Business Law & Growth

If you're the kind of entrepreneur who wants to make a real difference while you're in business and leave behind a body of work that continues to do good for your family, your customers, and the world after you're gone, you've come to the right place.

Business formation is a pivotal time in your new company's lifecycle. Your choice of entity impacts ownership, liability, taxes, profit sharing, ongoing management, eventual sale, and much, much more. Sky Unlimited can help you make the ideal choice.  

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We help our clients leverage their IP, establish a competitive position for the future, and achieve important milestones for growth.  Our chief goal is to identify key areas in which IP protection is the most critical for achieving the company's business objectives, determine the most effective methods of protection, and create strategies to avoid issues with third-party patents.  

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The traditional law business model is flawed. It incentivizes lawyers to spend more time on matters (since they are billing for every hour in six-minute increments), increase conflict (the more conflict there is, the longer the engagement), and constantly focus on the next new client (one off transactions are the norm in most legal practices). Plus, the world has shifted and quite a lot of legal work has become commoditized into online legal drafting software, documents on demand and do-it-yourself lawyering. 

 

Lawyers, not being entrepreneurs, tried to compete and became mere shadows themselves - document drafters, doing one-off transactions for clients, such as incorporating business, and then went on the hunt for the next new client.

 

Not us! We build lifetime relationships with our clients. Because a legal relationship not built upon a lifetime foundation is worthless. Really. If you want a transaction, go online and find a document drafting service. If you want someone great that will help you move your awesome idea into a revenue generating business, take your existing business to the next level of excellence, and prepare you and your business to leave behind a legacy of significance, you've come to the right place.

 

Sky Unlimited Legal Advisory will work with you to grow your business from day one. We support startups and small businesses through their exciting lifecycle, from business formation to sale - and every challenge and opportunity in between.


Entrepreneur Weekly

Articles from the Chief Counsel's desk.  Sign up for our newsletter to receive these in your email!

4 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Business Entity - Part 2

When starting a business, you have to make a ton of different decisions. From deciding what to name your company to hire employees, getting your business off the ground comes with a nearly endless number of decisions.

Of all these decisions, perhaps none is more important or has a more significant impact on your success (or failure) than your choice of business entity structure. The entity you choose for your business will affect everything contracted by your company. Your business entity will determine the amount of taxes you pay, what kind of records you keep, and how vulnerable your assets are to lawsuits.

 

Among the different business entities, all companies should be one of the following legal structures: a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC). Last week in part one, we discussed the first two of four leading factors to consider when selecting your entity, and here, we cover the final two. 

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4 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Business Entity - Part 1

When starting a business, you have to make a ton of decisions. Deciding what to name your company and hiring employees, what kind of products or services you should sell, and how to fund your operation, getting your business off the ground comes with a nearly endless number of decisions.

Of all these decisions, perhaps none is more important or has a more significant impact on your success (or failure) than your choice of business entity structure. Indeed, the entity you choose for your business will affect everything from the amount of taxes you pay and what kind of records you are required to keep to how vulnerable your assets are to lawsuits incurred by your company. 

 

Among the different business entities, all companies should be one of the following legal structures: a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (LLC). While you should consult with us, your Family Business Lawyer™ before making your final decision, here are four of the leading factors to consider when selecting the entity that’s best suited for your particular business. 

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New Rules For Deducting Meal And Entertainment Expenses

Taking your clients out to dinner or to a sporting event can be a great way to get to know the people with whom you are doing business and help you develop a closer relationship. Plus, business-related meals and entertainment can be a legitimate business expense (with some exceptions) that you can deduct from your company’s income taxes.

That said, the rules for deducting meal and entertainment expenses from your taxes have changed quite a bit over the last few years. And these changes have made understanding exactly what you can (and cannot) write off on your tax return pretty confusing. 

 

For example, in some circumstances, a business-related meal is 100% deductible, while in others, the same meal is only 50% deductible. Yet other times, a business meal is totally nondeductible. It all boils down to a few factors: the meal’s purpose, who provides the meal, and who benefits from the meal. 

 

Legislation Brings New Rules

To boost business spending at restaurants following the pandemic, Congress added a provision to the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) passed in December 2020 that makes the cost of business-related meals served in a restaurant 100% deductible—but only for 2021 and 2022. Previously, deductions for business meals at restaurants were limited to 50%.

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What's In A Name? Frequently Asked Questions About Trademarks

When it comes to your company’s identity, nothing is more vital to your company than your name and logo. By developing a catchy name and snazzy logo for your business, you can quickly get your company recognized, remembered, and respected.

Once you have come up with a winning name and logo, you will want to safeguard your investment with the proper legal protections. For the maximum level of protection and to protect the investment you are making in your business, you should register your business name and logo with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

 

That said, registering a trademark with the USPTO can be a lengthy and complex process, especially if you aren’t familiar with intellectual property law. While you should always work with an experienced business lawyer like us to register your trademark, you can use these answers to some commonly asked questions about trademarks and the trademark registration process as a quick-and-easy reference.

