[Today’s guest post is by Andrew Miller of Socialpreneur.com.]
Starting a new business is a very exciting but stressful time—knowing what paperwork you need and having it organized is essential to help make this a easy and successful endeavor.
The many documents and legal paperwork involved with startups can be time-consuming and confusing. Becoming familiar with some of the vernacular associated with the initial startup phase can help guide you through the maze of federal and state regulations and understand employment law.
Legal Entity Formation Documents
The basic legal documents for starting a new business (such as Articles of Incorporation, Articles of Organization, or Assumed Name Registrations) are those associated with the legal entity of the business itself.
This documentation is needed in order for any business to become a corporation—the actual status is based on the size of the business, the nature of the industry, liability, and revenue. Most legal entities are named through the state level; certain businesses require this to be done on a federal level.
The following are the main state designations and common abbreviations for businesses:
- Corporation & Incorporation (Corp. & Inc.)
- Doing Business As (DBA)
- General Partnership
- Limited Partnership (LP)
- Limited Liability Company (LLC, LLC. LC, Ltd. Co.)
- Limited Liability Partnership
- Limited Liability Limited Partnership (LLLP)
- Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC)
- Professional Corporations (PC, P.C.)
- Sole Proprietorship
Federally incorporated businesses are designated the following ways:
- National Association (NA)
- National Trust & Savings Associations (NT&SA)
- Federal Credit Union
- Federal Savings Bank
Business Name Registration
Registering the name you have created for your business is a task which is done on the state level for most businesses. Once you have verified the availability of the name you then register with your Secretary of State’s office.
If you plan on doing business outside of your state, it is recommended that you get it federally trademarked, in addition to registering as a foreign corporation. Learn about trademarking your business name on StopFakes.gov.
Laws on which occupations require licensing and certification vary by each state; if your state requires occupational licensing for your position, your state’s Department of Labor can provide you with the needed forms to do so.
Health Care Providers
Businesses that provide health care and health care services typically have extended licensing responsibilities. Documents are typically issued through your state’s Department of Health.
Small Business Loans
Unless you are planning to finance your entire operation out of your pocket, you will likely need to figure out way to raise capital. There are many possible sources of revenue and you are only limited by your creativity.
Some nontraditional forms of fund raising is through crowdfunding sites, peer-to-peer lending, and angel investors. These methods are becoming increasingly popular as banks are tightening their fists on loans. However, if you have good credit and a solid financial plan then a small business loan may be your best option. Below are the three most common types.
7(a) Loan Program
This is the most popular of all small business loans. This loan offers up to $750,000 and is backed by a partial guarantee through the SBA. This loan is offered through private banks and credit unions.
504 Loan Program
This type of loan is intended for the purchase of assets for business use; business assets include automobiles, land and other equipment. Loans of this type are generally in amounts of up to $1 million dollars. This loan is also offered through private banks and credit unions.
7(m) Microloan Program
Loans of this nature are on the smaller side. This type of loan comes from the SBA and may be in amounts up to $35,000.
Learn the full details of these loan programs and eligibility at The Small Business Administration website.
There may be other business licenses, permits, and other filing requirements that must be filed with state, county, or even city agencies. It’s important that you check to determine which business licenses or permits are necessary for your specific type of business and your unique situation.
Starting a business is a complex process. Taking the time to research exactly what your specific industry filing regulations are will save you from falling into a whirlwind of confusion.
About the Author:
Andrew Miller is an experienced Social Media expert and author. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life for the world to enjoy. He is also an avid blogger and currently working on a book with his wife about social entrepreneurship. He is a true Socialpreneur and finds that his goal in life is to be an agent for positive social change through both his writing and business endeavors.
Follow Andrew on Google+