Your lawyer will typically go through a checklist or worksheet with you, asking many essential questions and discussing the different options as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
Often, the determining factors are what type of business model you are aiming for and whether you are looking for investors, but other factors can certainly come into play, such as pass-through tax liability, or your plan for the business’s future.
Identifying the legal entity and setting up the business model can have a massive impact on your business in the long term, and doing it wrong can have serious consequences. As such, this is one of the key points for which hiring a North Carolina business attorney is so essential.
What Proactive Measures Are Needed To Protect My Business From Potential Litigation?
Paperwork and legal documents are the true foundation of any modern business. Not only do they define its structure and behavior, but also how well it can weather the inevitable legal storms that will arise.
How Can I Shield My Business From Internal Legal Threats And Claims In North Carolina?
Protecting yourself starts with internal documents for employees, such as manuals and contracts. Making sure you are following all the proper federal, state, and local HR guidelines for wages or hiring can avoid all manner of legal trouble later.
Trying to wing it without proper personalized legal attention and advice, on the other hand, can be very risky. While it is technically possible to download all kinds of contracts and forms online, they will not be specifically adapted for your business, nor is there any guarantee you will not make a grave mistake when trying to fill them out. Merely downloading them, and putting them in a file to forget about after checking off a box is not nearly sufficient.
Unless you are actively using them, and doing so correctly, the contract, form, or agreement that you have in place may not even be worth anything in terms of protection as it might very well be void. Having solid contracts and other paperwork for your internal organization is important, but having ones that are adapted to your business, that you are actually going to live by, and can update when needed is vital.
How Can I Protect My Business From External Legal Liabilities?
When dealing with liabilities that arise from your interaction with the public, whether you’re selling a product or providing a service, you want to make sure your structure is properly designed.
There is a popular misconception that as long as you file with the Secretary of State that you have created an LLC or a corporation you are good to go. Unfortunately, there are a lot of formalities that must be put into place correctly and have to be followed to make sure that a strong liability fence is up.
Additionally, you will need to ensure that there is sufficient and correct information and phrasing within your contracts with clients and customers. Many general contractors and handymen reach out to business law firms because they are getting sued or they did not get paid for work but cannot find the help they need – because they didn’t structure their business relationship properly from the start.
For example, a contractor might want to pursue a lawsuit so they can get paid for work they did, but lack the legal grounds to sue because all they have are casual oral agreements. While oral agreements are still somewhat enforceable, they are devilishly hard to prove.
That is why it is so essential for any new business owner or prospective entrepreneur in North Carolina to reach out during their planning process to a specialized business law firm or attorney. Having your documents, contracts, and agreements set up properly can make all the difference when you need to enforce them, or when you need to rely on them as a defense. By making sure you get the foundations built right, you can have the best possible chance of success.
For more information on Business Law Services In North Carolina, an initial consultation is your best step toward a solid business future. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (252) 371-0127 today.