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!

Facing Your First Lawsuit? Here Are the First Two Steps You Need To Get You Through

Facing your first lawsuit as a business owner can throw you into emotional turmoil and fear, understandably. Suddenly you are faced with extraordinary costs and uncertainty.

Even worse, the lawsuit may be reflected back to you your greatest fears about yourself and perhaps even about the work you do. But a lawsuit doesn’t have to spell the end of your business, nor the collapse of your dignity. Instead, it can be a big opportunity to see something that you otherwise couldn’t see about where you need to shore up holes and create systems to be able to grow your business.

 

If you haven’t already read it, my mentor wrote a Manifesto about the more than $1,000,000 mistakes she made when growing her business, including more than one lawsuit, and you can read that here, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes she did.

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How to Pay Yourself as the Owner of an LLC

One of the most exciting parts of owning a business is that you get to pay yourself. No longer forced to rely on someone else’s leadership to keep your company running or their good graces to pay you what you want or need, you get to decide how much you earn, how much you work, and reap the rewards of your best efforts.

And yet, many business owners don’t pay themselves or rely on inconsistent income, to support themselves. If that’s you, it’s time to make a shift now. 

 

In most cases, paying yourself a consistent income that at least meets your base personal needs should be the first and highest priority of your business. And when you pay yourself in the right way, you can also minimize your taxes while ensuring your business has what it needs to grow as well. 

 

Of course, owning your own business also means that if your company doesn’t earn enough money, you might not get paid at all. And in the worst-case scenario, if you don’t structure your business’ legal, financial, and tax systems properly, you could even find yourself in a situation in which you don’t get paid, and at the end of the year you end up owing taxes that your company can’t afford to cover.

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How (and Why) to Keep Your Corporate Records Up to Date

First of all, a quick reminder: July 15th is this year’s due date for federal taxes, pushed back from April 15th due to the upheavals caused by the coronavirus, so get in action now, if you are not already, to get your taxes prepared and filed.

Today we’re talking about the importance of keeping meticulous records of everything your business does. It may be a little late for you to apply these practices to your 2019 business taxes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your upcoming records in ship-shape as soon as possible, and do better going forward.

 

Good record keeping definitely isn’t the flashiest or most exciting part of your business. In fact, it can be downright tedious. However, it is far more tedious to dig around through your files, email, meeting minutes, statements, and calendars for the information you need to complete your taxes, get access to capital, or defend your assets, if necessary.  

 

The possible consequences of not keeping good corporate records should be enough to inspire you to cover your bases. First, if you ever end up in a lawsuit, you need to be able to prove to anyone who files suit against you that the "corporate veil" is in place. The "corporate veil" is like an invisible, yet strong, shield between your personal assets and the business's activities. It's this shield that makes it so you won't be personally liable and have to use your own assets to pay back debts or other obligations of your business. 

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Why Right Now Is The Ideal Time to Buy An Existing Business

When it comes to owning your own business, don’t forget that building a company from scratch isn’t your only option.

In fact, buying an existing business and making it your own is often a much more efficient, economical, and prudent way to fulfill your entrepreneurial dreams.

 

Given that roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day, and this trend will continue until 2029, when the generation’s youngest members reach that milestone, right now is one of the most opportune times to make such a purchase.

 

Indeed, the retirement of Baby Boomers is such a major shift in demographics, it’s been dubbed the “silver tsunami,” and it has the potential to flood the market with a significant number of highly profitable businesses being put up for sale. According to the California Association of Business Brokers, over the next two decades retiring Boomers will sell or bequeath more than 12 million businesses, with a total value estimated to be worth more than $10 trillion.   

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Legal Issues to Consider Before Hiring

Despite the challenges facing many businesses, some companies are still experiencing growth. If your business is expanding, you may find that it is time for you to make your first hire.

As you begin this process, it is critical to note that expansion, while providing a great opportunity to increase productivity and scale, can also expose your business to additional risks. As you prepare to expand your workforce, keep the following questions in mind: 

 

1. Are you hiring an independent contractor or an employee? One of the most important things to remember is that a worker’s classification impacts your legal liability and tax obligations. For example, you are not responsible for withholding taxes for an independent contractor. However, you are required to withhold certain taxes from an employee’s wages. A worker’s classification on paper alone is insufficient; the actual dynamics of the working relationship determine it. If you exert substantial control over what a worker is doing, and the worker has very little independence, the worker will likely be classified as an employee and therefore entitled to the rights of an employee. Be diligent in establishing the parameters around each working relationship.

