If You Plan to Have Partners in Your New Business …

Starting a new business often requires building a team of people for the business.  Some may be outside consultants, like an accountant, a lawyer and an insurance agent. 

But other people may partner with you in running your business.  It’s easier to build something new when you have the help and experience of one or more partners. Each of you may have separate specialties that complement the other.  One person may be really good at financial management, and another may be good at customer service, or operations.

Making sure that each partner knows and understands their role is critical to your chances of success. 

One of the most important things you can do, if you are going to have partners in a business, is prepare a shareholders agreement if you are creating a corporation, or an operating agreement if you are setting up a limited liability company. 

An operating agreement or shareholders agreement will say how much money, services, expertise or equipment each partner will contribute to the new business, what everyone’s title and responsibilities are, who makes which decisions, how much of the company you each own, and any plans you may make about being able to buy out a partner in the future, or plan for your retirement.

If you need help setting up your new business, please feel free to call me at (315) 877-1741, email me at mattvanrynesq@gmail.com, or fill out the Contact form at the link above.  Thanks very much.

Negotiating a Commercial Lease or Developing a Site?

When you are starting a new business, or moving your business to a new location because you are expanding, it’s critically important to get the right location, and have a favorable lease agreement with your landlord.

I have been negotiating commercial leases , construction loans, brokerage agreements and commercial development work for over 25 years.  In that time, I have worked on restaurant leases, storefronts in strip malls and shopping centers, and agreements for everything from anchor tenants to kiosks and out parcel development.

I have worked on Payment in Lieu of Taxes (“PILOT”) economic development agreements, where, if you are a developer, you use your property taxes for the site to help pay for development costs that benefit the community – usually this consists of highway improvements, turn signals, storm drainage and things of this nature.  By re-allocating tax dollars for these expenses, you can greatly decrease your overall costs of site development.

From the tenant perspective, I have negotiated leases for one of the largest shopping center developers in the Northeast and learned all the tricks and traps to avoid, in order to get lease terms to give you the best chance for success, while containing your overall risk, if your business doesn’t perform as well as you hope.

If I can be of assistance to you with your commercial real estate matter, please feel free to call me at (315) 877-1741, or send me a message on the Contact page at the link above.  Thank you, and good luck with your business.

 

Filing for Trademarks to Protect Your Business Name

Once you’ve set up a business entity and started selling your products or services, one of the next steps is to file for trademark protection.  Trademarks protect things like your business name, your web site, and the names of your products or services.  You can even file to protect any logos that you might use for your business.

To qualify for a federal trademark – with the well-known “R in a circle” – you have to be doing business in interstate commerce.  For most people, they can qualify by selling goods over a web site. 

But if your business is strictly local in nature – for instance, if you operate a restaurant, a health club or a nail salon – you can still get trademark protection from your business by filing with the State of New York.  In fact, filing state trademarks is less expensive overall than filing for federal trademarks with the United States Patent & Trademark Office.  

So feel free to contact me at (315) 877-1741 with your questions about how trademarks can protect your business, or send me your questions at the Contact link above.  Thank you.

“It’s Always Best to Start at the Beginning” – Setting Up a Business Entity

For my first blog post, let’s start with the first thing that every business owner should consider – setting up a business entity when you start a new company.

What do I mean by “a business entity”?  I mean setting up a corporation or a limited liability company (“LLC”) as the formal structure of your business. 

Why do you do that?  To protect your personal assets from any bad fortune that may strike your business.

Let me give you some examples:  If someone slips and falls in your store, or if you happen to serve up some food in your restaurant that makes people sick, or if your biggest customer’s purchase order doesn’t come through when you expect it.  Any of these unexpected events can cost your business money; perhaps more than you can afford. 

That’s where having a business  entity (and liability insurance) comes in.  As long as your treat your business as a separate “thing”, meaning that you don’t use the business bank account or credit card to pay for your personal expenses, and you keep proper books and records, then the government and the courts will treat your business as something separate and apart from your personal finances.

That way, if bad luck strikes, you won’t lose your home, your savings, or your retirement account to pay a judgment against your business.  You can preserve the assets you have built up for retirement, secure in the knowledge that your business risk is properly planned for and contained.

Going to the County Clerk’s Office to obtain a D/B/A Certificate is not the same thing as setting up a business entity.  A D/B/A Certificate will allow you to open up a bank account in the name of your business, but don’t be mistaken; you are still the person who is personally responsible for any debts of your business.  That includes all of your personal assets, if you have to satisfy a judgment against your business.

If you need help setting up a new corporation or limited liability company, please give me a call at (315) 877-1741 and I’ll be happy to help.  Get your business off on the right foot.  Set up a business entity!