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 Warning Signs To Watch For When Choosing a Trademark Registration Service—Part 2

When launching a new business, one of your first priorities should be to secure the appropriate legal protection for your company’s intellectual property (IP). Depending on the type of IP involved, this can require securing patents, trademarks, and/or copyrights.

Among the very first IP elements you’ll want to protect is your company’s brand name and logo. This is done by registering for trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

 

Since you’re just getting your company up and running, you probably won’t have a huge budget to spend on protecting your IP, so you’ll most likely want to find a reasonably priced trademark registration service. But with so many different trademark services out there, it can be challenging to tell the legit operations from the not-so-legit. And as with all types of DIY legal services you find online, you should approach web-based trademark registration services with extreme caution. 

 

In this two-part series, we’ll discuss four warning signs to watch for when choosing a trademark registration service. Although we recommend that you always work with an experienced business lawyer like us to register your company’s trademarks and other IP protections, if you do choose to take the DIY route, this series outlines a few of the red flags you should watch for.

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4 Warning Signs To Watch For When Choosing a Trademark Registration Service—Part 1

When launching a new business, one of your first priorities should be to secure the appropriate legal protection for your company’s intellectual property (IP). Depending on the type of IP involved, this can require securing patents, trademarks, and/or copyrights.

Among the very first IP elements you’ll want to protect is your company’s brand name and logo. This is done by registering for trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

 

Since you’re just getting your company up and running, you probably won’t have a huge budget to spend on protecting your IP, so you’ll most likely want to find a reasonably priced trademark registration service. But with so many different trademark services out there, it can be challenging to tell the legit operations from the not-so-legit. And as with all types of DIY legal services you find online, you should approach web-based trademark registration services with extreme caution. 

 

On that note, in this two-part series, we’ll discuss four warning signs to watch for when choosing a trademark registration service. Although we recommend that you always work with an experienced business lawyer like us to register your company’s trademarks and other IP protections, if you do choose to take the DIY route, here are a few of the red flags you should watch for.

Read More

How to Move a Business to Another State

A business owner may relocate a business to another state for a variety of reasons, including increased real estate costs, property taxes, business taxes, or business regulations in the old location; changes in the target market; or even personal or family reasons.

Relocating your residence from one state to another requires that you complete several tasks, such as changing your mailing address, utilities, insurance policies, and possibly banks. Moving a business is much more complicated, and it may be difficult to determine what to do first. The steps needed for a successful move vary depending on your business structure.  

 

Sole Proprietorships 

 

One of the main advantages of forming a business as a sole proprietorship is that you do not have to comply with the formalities and requirements necessary for most other business structures. What you need to do to move your business will depend on the requirements of both your old state and the new state; however, there are certain steps you must always take. First, notify your clients and vendors about the move. Depending on the terms of your contracts, you may be required to provide a certain number of days’ notice. In the absence of any contractual notice requirements, a conservative approach of providing three months’ notice will allow your vendors and clients to prepare and accommodate the new location. If you will no longer be working with certain clients or vendors, thank them for the relationship and stay in touch.  

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Selling Your Small Business: What You Should Know

Determining whether to start a business is a major life decision. For small business owners, deciding when and how to sell the business is arguably even more consequential.

Before selling a business, the owner is likely to spend many hours and even days worrying and considering the options: Is the market right? What price should I set for my business, and is that value the “right” value? How do I get started? While these maybe some of the most significant issues facing a small business owner who wants to exit, there are many factors that should be considered before putting up the proverbial for sale sign. 

 

The why. Thinking about selling your business—and exchanging the long hours and stress for a financial return—can be exciting. However, do you have a plan for what you will do once the business is sold? Will you retire or start a new business? Are you interested in staying on as a consultant for the new owner or even as an employee? You should reflect on your personal “why,” not only for yourself, but also because prospective buyers will want to know why you are selling. Some common reasons for selling include retirement, illness (or death), disputes among multiple owners, or a desire for a life change. Make sure you understand why you want to sell your business before you take too many steps forward. You do not want to realize too late that the one thing you are most passionate about is no longer yours. 

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Does Your Website Need a Privacy Policy or Term of Use?

Conversations about data privacy policies and website terms of use have become more common in recent months.

Large companies like Facebook, Expedia, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have been involved in litigation involving agreements that address these very issues. The questions on most business owners’ minds are “What are these agreements?” and “Do I need them on my website?” Privacy policies and terms of use serve different purposes, but both are essential for any business that engages with customers via a website. 

 

What Is a Privacy Policy?

A privacy policy is an agreement that outlines how a company collects, stores, handles, and protects the personal information it collects from customers and visitors to its websites or mobile applications. It may also cover interactions that involve personal information collected off-line. Regardless of how you collect customer data, the privacy policy is where consumers curious about your company’s data practices and procedures should find answers to their questions.

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Choosing the Right Lawyer to Handle Your First Lawsuit or Business Conflict

I mentioned one thing in particular that could mean all the difference in dealing with this scary scenario—finding the right lawyer to help you resolve the conflict, or litigate on your behalf, if it cannot be resolved without going to court.

In my previous article, I gave you some ways in which you can prepare yourself and your business when served with a lawsuit.

 

But how do you choose the best lawyer for your situation? It helps to think ahead to what you want both the experience and the outcome to be, and what you DON’T want them to be. Do you want the whole thing to be over as quickly as possible or are you willing to settle in for the long haul to get your desired results? How willing are you to compromise?

 

Once you have that image in your head, you can use the following questions to evaluate the lawyers that you are considering hiring.

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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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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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