NORTHEAST FLORIDA CONTRACT LAW FIRM SERVING, DUVAL, CLAY, NASSAU, ST. JOHNS, FLAGLER AND BAKER COUNTIES
Starting and Developing a Business
At the outset of starting your new business, having contracts and agreements in place can help to improve operational efficiency, decrease operational expenses, reduce the cost of sales, minimize risk, uncover underutilized revenue streams, and reduce direct labor costs.
The strong start to every business venture also requires an understanding of legal exposure, asset protection, and tax implications. A business plan containing well-drafted legal documents is crucial to the success of any start-up.
As a business grows, it will also take on more commitments including, and not limited to:
- An increase in employees;
- Additional commercial borrowing, including bank and nontraditional financing;
- A merger with a competitor;
- New and expanded locations;
- New investors and/or partners;
- New supplier and customer contracts;
- Introduction of a new product or service; and
- Intellectual property that requires protection.
New business owners often become so immersed in their day-to-day activities that they have little time to focus on how to best protect their interests – especially when planning for future growth. Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. knows how to anticipate favorable business interests, identify issues, and help to foster and protect you and your business into the future.
New business owners/partners will be ahead of the game if they develop and have available to them a shareholders agreement, operating agreement, or partnership agreement that spells out the terms of a relationship among the owners/partners. A well-drafted, proactive agreement shields parties from unforeseeable circumstances such as litigation, death, disability and/or divorce of an owner/partner.
Many business relationships begin with unbridled optimism and enthusiasm without adequate written agreements. When relationships are later strained or even irreparably damaged due to poor planning or just bad luck, a business often does not recover. With a properly drafted agreement in place, these situations can often be successfully weathered and costly and drawn out litigation can be avoided.
A buy-sell agreement is also one of the best ways to protect new business owners from unforeseen circumstances. These documents fix the methodology for determining the future value of a business, as well as buyout terms and conditions, which will serve to avoid future disputes.
These agreements become crucially important if any of the parties wish to, or are forced to, end their relationship with the business. Buy-sell agreements are also extremely important to have in place when, or if, an owner dies, becomes disabled, or divorces.
An employment agreement can also protect a business from the following eventualities:
- Loss of an employee to a competitor;
- A former employee who threatens frivolous litigation;
- Paying attorney’s fees in frivolous wrongful termination suits; and
- When a disgruntled former employee attempts to “borrow” or “threatens to borrow” trade secrets, confidential information and/or intellectual property.
A Step-by-Step Business Formation Illustration
- Set up the most advantageous business structure considering federal and state tax implications (Sole proprietor, Partnership, LLC, LP, Corporation, etc.);
- Prepare, and file necessary documents including: an application for a federal employer identification number; Articles of Incorporation / Organization, Bylaws, Operating Agreements / Shareholder Agreements, application for state sales tax number, etc.;
- File for S-Corporation status, if appropriate;
- Negotiate and draft buy-sell agreement among the owners/partners, if applicable;
- Negotiate a commercial lease;
- Draft and implement employee-policy manual, if applicable;
- Draft employment agreement including non-competition clause;
- Assist in the negotiating of financing and business credit terms with local banks;
- Draft customer invoices with terms and condition of sale; and
- Set up business succession planning for owners’ families.
If you need more information about business formation in Florida, contact us today. We can ensure the process is handled properly. Call Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. today at 904-482-0616, or use the form below.
Please note, all information contained herein is provided for general informational purposes only. The information herein is not intended as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Different factual scenarios may yield different results. In addition, several other factors must be considered in each individual case, and those factors can only be ascertained by speaking directly with an attorney.
- (904) 482-0616
- 9310 Old Kings Road South, Suite 1501, Jacksonville, Florida 32257
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