Small Business Legal Requirements: Structure, Documents & Expert Advice

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Gavel and books on table (caption: Legal Guide)Our legal guide helps you and your company stay on the right side of the law, so you can focus on running your business. We cover everything from setting up your business via a DBA or LLC to popular online services, such as Legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer, which give you access to legal resources for a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney.

Our legal experts have written how-to guides and reviews of services, so whether you’re looking for business insurance, trademarks, patents, or legally binding e-signatures we’ve got you covered so you can safeguard your company’s assets and resources.

Article Overview

Online Legal Services Can Save You Big Bucks

Best Online Legal ServicesMore and more people are turning to online legal services to save money, time and the hassle of hiring an attorney. This is true for both personal and small business legal needs. You’ve likely heard of the most popular ones like Rocket Lawyer but there are several others that deserve your consideration. See our best online legal services article for some excellent options.

Many offer a wide variety of small business legal needs, from forming your business to licenses and legal forms. They take you step-by-step through the process online, and many give you access to attorneys you can talk to for advice. They can be a huge money-saver for small businesses on a tight budget.

Launching Your Business: Trademarks, DBAs & LLCs

Before you open your doors or web-based business, you may want to consider these options to legally protect you and your brand.

Protect Your Brand With A Trademark

Businessman with laptop and briefcaseOne of the most important first steps in creating a business is establishing your company’s name and brand and protecting it from lawsuits from another company challenging your name. (This can also apply to a unique logo that brings you brand recognition.) You can secure this legal protection by filing a trademark registration.

What do you need to know about trademark registration? And how much does it cost? Our article on how to register a trademark online gives you answers to all your questions and specific details about Rocket Lawyer’s popular online trademark registration services.

Consider Forming A DBA

LegalZoom DBA on Macbook screenWhen you’re just starting out as a sole proprietor, you may not think about separating your business income from your personal income. Forming a DBA (Doing Business As) and registering it online can be a smart way to establish your business, especially if you don’t have the funds or aren’t ready to create an LLC (limited liability company) or corporation. See how to know when you need a DBA for your business, and how to register it online.

Should You Create An LLC?

Man sitting at desk on computer writingCreating a limited liability company has distinct advantages for business owners. As the U.S. Small Business Administration puts it, an LLC “provides the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.”

Is an LLC right for your business? And how do you create one without racking up a ton of legal fees? Find out the answers to these questions and more in our article about LLCs and the easy and affordable process of creating an LLC online.

Are You A Website Developer?

If so, you’ll need a legally binding contract to protect yourself from liability, libel, infringement and other issues that could arise on your projects. See our tips and recommendations for creating a website development agreement.

Need-To-Know Info About Inventions & Patents

Ball of paper and pen with ideas on paper: 5 Steps to Filing a PatentHave you come up with an astounding idea that you want to protect against any future competition? You may want to consider filing a patent. There are many factors to take into account when it comes to patenting an idea, so be sure to read our guide on 5 steps to take to file a patent.

Another option is to go with one of several companies that specialize in helping you patent, design, license and sell your invention. However, these online invention companies vary widely in the services they offer — and some have questionable reputations. See our reviews of several top invention companies to learn more.

Protect Your Assets With Small Business Insurance

As a small business owner or sole proprietor, one of the smartest ways you can protect yourself from lawsuits and potential financial ruin is to invest in small business insurance. While a lot of the big insurance names offer business insurance, we’ve discovered a lesser-known insurance company, Hiscox Insurance, that specializes in small business insurance. Learn more about this affordable and reputable option in our Hiscox Insurance review.

Save Time By Signing Documents Online

Person signing documentIf your business deals with having to collect a lot of signatures, printing, scanning and faxing (or snail-mailing) documents back and forth is an inefficient practice — especially with today’s technology. Use an e-signature service instead. We review the best services to sign documents online to help you find legally binding and ultra-secure options.

E-signature services, like DocuSign, give you the ability to send, sign and share documents online anytime from any device — some even provide quick and easy templates. And many also have added features to help you manage the ongoing signing process when juggling multiple documents and syncing capabilities with your existing software, like Salesforce, SharePoint and others.

What are the most pressing legal issues you’re concerned about?

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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