law offices serving both
the Brainerd Lakes
& Little Falls Area
Starting a business is a laudable endeavor—but it can also be a complex one. Business law is, perhaps, one of the more complicated arenas for non-attorneys to try to understand. Most businesses, therefore, understand just how valuable having a business law attorney (and one that knows the local Brainerd area at that) can be. A business attorney isn’t there just in case someone files a lawsuit (or you yourself need to file a lawsuit). In actuality, most of business law has to do with helping you run your business in a legal and ethical way.
And that isn’t always easy. There are different rules for large and small businesses, and every employee you hire may change some of those definitions. Business law can be so consuming for our Brainerd area business law clients that it can feel as though they’re spending more time updating their contracts than running their business—at least, that’s how it felt before they came to us for help. We can help you revise your contracts with employees, with vendors, and with other businesses. We can also help you protect your business legally and ensure that everything is set up properly. Sound legal help in these arenas will likely save you money in the long run.
Setting up a Business
Establishing a business sounds like an easy enough task. But once you make the decision to set up a business, you need to know what kind of business to set up. There are plenty of options, from a sole proprietorship to an LLC. The attorneys at Mallie Law Office can help you decide what kind of business best suits your goals—both long term and short term. It’s true that as your business grows, you can re-evaluate what will best serve your purposes, but that doesn’t mean that legal expertise at the onset won’t make a huge positive difference.
The type of business you choose to establish—and the legitimacy with which you establish it—can have all kinds of repercussions in terms of your taxes and your years payments to the IRS, not to mention the limits of your legal liabilities for your business. In order to establish a business properly, there is a lot of red tape that you have to get through, and the attorneys at Mallie Law Office have helped many of our Brainerd and Little Falls business law clients get through that paperwork with efficiency and confidence.
A sole proprietorship is one of the most common ways that entrepreneurs begin to establish their businesses. Essentially, under a sole proprietorship, you are the one and only owner of the business. In many ways, then, the business becomes indistinguishable from yourself.
This is certainly true for tax purposes. When your business is a sole proprietorship, you will record all profits and debts on your personal taxes. The larger your business happens to be, the more complex your taxes could become. That said, there are many businesses that successfully navigate these issues and continue to prosper substantially.
The primary advantages of a sole proprietorship are:
- Easy setup: In most cases, sole proprietorships are incredibly easy to set up. Often, no paperwork or registration is required
- All decisions are up to you: you may expand your business, close your business, or sell your business without having to jump through any hoops. All of the choices are yours to make, as you are the sole proprietor.
- You may operate without any employees. For small business owners, this removes several employee-related issues from the equation. However, this may change as your company grows.
That said, there are some significant downsides to sole proprietorship to consider. Because your business is run through your identity, your personal assets can be used to pay off your business debts. For many business owners, sole proprietorships are a good fit—but for others, they’re simply too personally risky.
Limited Liability Company
For those who find too much risk in a sole proprietorship, a Limited Liability Company offers a reasonable alternative for small businesses. Often referred to as an LLC, a Limited Liability Company is essentially the business side of all of your activities.
In other words, an LLC separates you from your business. This might make your taxes a little bit more complicated, but it also protects you from the risks inherent in owning a business. Your personal assets, for example, would be distinctly separate from any business assets (and debts) you might have.
The primary advantages of an LLC are:
- Separation between the owner and the business
- The business owner is protected from financial risks that the enterprise undertakes
- You could receive the general tax benefits of a partnership (this could make your taxes either a little bit easier or a little less painful).
Of course, LLCs are slightly more difficult to set up in a way that is legally sound and robust. There’s more paperwork and a higher filing fee than with a sole proprietorship. But when you have a long-term interest in limiting your liability, that investment is usually a sound one.
Ensuring Your Paperwork is In Order
When it comes to starting your business, there’s no doubt you’re going to encounter a significant amount of paperwork. Whether you’re setting up a sole proprietorship or an LLC, the hoops you have to jump through might seem daunting. That’s why it’s an excellent idea to seek out assistance from a highly qualified business attorney, such as those at Mallie Law Office.
The team at Mallie Law Office has experience helping business owners get their enterprises off the ground—both in Little Falls and Brainerd, MN. We know the area well, so we can help you navigate many of the local issues that might come up when you’re getting your paperwork in order.
We can also do everything possible to help you protect your personal livelihood and assets when you’re starting your business (this can usually be accomplished through an LLC). It’s worth noting that while many businesses succeed in the long run, the first years can be quite trying financially. Having the peace of mind that an LLC provides can be a relief for many business owners.
Our goal at Mallie Law Office is to look after the legal concerns of starting your business. That way, you can concentrate on the logistical and practical issues—in other words, you can think about running your business!
Expanding Your Business
If your business is expanding, it’s also likely that you will require legal expertise. Whether you’re expanding in terms of square footage or in terms of employees, there are contracts that must be drafted, read, signed, and notarized—in some cases. Having robust legal contracts can protect you from legal action down the road and can save you money in the long run. Contracts, after all, simply spell out the obligations of two parties towards each other. Having clear contracts can make these obligations also clear, reducing the chance that two parties might disagree on what their obligations are. In other words, clear contracts are among the best tools you have for avoiding legal trouble.
As you expand your business, there are certain state and federal laws that you will need to be aware of. Additionally, the nature of your business may mean that you require consistent legal advice. In both of these cases, it is useful to have a single trust attorney, such as one of the attorneys at Mallie Law Office, in which you can place your trust and confidence, rather than having to find a new attorney every time your business encounters a new legal demand.
Protect Your Business
At its core, having an attorney take care of the legal matters of your business is a sound way of protecting your business—not only for today, but for the long term as well. By protecting your business legally, you are placing your business on sound legal footing. And that will pay off more every day.
So if you have a business or you’re thinking about starting one, contact the attorneys at Mallie Law Office in Brainerd, MN or Little Falls, MN to ensure that you get your business started out right.