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~by Anica Oaks~

You may be looking to take charge of your life by starting your own business. But there are still a number of legal matters or issues that have to be resolved up front.

Here are four legal matters you ought to discuss with an attorney before you begin business operations.

1. Zoning

Every community will have established zoning requirements as far as where certain businesses can be located. Even running a business out of your garage or home office may violate zoning statutes. Assuming that you can run your business from a location just because there are others in the neighborhood may be a mistake. Zoning maps can change, and some businesses may be allowed an exemption. Wherever you decide to make your office or shop, be sure it complies with local zoning laws to avoid future penalties.

2. Business Structure

This could be more complicated than you’d expect. Small businesses may be a sole-proprietor, partnership, limited partnership, private corporation, or a limited liability organization. Choosing the right structure depends on how you’ll operate, any partners you may have, liability issues, and tax structures. You need to assess the various options and pick the structure that will best lower expenses and address legal protection for you and your assets.

3. Licenses and Bonding

Depending on the type of business and potential risks, this step may require getting licenses or bonds at the local, county, state, and even federal level. This can even apply to home businesses. It would be a wise move to seek out legal advice from attorneys who’ve guided other companies from startups to corporations in their legal obligations. Look for experts in securities and business development. This may even involve bringing in specialists who are the right fit for your particular company or industry.

4. Non-Disclosure

If you expect to find financing for your business or will be entering into contracts, non-disclosure agreements may help to reduce the risks. They may need access to data or information you’d prefer to be kept private. If you’re planning a new product outlet and need funding, you don’t want your lender tipping off the competition. Non-disclosure agreements can prevent this or give you legal recourse if it happens.

In order to be operating legally, there are a number of regulatory issues that should be your first priority. It’s important that you consult a business lawyer to get these needs covered, as oversights could lead to stiff penalties or even revocation of business licenses.

Meet the Author: Anica Oaks

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean and anything outdoor related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.