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Key Considerations for Managing a Remote Workforce

The post-COVID-19 world will likely see a major shift toward companies maintaining remote workforces.

Due to government-mandated business closures and stay-home orders, many owners and employees of small businesses have been forced to work virtually, and they have seen the benefits. Studies show that remote working increases productivity. Large technology companies like Facebook and Twitter have announced that they will be implementing remote working until at least September 2020. Some companies have even gone as far as to give employees the option of working from home permanently. The “new normal” that many predict involves more companies maintaining a remote workforce.

 

As a business owner, you may be exploring the idea of permanently utilizing a remote workforce; however, you may not be aware of all of the relevant factors to consider and preparations to implement. Be sure to take the following measures as you move toward permanent virtual employment.

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Important Considerations for Purchasing a Business

Among those who desire to own their own business, many attempt to build a company from scratch. That, however, is not the only available option.

Purchasing a company that is already in existence is a valid alternative. If you are interested in potentially acquiring a business instead of starting one from the ground up, there are several vital questions to answer.

 

Do you want to purchase an independent business or a franchise? One decision you must make is whether you wish to buy a franchise or an independent company. Each option presents its own unique set of circumstances. With franchises, you are part of a systematic network built around an established name. There may be stringent requirements regarding the systems and procedures you must follow as a franchisee. If you opt to purchase an independent business, you may enjoy the benefit of increased flexibility, but may require more research and business development to acquire the same level of recognition an established franchise— properly situated—may have.

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3 Tips for Effective Business Succession Planning: How Will You Exit?

You’ve most likely dedicated significant time and energy to visioning your business, executing your vision, and even writing up a business plan for the growth of your business.

Yet far fewer business owners put the same amount of effort into planning for their company’s continued success following their retirement, death, or incapacity.

 

Not planning for the future of your business after you retire, become incapacitated, or die, could have potentially disastrous consequences for you, your clients/customers, and your family if (and when) something should happen to you. Indeed, creating a comprehensive succession plan (as part of your overall estate plan) is every bit as critical as any other planning you do for your business, if not more so.

 

Whether you exit your business with a sale, your incapacity, or as a result of your death, there will come a time when it’s time to go. To ensure your company continues to prosper once you are no longer in the picture, here are three tips for developing a sound business succession plan.

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How to Legally Terminate an Employee

Almost all business owners eventually must make the difficult decision to terminate an employee.

Whether that decision arises from failure on the employee’s part or economic turbulence, one thing is clear: How a business handles this delicate situation can either increase or decrease the risk of negative consequences like lawsuits and unfavorable public attention. Here are the best practices to keep in mind if you are considering terminating an employee.

 

1. Involve your Human Resources department from the beginning. The Human Resources (HR) department of your company can be especially helpful during the termination of an employee for a number of reasons. First, HR is likely familiar with (or has access to records regarding) the employee’s hiring process. Second, HR staff are likely trained to understand the implementation of applicable laws and to handle delicate situations with personnel. Third, HR can ensure that the final payments and health benefits issued to the terminated employee comply with legal requirements. Finally, your HR team can provide at least one witness to any termination meetings or communications that occur. With this training and experience, they are uniquely equipped to advise you regarding the proper steps to take.

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Four Things Business Owners Should Know about Trademark Infringement

Against the backdrop of globalization and the expansion of online business activity, trademark infringement is on the rise.

Most elements of business branding—name, logo, design—are readily available online, making it easier for people to knowingly or unknowingly use the intellectual property of others. As a business owner, you must prioritize both protecting your own trademarks and avoiding infringement of others’ marks. The following are important concepts to understand as you develop your business’s trademark strategy.

 

1. What is a trademark? A trademark identifies a business or individual as the source of a good or service. It can take the form of words, phrases, symbols, designs, colors, or a combination of elements. Marks that identify the source of a service are called service marks; however, in practice, the term trademark is broadly used to identify both service marks and trademarks. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is the federal agency responsible for reviewing and registering trademarks in the United States.

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