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Start Up legal Checklist
Building a startup company takes vision and great ideas. But before you can get up and running, it also requires legal understanding and planning. Startups need to go through steps to protect the owners and the organization. Before you start doing business, make sure you have worked through these preliminary steps.
Starting a new business is a challenging pursuit. Part of what makes it so complicated is all the legal implications that come with starting a business. As a business owner, you want to make sure you have covered all your legal bases to avoid any fines, lawsuits, or—worst case—even jail time.
Fortunately, there are plenty of legal resources available to small businesses both online and through hired legal counsel. Use this list as a jumping off point, covering the legal requirements for starting a small business. Checking these off your to-do list will help you ensure that you don't run afoul of any laws. The sooner you take care of these things, the sooner you can focus on what you do best—selling your product or service.
This Legal Checklist for New Businesses is an important step forward for you and your business. You want to start a business and know that you are doing it the right way. This checklist will give you peace of mind that you are doing just that - setting your business up the right way, legally. If you’re dabbling in a side hustle or a full on entrepreneur, this guide will provide you with a solid legal foundation for your business without the need to hire an expensive attorney. We hope this gives you peace of mind and empowers you to focus on making your business thrive.
Create a Legal Entity
When you set up a business, you should create a separate legal entity under which you will operate, typically a corporation or an LLC. Identify the place you want to incorporate and set up to legally operate in all of the places you want to do business. You also need to set up your finances to ensure the assets of your company remain separate from your personal assets and file all the relevant paperwork to set up. This keeps someone from being able to attack your personal assets over a dispute with your business.
Agreements and Contracts
Besides protecting yourself from outside risks, you need to make sure inside disputes cannot derail you. Any agreements you have with co-owners or investors need to be in writing and should contain terms which you are comfortable with. You should include a vesting schedule within your agreements in order to prevent someone from getting cold feet and leaving early with his or her ownership interest. You also want to set rules for bringing in new or replacement owners.
In addition to setting up, startups need to anticipate and plan for ending operations. What criteria need to be in place for the business to sell? How will owners divest their interests if you choose to part ways or close down? Startups eventually end operations, and you need to plan before the moment arrives.
Protect Your Intellectual Property
When you plan your company, you do so with ideas in place. Before you begin operating, you need to develop patent, trademark, and/or copyright protection for the products or methods that will come from your ideas. This ensures no one else can steal and run with them before you are able to build up your business.
Ensure Legal Compliance
Finally, you need to understand the laws and regulations that govern your operations. If you are non-compliant, whether in corporate, tax, or securities law, you can lose the business and more.

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