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Let’s Get Your Business Legally Legit So You Can Get More Sleep in 2022.
Guest Blog Post by Founder of Illuma Law Firm and She’s Legit Colynn O’Brien
I know. I know. Thinking about legal for your business is not fun. You don’t really know where to start, who to call, or what you really need, and most lawyers you’ve talked to are just so lawyer-y. (Not to mention the fact that you have pretty much no idea how much all of this will cost). It’s one of those tasks that keeps getting pushed to the bottom of your to-do list.
No need to fret though! I compiled this handy list of 5 things you can do to get your business legally legit for 2022, and most of these things can be dealt with in less time and for less money than you think. So set aside a day (or a half-day), start finally checking these off, and you’ll be on your way to a legally legit biz and much better sleep in 2022.
1. Get your client contract in place
If you don’t have a client contract and need one, you can contact an attorney in your state to write a custom contract for you. Or you can buy a template that you can fill in yourself and have an attorney look it over for you after. If you’re on a budget, the second option is usually less costly than the custom contract route, but make sure to thoroughly evaluate all your options based on your company’s needs.
3. Get business insurance
Business insurance will cover you in so many different situations. Even if you’re shielded from personal liability with an LLC or corporation, anyone can sue your company at any time. It doesn’t matter if they’ll win. If someone sues you, you’ll usually still have to pay for your attorneys’ fees and costs even if you win the lawsuit, and as you can imagine, those can get expensive.
Luckily, you can usually prevent this with insurance. If your business is sued, and your policy covers it, your business insurance will usually step in to pay your attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as any damages you have to pay if you lose a lawsuit.
You can get a quote online with most major carriers in minutes, but make sure you also discuss your specific needs with an insurance agent to ensure your policy provides you with the right coverage. Most business insurance companies require you to call them before you pay for the policy, so make sure to ask the company representative if you have the right coverages, and don’t forget to ask any other questions you have.
4. Start working on getting trademarks for any brand or product names you want to protect
If you have a unique brand or product name, it’s a good idea to start the trademark search and registration process now so none of your competitors snatch it up. Don’t risk being sued or worse…having to rebrand because you failed to make sure your brand or product name is available before moving forward with all your branding.
Trademarking is a two-part process. First, you conduct a trademark search to ensure your name isn’t taken by a similar company. If that search comes out clear, then you register your trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which will give your name nationwide protection.
To ensure your trademark search and registration are conducted properly, you should speak with an attorney who handles trademarks.
5. If you haven’t already, form your company
Make sure you’re operating as a legal entity. There are fines and stiff penalties for not operating legally. There are several different options here. One of the simplest types of businesses is a sole proprietorship. In many states, you don’t need to register your sole proprietorship and can just do business under your own name, but make sure you check with your state.
If you have a sole proprietorship and want to operate under a name other than your own, you will likely have to register as a “DBA” (aka “Doing Business As” aka “Fictitious Name.”) Keep in mind that in a sole proprietorship, you will have unlimited personal liability for any debts of your company, which means that you will be personally responsible for all of your business’ debts.
Limited liability companies or “LLCs” and corporations have limited liability protection, meaning that if you register them properly, keep up with all record-keeping requirements, and follow your state’s rules for managing that type of company, you will only be personally responsible for the debts of the company up to the amount you initially invested in the company before formally registering it.
Business registration is state-specific, so check with an attorney in your state to see what you need to do to properly register.
A little bit of focused effort will go a long way in getting your company legally legit. Block off some time to think about what your company needs, do some research, talk to an attorney, and start checking these things off in the way that works for you. Do this, and you’ll be on your way to sleeping like this little guy in 2022.
Need a contract template? Shop contracts here. Thinking of trademarking your brand? Book a free consultation here. Looking to get a rock-solid, bulletproof business with the confidence to back it up? Learn more about the She’s Legit & Crushing It Group Coaching Program here.
About the Author – Colynn O’Brien is a business attorney and coach for female founders. She is the founder of Iluma Law Firm, PLLC and She’s Legit, where she helps female founders get more sleep at night by making sure their contracts are legit and their brands are protected.
Colynn loves helping her clients with the nitty-gritty, not always so fun aspects of their businesses and giving them a support system along the way so they can have rock-solid, bulletproof businesses and the confidence to back it up. Follow Colynn: @ilumalawfirm.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice with respect to any matter. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice in any specific situation.