SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA BUSINESS ATTORNEY
Starting a business is exciting and daunting at the same time. It requires many important financial and legal decisions. Where do you start? Norbert U. Frost works with you to find answers that work for you and your new business.
1. Develop a business plan. It should include financial, managerial, marketing, and production information to run your business for the first 5 years.
2. Decide where you will locate your business and research your prospective market. Contact local Chambers of Commerce.
3. Find funding to start your business.
4. Decide on a name for your business. Check with the California Secretary of State to see if your business name is available.
5. Decide on a business structure: sole proprietorship; partnership; limited liability company or LLC; or a corporation. Each has important implications for liability, taxation, and succession planning.
- Corporation: the primary benefit of forming a corporation it to protect your personal assets from the liabilities of the business. It is also a vehicle to bring in outside investors and provides a way for the business to survive beyond the lifetime of the initial or primary shareholder. Corporations require formal administration and record keeping. The corporation’s income is taxed as a separate entity and the officers are paid a salary by the corporation.
- Limited Liability Company (“LLC”): This is a popular way to form of business in California. An LLC is similar to a corporation in that it shields you from personal liability. But, an LLC does not require the formal documentation or procedures a corporation requires. The process to create an LLC is fast and fairly inexpensive. However, this often results in LLCs which are not clearly defined or properly formed. Care must be taken to form and specifically define the LLC in order to avail oneself of its full benefits, and minimize disputes and litigation.
- Sole Proprietorship or Partnership: Your personal assets are vulnerable if you operate your business as a sole proprietorship or a partnership. Also, any income earned in such a business is taxed as income on your personal income tax returns.
6. File the required forms with the Secretary of State.
7. File a fictitious business name statement with your county clerk’s office.
8. Obtain federal and state employer identification numbers from the IRS and the Franchise Tax Board.
9. Determine what permits or licenses are required for your business and file them with the appropriate agency.
Call (707) 553-7356 or fill out the form on our Contact page to schedule your consultation.