Starting a small business can be exciting and exhilarating, scary and nerve-wracking all at the same time. The problem is that when it comes to the legal side of things, figuring out how you can protect your business can be overwhelming. know how challenging it can be, we did the research, so you don’t have to. So, sit back, relax, and take a look at the legal templates for small businesses that will help you create a booming enterprise. Let’s get started.
LLC for Small Business
But, first, you also have to register your business according to the governing rules for your area. There are various ways to structure a company, yet, it’ll likely fall under one of these four categories:
- Sole proprietorship: ideal for individual freelancers and allows you to register a ‘doing business as’ (DBA) name for your business
- Limited liability corporation: registering as an LLC protects your assets without having to go through the extensive registration process of a full corporation
- Partnership: this registration provides you and your partners complete protection against any future legal liabilities and keeps everyone happy
- C corporation: the most complicated registration structure that requires a considerable amount of documentation because it’s bound by the rules of subchapter C of the IRS
Legal Templates for Small Businesses
Having the proper documents for your business can help keep you protected from lawsuits, hefty fees, and fines. They also help keep your organization running from a legal standpoint.
Here are legal templates to make sure all your hard work doesn’t go to waste:
1. Operating Agreement For an LLC
Every business needs governing documents but what you call those documents depends on which entity you file (hint: we typically recommend an LLC as your entity). For an LLC, it’s referred to as an operating agreement. For a corporation, it’s called bylaws and/or shareholders agreement. For a partnership, it’s a partnership agreement. You get the point. What we’re talking about here are the agreements between the people that own the business.
If you’re a business owner, you need to file for an LLC operating agreement along with your registration papers. By doing this, you’ll help protect yourself and your assets from any legal or financial liabilities.
To do this, you’ll need to file either a single-member or multi-member LLC operating agreement, depending on whether you’re alone or with partners.
Alternatively, if you choose a different structure, you may not be legally required to set up an operating agreement at all. Yet, it’s still a good idea to outline the company structure just the same, even if it’s just an informal document.
An operating agreement should highlight the key factors of your partnership, including:
- The percentage of ownership
- The roles and responsibilities of each partner
- The division of profits and losses
Get an Operating Agreement here.
2. Vendor Agreement
Will you be relying on suppliers or outside vendors to fulfill orders? Then, a vendor agreement is non-negotiable.
This document helps outline the terms and conditions of this business relationship. It’s also essential to protect your business in case issues come up that may impact your customers.
Generally, a vendor agreement includes how and when vendors can fulfill orders. These are all the important points that will affect how quickly and efficiently you meet your customers’ orders once they’ve been placed.
3. Business License
Almost all types of businesses require a license or permit to operate. Yet, the kind of license you apply for largely depends on state laws. So, start by researching the rules and regulations for your area and find out which licenses and permits you need to launch your business.
The type of license also depends on what type of business you’re operating. For example, a contracting or plumbing business will require different forms than a retail or service business.
4. Employment Agreement
Keep in mind that employment law is complex, especially for us who don’t speak law. So, make sure you get your hands on a solid, foolproof contract that covers everything, so you, your assets, and your employees are equally protected.
For independent contractors, you’ll need a different type of agreement than your full-time employees. Typically called an ‘independent contractor agreement, this document outlines the conditions of your business relationship. It should include details, such as:
- Project information
- Ownership of work
5. Non-Disclosure Agreement
This type of agreement is pretty straightforward and much less of a hassle than employee contracts. Yet, they’re just as vital for ensuring your company’s private information stays just that: private.
Generally, you’ll need a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) when hiring new employees or partnering up with another organization.
Invoices are a critical part of dealing with clients. However, you have to structure them the right way to help boost business while ensuring customer satisfaction.
Here are a few tips to help you design the perfect invoice template for your small business:
- Add an appreciative message or thank you note, like ‘Thank you for your business.’
- If you can wait on the payment, then always include a notice for late payment interest charge fees on the invoice.
- Minimize confusion by clearly stating how long clients can wait before they have to pay, like ‘Please pay within 15 days.’
- Keep the template design classic and minimalistic.
- Incorporating blocks of color palettes makes invoices appear more professional.
To protect your assets and your business reputation, it’s always a good idea to create a project estimate. This legal document outlines the essential components of the contract between you and your client.
A project estimate should include the following:
- Estimated costs
- The scope of the project
- Important deadlines
- When and how payments will be issued
- Ownership of the work
- How to end the project if one party cancels early
- What marks the end of a completed project
8. Website Terms and Conditions
Once your business is up and running, you’ll likely want to set up a website to attract more clients. So, to protect your website, you need two types of forms. One is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policy.
The second is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which honors the privacy rights of your consumers. It’s worth mentioning that the CCPA applies to businesses regardless of where they operate.
To Sum Up: Legal Templates for Small Business
Have the proper legal templates for small business. It’s essential to keep you and your company legally protected. They also help ensure that your organization thrives and enjoys long-term success.