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Use Work-For-Hire And Copyright Assignment Agreements To Secure Your Intellectual Property

Hiring independent contractors (ICs) can be an essential way to boost productivity and streamline your resources, especially during the startup phase, when you have limited access to capital and can’t afford to hire a full roster of employees.

And even after your operation grows beyond its fledgling period, contractors are often vital for completing one-off projects or rounding out your team during particularly busy periods. That said, working with ICs also creates a number of unique legal and financial risks for your company.

 

Outside of the risk of getting sued or hit with hefty fines for misclassifying an employee as a contractor,  you must also be careful to properly secure ownership of anything an IC creates for you. This is particularly true when it comes to intellectual property (IP).

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Why Should You Create a Trust To Protect Your Business and Family

Although you can invest in many different types of insurance to protect your business from lawsuits and other liabilities, one of the greatest liabilities you simply can’t avoid, especially if you are the sole owner of your business, is your incapacity or death.

To make certain that your business—and the income it generates for your family—would continue to run smoothly when something happens to you, you need to create a comprehensive estate plan, and it really needs to include a trust. Without such a plan in place, your business will be stuck in an unnecessary court process that could easily cause the loss of everything you’ve worked so hard to build.

 

A Will Alone Is Not Enough

When it comes to creating an estate plan, most people typically think of a will. While it’s possible to leave your company to someone in your will, it’s far from the ideal option. That’s because, upon your death, all assets passed through a will must first go through the court process known as probate. The cost and time of probate and the complexity of a court making decisions about your business assets are wholly unnecessary. 

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4 Tips for Running a Business With Your Spouse - Without Ruining Your Marriage

Going into business with your spouse or romantic partner can be an amazing opportunity—but it can just as easily be an absolute nightmare. Regardless of how amazing your love life may be, there’s no guarantee you’ll be equally compatible in a working relationship. And if things don’t work out, it has the potential to wreck both your business and marriage.

That said, though it’s bound to be just as—if not more—challenging than maintaining a romantic relationship, if you are able to stick it out and grow through the experience, establish appropriate boundaries, and respect each other’s differences, building a business with your spouse or significant other can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. 

 

To improve your odds of success, here are four things that have enabled successful couples to make their working relationships work:

 

1. Formally Document Your Business Relationship

Getting married involves taking vows and signing a marriage license, and you should treat your business relationship with an equal degree of formality. Before opening your doors, clearly outline the terms and conditions of your company’s ownership, operation, and dissolution in formal legal agreements that are signed by you both. Just creating these agreements will often show you how well you’ll be able to work together and handle hard conversations. 

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4 Business Lessons You Don't Have to Learn The Hard Way

Starting your own business can be both exciting and scary, and you are bound to make numerous mistakes along the way. But you’ll often discover that some of your biggest mistakes will later become your greatest strengths.

This was exactly the case for my mentor, Ali Katz, who went from losing $1 million to running a company that earns over $5 million a year. Indeed, Ali was able to not only learn from her early missteps as a lawyer and businesswoman, but she capitalized on those lessons by creating New Law Business Model, which trains lawyers like me to help families and business owners not repeat the same expensive mistakes she made.

 

Here, we share four of the most important lessons Ali learned on her way to success, which have been adapted from a recent Grow By Acorns article Ali was featured in.

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What You Should Know About the Corporate Transparency Act

Included within the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act passed on January 1, 2021, the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) requires certain small businesses based in the U.S. to report the identities of their owners and organizers to the Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

The CTA is an update to the federal government’s anti-money laundering laws and is designed to crack down on shell companies created for illicit financial activities, such as money laundering and funding terrorist organizations.

 

While the CTA is aimed at providing greater transparency into who owns and controls small businesses in the U.S., it stands to impact many legitimate small companies by requiring them to provide reports on the identities of their owners. At the same time, the new law may also affect future business transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, by making the process more logistically complex, with less privacy for certain organizational structures like limited liability companies (LLCs), which have historically been used to avoid disclosing detailed ownership information.

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Thinking About Starting a Nonprofit? Here's What You Should Know - Part 2

Starting a nonprofit organization can be a great way to give back to your community, while working for a cause you are passionate about. That said, if you are starting a nonprofit simply to avoid some of the more unsavory aspects of running a business, you should seriously reconsider.

As the founder of a nonprofit, you will still be “in business,” and you’ll have to deal with many of the same things for-profit business owners face when running their companies. The main difference is, when running a nonprofit, you’ll be working in service to your mission, rather than in service to yourself or to the other owners of your business—and that’s because there are no “owners” of nonprofits!

 

Ownership is just one of many unique aspects involved with starting a nonprofit, and there are several other important factors you should consider before launching your own organization. Last week, in part one of this series, we outlined a few of the most critical things you should know about nonprofit startups, and here we’ll finish our discussion.

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