Starting a business takes many forms for different people. Maybe you took a buy-out or an early retirement and are looking for a “second act”. Maybe you are looking to buy a business – perhaps with other investors, or maybe you are buying your boss’ business as he looks to retire. Some people buy franchises. We have helped hundreds of people like you chase the dream of being your own boss.
“… Matt is that rare lawyer who also has a keen sense of business issues, particularly the challenges faced by first time entrepreneurs. I have seen him successfully coach many entrepreneurs (young and old) and prepare them for the long and challenging journey ahead.”
Nasir Ali, Co-Founder & CEO, Upstate Venture Connect
Most businesses are started by partners. Business partners need a written agreement to establish “the ground rules” of how the business will be run; who will contribute how much cash, equipment or services to the new business, who will be responsible for keeping the books, identifying customers and making sales, managing the staff or setting up the company’s web site, among the many things that go into building a successful business.
These types of agreements are called “Shareholder Agreements” if you have a corporation, or an “Operating Agreement” if you have a limited liability company. Planning ahead avoids problems down the road between you and your partners.
Once you’ve started a new business, one of the most important things you can do is protect your company name, your website, your brands, and your business reputation. The way to do that is filing for trademark protection. Federal trademarks are available if you do business in interstate commerce. If you sell products on a web site, there is a good chance that you may qualify.
Pricing is based on how many names of products or services, or how many company names or logos you may want to register, and in how many categories of commerce you do business.
State Trademark Filings can be a cost-effective alternative to federal registration if you are a local business, like a restaurant, fitness club or real estate broker, who doesn’t usually make sales from one state to another.
Your most important asset is your people. Have policies and programs in place to give them the incentive to make a commitment to your business. Stock options, profit sharing and employment agreements help you draw and retain the best talent.
You’ll also want to make sure that your employees don’t steal your customers or your business ideas, using non-disclosure and non-compete agreements.
When you open a business, many people need to lease a storefront, or an office for where they will meet customers and base their employees.
I have over 30 years’ experience negotiating commercial leases. I have worked for shopping center developers, and have negotiated a wide range of leases for tenants, from office space and build-to-suit space, to shopping center and restaurant leases, in some of the biggest cities in America.
We mix practical business advice, informed by decades of helping business owners just like you, with strategic counsel and legal services to help you grow and protect your business.