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When Entrepreneurs Should Get Legal Help

BizStarts highly recommends consulting with an attorney regarding the following three topics.

Determining the legal structure for your business:
  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • C Corporation
  • S Corporation
  • Limited liability corporation (LLC)

The business structure you choose will have legal and tax implications. It is important to find the structure that best fits your business. Learn more about each, along with their advantages and disadvantages from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Protecting your intellectual property:

Our intellectual property page defines different categories of IP, such as patents, trademarks/servicemarks, copyrights and trade secrets. It is also important to protect your IP from within your company. A company should take steps to ensure that employees do not intentionally or inadvertently reveal confidential and proprietary information about the business to competitors. Typical steps include creating written employee agreements and limiting access to proprietary information.

Complying with all federal, state and local regulations:

It is critical that a new business complies with all federal, state and local regulations, including obtaining all required licenses or permits before beginning operations. The most common areas of concern for new businesses are:

  • tax registration
  • payroll/income taxes
  • incorporation filing requirement
  • business licenses
  • building permits
  • health regulations
  • environmental regulations

State of Wisconsin

  • Department of Safety and Professional Services provides a License/Permit/Registrations Database. Determine if your business must obtain state licensing, a permit, or registration.
  • To do business in Wisconsin as a C Corporation, S Corporation, Limited Liability Corporation or a limited partnership, the business must be registered with the Department of Financial Institutions.
  • Department of Workforce Development provides resources and information for Workers Compensation, Unemployment and Equal Rights requirements.
  • Use the Department of Revenue to obtain a Business Tax Registration and other tax related permits.
  • The Department of Natural Resources Permit Primer provides information regarding its regulatory programs.

Federal Government

  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
    • All new businesses, with the exception of sole proprietorships, are required to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the Internal Revenue Service.

Local Governments

  • Local municipalities and counties may have licensing and zoning oversight for existing and new businesses. The business location needs to be zoned for business uses or a conditional use permit may be required.
  • Check with your local, municipal, or county economic development organization for specific requirements.

This list may not be completely comprehensive. Once again BizStarts highly recommends consulting an attorney. Many law firms offer full-ranging services to emerging companies. Here are the services offered by Godfrey & Kahn S.C. and Whyte hirschboeck Dudek S.C.

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