Lake Mary small business attorneys know that many entrepreneurs are “big-picture” thinkers. They’re committed to the vision, the long-term goals. Having a small business attorney to help you examine the details is mission-critical.
Many small businesses have faltered due to failure to establish a solid legal structure and protections from the start. One of the ways your business lawyer can help is by drafting documentation to secure your brand, protect your assets and ensure your policy and operational guidelines are clear cut and above-board. Founders can rest-assured knowing it’s all been legally vetted before take-off.
While we recognize many Central Florida start-ups are working with limited resources at the outset, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that just having a small business lawyer draft a few key legal documents can spare CEOs and founders major headaches (and costly legal battles) on the journey ahead.
We offer here some of the most common legal documents our Lake Mary small business law firm drafts for burgeoning businesses. The list isn’t exhaustive, and shouldn’t be considered a substitute for direct, one-on-one legal counseling. The idea is to give you a sense of where we may start.
Articles of Incorporation
One of the very first things your venture needs to establish is the proper legal structure. As noted by the Florida Division of Corporations, there are five basic types of business structures from which you can choose: Corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), Partnerships, General Partnerships and Limited Partnerships. There are pros and cons to each, and the one most beneficial will depend on your business model and goals.
For instance, if you establish your small business as a sole proprietorship, you could be opening yourself up personally to substantial legal bills and liabilities. Sole proprietors can be easier to form and as the owner, you enjoy total control of the profits. However, if you’re a start-up with numerous shareholders or if you’re trying to avoid heavy penalties and fees while you’re testing the market waters, you may be better off with a C corporation or an LLC.
Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement
For many businesses, their intellectual property can be just as – if not more – valuable than their tangible assets. It’s imperative to protect your intellectual property with the proper copyrights, patents and trademarks. From there, it’s often wise to assign intellectual property rights to the business, making it a more attractive prospect for the investors whose assistance is often necessary for growth.
Invention assignment agreements (one subcategory) ensures your business retains ownership of any work product created by your employees. Such contracts also routinely include confidentiality agreeements.
Intellectual property agreements also afford the business the right to confer certain intellectual property rights to others. Some companies make most of their profits by licensing intellectual property rights through these technology assignment agreements.
The good news for clients of the Chidolue Law Firm is that our small business attorneys are also experienced and adept in the practice of intellectual property law – both at the Florida and federal level.
Sometimes referred to as “the founder’s agreement,” an operating agreement helps businesses with two or more founders avoid potential conflict by clearly outlining the relationship between all parties and expectations of ownership for work produced. Our Lake Mary small business lawyers will further examine whether a conflict resolution clause might help prevent controversies from escalating or even arising in the first place.
Along with the operating agreement are bylaws. Drafting a bylaw document will help clearly spell out the rules you all agree to abide. It will address things like seniority, shareholder powers and rights and how you will go about decisions like replacing board members or a strategic move to go into debt.
Before you initiate any conversations with third parties related to your new business – or even the idea of it – you need to have solid non-disclosure agreements in place. This goes for prospective investors, employees and other companies with whom you may engage in business.
“NDAs” for short, these legal documents will explain what sort of information you consider confidential, stipulate who owns that information and set a time limit for how long confidentiality is required.
Contracts for Employment
Unless you launch a sole proprietorship and don’t plan on hiring any employees at all, you’ll probably also need assistance drawing up employment contracts and offer letters. These are agreements you establish with job applicants and new hires detailing their job description, duty expectations, who owns the work they create and company-specific policies such as sick leave, pay structure and dress code.
Let Our Lake Mary Small Business Lawyers Work For You
Our business law firm is committed to assisting our clients in whatever their entrepreneurial goals. We consider your success a win for us too!
Contact the Lake Mary, Florida business attorneys at The Chidolue Law Firm, serving Orlando and Lake Mary, by calling (407) 995-6567 or email us.
Start a Business, Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations
More Blog Entries:
BUYING OR SELLING A FLORIDA BUSINESS? LAKE MARY BUSINESS LAWYER CAN HELP, Nov. 19, 2018, Lake Mary Small Business Lawyer Blog