Starting a new business is exciting. It’s taking your life path and swerving off to make a new one for yourself. It’s not easy, either. To begin a new startup, you need funding, employees, a business plan, and a product or service. That’s just what a business needs to operate. When you consider the important business documents you need to start your business, there’s so much more.
You’re the entrepreneur, you know how to get everything you need to operate, but business documents are plentiful and complicated. Even if you have started a business before, one document of the same type rarely looks the same from industry to industry. To make sure that these documents are legal, cover their bases, and protect your business in the context of your state, consider having an entrepreneurial attorney draft or review them for you. It’s our job to understand and recognize the minute details of these documents.
What Important Business Documents Do All Startups Need?
The business documents that startup owners need to complete prove their ownership, establish control over their business, confirm funding, and inform the government what taxes the business should be paying. These are documents that they need to always have on file, and several have to be filed with the government.
#1. Founder and Partnership Agreements
Founders’ and partnership agreements are needed if your startup is being founded by multiple people. This can include original and primary investors, co-owners of the company’s original patent or copyright, and anyone else who is helping to build the foundation of the company.
Even if you are the only founder, you still would want this document because it establishes your leadership and responsibilities. While you can skip this agreement, you leave yourself open to potential lawsuits that this defends against.
#2. Intellectual Property Protection
While not all new businesses build themselves off an original intellectual property (IP) like a patent or trade secret, the ones that do need to protect that IP. If an original IP allows your startup to stand out from the competition, another business legally getting a hold of it would be devastating.
Intellectual property protections come in various forms. Trademarks and copyrights are the most common forms of IP protection, and you want to file them with the government as soon as possible so other companies can’t legally use your IP.
#3. Operating Agreements
Every business needs short-term and long-term goals. This agreement provides strategies and procedures while establishing the business’s goals. While this binds you to work towards these goals, it binds fellow founders and execs as well. A business can’t succeed if it’s run by people with different motives and ideas about success.
To create an operating agreement, you need to decide what types of business you’re going to file under. There are three types of businesses you can file as, and you need to establish which type to make a legal operating agreement, and for your taxes.
If you eventually find that an operating agreement’s short-term and long-term goals do not benefit your business, you can update or change them with an attorney’s help.
#4. Joint Venture Agreements
If your startup has a group of founders rather than just one, your startup might be considered a joint venture. A joint venture is whenever multiple parties or businesses come together for a business venture, and a new startup counts as one.
Having a few individuals doesn’t necessarily count as a joint venture. Talk to an attorney to see if your business qualifies. If your business does, then you need a joint venture agreement. This important business document will establish the needs and responsibilities each of you has to fulfill.
#5. Loan Promissory Notes
Unless you have the money to support a business yourself or capital from another investing business, you’ll need a loan to start your business. Loans can be to set up a place of business, order or create products, pay workers, and market your business.
It’s best to get these loans from banks, but before you can sign one, you need to create or receive a promissory note. These are legally binding contracts and you should have an attorney review them so you understand the consequences of a missed payment. It’s always risky when you’re starting a new business, but this way is especially. You’re the one taking on all the risk of your startup if it fails. Give yourself every edge and protection you can.
Contact the Entrepreneurial Attorney at Tressler & Associates
No contract is simple. They all have complicated legal jargon that can be confusing. Don’t let yourself get tricked into a bad contract that hurts your partnership, ownership, or ability to provide for yourself.
The entrepreneurial attorney at Tressler & Associates is available to create and review any of these business documents for you. Contact us today.