Steps to Success

Legal

Of all the legal issues you may encounter when starting a business, one of the most important decisions is the type of legal structure you select for your company.

Not only will this decision have an impact on how much you pay in taxes, but it will affect the amount of paperwork your business is required to do, the personal liability you face and your ability to raise money.

Even after you settle on a business structure,  remember that the circumstances that make one type of business organization favorable are always subject to changes in the laws.  It makes sense to reassess your form of business from time to time to make sure you are using the one that provides the most benefits.

Types of business structures include

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • LLC
  • S Corporation
  • C Corporation

and each has advantages and disadvantages based on your individual business and situation. See Types of Business Structures in the sidebar for more information.

Other important areas of business that have legal aspects include

  • Human resources -- payroll, benefits, and other personnel issues
  • Intellectual property -- important copyright, trademark or patent concerns
  • Licensing, zoning, permits

If your business is located in Champaign you can get financial assistance for legal services through the city's Small Business Incentive Program (see the sidebar).

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