Founding a Small Business in Chicago - Improving Economy Means Better Outlook
A new report from the Washington Post indicates that efforts by the current presidential administration have made it easier for small businesses to open and expand, citing among the measures about $4 billion extended for small-business financing.
Chicago business lawyers know that entrepreneurs understand that the risks they take to open and expand are calculated. But such risks are no less real and seeking experienced legal guidance is among the best investments an entrepreneur can make.
There are ways that you can work to insulate yourself, your employers and your brand from failure. And untangling various legal matters before they become an issue is invaluable. From entity selection and business formation, to wage and hour laws and ADA compliance, your business attorney should be your central resource.
After you've conducted your market research and have your business plan the next step is consulting with an experienced business attorney. We can help you ensure you are in compliance with all local, state and federal laws and codes. We can assist you in filing any necessary patents or trademarks. New business owners also often need guidance with tax requirements and filings, as well as licensing, safety obligations and real estate acquisition.
It may seem like a cost to line item at the outset, but the truth of the matter is if you don't get the legal and tax issues straight, it can end up costing you big-time in the long-run.
Another strategy that many successful business owners swear by is starting on a small scale. It's true you may be taking a leap of faith to some extent, but you don't want to walk blindfolded off a cliff. Test the idea on a small scale and have built-in plans for expansion. That way you can see what works and what doesn't, and minimize your risks in the process.
If you do make mistakes, do not dwell on them. It's bound to happen to just about everyone. Chalk it up to a learning experience and move on.
Seek support and wisdom from others in the form of business chambers, mentors and industry conferences. Take advantage of training courses that may be available to you and/or your employees. Learning from the mistakes of others can ensure you choose an alternate path.
Be very careful with the books. An experienced accountant can help guide you in the specifics, but generally, you'll want to keep your business money separate from your personal money. You'll also want to keep a close eye on your expenses, as well as your income, so you can identify areas that require attention.
Get it in writing. The business world is no longer what it used to be, and sealing a deal with a simple handshake is not only outdated, it can expose you to potential liabilities or losses. Every situation is different, but in general, you'll want to have a contract established for any sale over $500 or for any partnership that's going to last longer than a year or if there is any transfer of copyright or real estate ownership.
Jeremy A. Gibson & Associates is a law firm dedicated to business litigation in Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois. Call 877-452-4529 for a free consultation.
Has Obama really helped small businesses? By Suzy Khimm, The Washington Post