Thinking about starting a business can be exciting.
But there is no doubt that getting a business up and running also requires a lot of hard work.
And while you may be tempted to do it all on your own, it never hurts to ask for help from a professional—in fact, doing so can ease much of the stress and uncertainty that comes with formally setting up a business.
Before you start your own business, there are a number of things you should know.
But don’t feel like you have to figure it all out on your own.
Instead, contact an experienced Texas business law attorney today to help you get the answers and assistance you’re looking for.
As you get started, here are six questions to ask a lawyer when starting a business.
1. Can I Name My Business Whatever I Want?
For many people who want to start a business, what to name the business is one of the first decisions they will make.
However, formally selecting your name is not always so simple.
Sometimes, an aspiring business owner may have a name in mind only to discover that it is already being used by another business in the area. And even if your proposed name is not identical to any other business names, you still may be precluded from using it if it is not sufficiently distinguishable from other names.
This can certainly complicate matters. Thus, before you set your business name in stone, first consult with a small business attorney who can help you determine whether your desired name is available.
An experienced lawyer can help you run a name availability search to ensure that your proposed name is available and distinguishable from other names already being used.
2. What Do I Do If My Desired Business Name Is Available But I’m Not Quite Ready to Move Forward?
If your proposed business name is still available, this is great news! But sometimes, you may not be ready just yet to take the next steps to formally set up your business. In this scenario, you may be wondering whether there is anything you can do to reserve your business name.
Fortunately, the answer to this question is yes.
In fact, the Texas Secretary of State permits online reservation of names for any type of filing entity. A business entity reservation is effective until the 121st day after the application is accepted. This can give you some extra time to prepare for the next steps while also keeping your preferred name on hold in the interim.
3. What Type of Business Entity Should I Select?
There are many types of entities to choose from as you look to form your Texas business.
- Sole proprietorships,
- General partnerships,
- Limited liability companies (LLCs),
- Limited partnerships, and
- Limited liability partnerships.
Each one will have its benefits and drawbacks. But which entity type is right for your business?
The type of business entity you select will depend on a number of factors.
Some of the factors to take into consideration include:
- Whether you plan to have employees;
- Desired tax treatment for the entity;
- Whether you plan to own and operate the business yourself or with one or more business partners; and
- What personal liability protection you want.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Depending on the needs and desires of your business, there may be many other factors you’ll want to consider as well as you select your entity type.
Give our Texas business formation attorneys a call today to discuss what entity type might best fit your business’s needs. Our team is here to answer any legal questions you may have about starting your business.
4. What Formation Documents Do I Need to Get Started?
To set up your new business, there are certain formation documents you will want to have prepared.
In many cases, you will need to file what is called a certificate of formation with the secretary of state to formally create your business entity. Examples of other documents you might consider preparing include bylaws for a corporation or an operating agreement for an LLC.
While these are not required, it is highly recommended to have these types of documents in place for your business. They will allow you to more clearly delineate the business entity’s policies and procedures.
While these types of formation documents can seem intimidating, they are crucial to the success of your business. Thus, make sure to work with an attorney who can help you understand and create the documents that you will need.
5. Are There Any Other Documents I Will Need for My Business?
No matter what type of business you plan to create, one thing is certain—there will be various documents and contracts that you need throughout the life of your entity.
In fact, the key to most successful businesses is the existence and implementation of legally sound contracts and agreements.
Examples of contracts that are found in many businesses include:
- Employment contracts
- Independent contractor agreements
- Severance agreements
- Nondisclosure agreements
- Noncompete agreements
- Partnership agreements
- Buy-sell agreements
- Sales contracts
- Security agreements
- Property and equipment lease agreements
- Indemnity agreements
As these are legally binding agreements, it is always best to have any necessary documents prepared by an experienced legal professional. Failure to do so could result in disputes, and even lawsuits, in the future.
6. Should I Protect My Business’s Intellectual Property?
The short answer is absolutely!
Protecting your business’s intellectual property is essential to its growth and success moving forward.
Many people mistakenly believe that they do not need to protect their intellectual property until their business is more well-established. However, this is not the case at all.
Protecting and safeguarding your valuable intellectual property can be a great way to gain goodwill in your business and better prevent infringement by bad actors later on.
It’s never too early to start protecting your IP rights. Our attorneys can help you register the trademarks and copyrights that will be essential to your growing business.
Contact Massingill Today
Many people wonder what questions to ask a lawyer when starting a business.
In reality, there are no right or wrong questions to ask. Any question you may have about starting a business is a great place to start. The questions listed here are just a few of the many questions that you may have.
If you have questions about how to get your business off the ground and where to go from there, give our team a call today.
At Massingill, we pride ourselves on making complex legal matters simple.
We understand that starting a business can feel like an uphill battle at times. But we also know how exciting it can be to see the business you have only imagined come to life. So let us help you simplify what can be a complicated and sometimes stressful and overwhelming process.