The number of business start-ups in the United States was a little less than 500,000 last year. It’s the dream of many Americans to start their own business. It’s important that you establish your business correctly to ensure the best chance for long-term success and survival. Investing in a good business attorney on the front end is a wise move to build a firm foundation and a good start.

A small business person just starting out can be concerned about keeping expenses down. However, if you don’t structure your new business in the correct manner and with the help of an experienced legal expert, as well as a financial expert such as an accountant or banker, you could wind up paying more money in the long run from such things as unforeseen taxes, improper financing, exposure to potential personal liability or maybe due to a disgruntled employee who leaves your company and takes all your customers with him.

One of the first areas to be addressed is your legal structure – partnership, limited liability company, or a corporation. If it’s a corporation, then what type of corporation? There are many factors that will determine the best legal structure for your business and this is something that may change through the years as your business evolves.

Your legal structure is dependent on such things as:

• Your need to limit personal liability from potential claims or lawsuits aimed at your business;
• Whether or not you have outside investors in addition to friends and family members;
• Or the need to limit your tax exposure from both a corporate and personal standpoint.

In a second installment, we’ll discuss other issues an attorney can assist with when you start a business.

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Corporate & Banking