What exactly is business planning? Business planning revolves around helping small business owners with their various legal needs. Common legal needs for small business owners include:
- Business Entity Formation
- General Counsel Legal and Consultative Services
- Business Succession Planning or Transition Planning
Business Entity Formation
Oftentimes, small business owners need help with their initial business entity formation. We’ll help review your best entity options, determine the best entity structure for your business, and then create the business entity with the proper authorities (state, IRS, or other groups).
Once the business entity has been created, there will be additional formation documents you’ll want to create for your corporate records. Additionally, we will ensure that you have what you need for ongoing requirements tor keep the business entity established and in good standing.
General Counsel Legal and Consultative Services
As small businesses grow, their operations will have varying legal and consultative service needs ranging from standard contract negotiations to developing an employee handbook to more complex needs, such as protecting intellectual property or handling complex business litigation.
Many times small business owners are looking for trusted legal support to help them navigate the legal requirements of their business operations. Similar to a general counsel within a larger corporation, there are general legal needs that should be handled “in house” while more complex matters may be better served by a specialist attorney.
The Bell Law Firm assists small businesses in a general counsel capacity, performing services similar to what internal general counsel provides for larger businesses. A few of the common areas where we advise business clients for their operations include:
- Review and analysis of contracts and pending agreements
- Confidentiality issues and non-compete agreements with employees
- Negotiating and executing contracts
- Maintaining ongoing entity documents like corporate bylaws, minutes and additional operating agreements
- Liability analysis for officers and directors
- Asset purchase agreements
- Commercial lease or sub-lease agreements
- Finding the right specialist for complex business or legal challenges
Business Succession Planning or Transition Planning
Finally, many small business owners are approaching retirement and making plans for transitioning out of their business. These clients may be planning to transition their business to a family member or an employee with an internal transfer of the business. Or these clients may have a reliable employee they’d like to transition the business to, via an external transfer to a 3rd party. Many times the value of the business is the owner’s primary asset, so it is critical for the transition to have no negative impact on the value of the business as the owner transitions to a crucial stage in life.
Whether by internal transfer or external transfer, both of these situations encompass multiple legal needs for the business owner. These range from executing shareholder agreements with inclusive buy-sell terms, to creating transactional agreements that maximize the entity value within existing tax laws and regulations.
Business succession planning is typically done in a team environment working with the clients’ accountants, appraisers, financial advisor(s), employees and other key advisors. The Bell Law Firm is very comfortable working in a team environment with business clients, and we are always sensitive to the confidential needs of small business owners. We also affirm that a team approach can be the most effective approach for business owners during these transitional times.
As a business owner makes plans for transitioning their business, there is an increasing need to integrate those plans with their personal estate planning. We work with the business owners to be sure their business succession planning is properly aligned with their estate planning. As part of this effort there is an increased effort to align asset ownership with all of these plans. Our goal is to provide the business owner peace of mind as they transition their business and their legacy to the next generation of business owner.
If we can be of any assistance to you with regards to the legal needs of your small business, we’d love to chat with you during a no-cost consultation at 913-345-2323.