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Thinking about starting a business? Here's some food for thought.

No one needs to remind you that starting a business is a much larger commitment than a regular full-time job. There is a seemingly endless list of tasks to complete before opening day, an event that just introduces a whole new set of tasks and challenges.

However, starting a business is not something that allows for cutting corners. Getting everything right up front will save you from potentially tens of thousands of dollars or more in unnecessary costs, fines and legal fees in the future.

Whether you are in the early planning stages or are inching closer to your opening date, here are some things you need to be thinking about:

  • Choosing the proper entity: Do you know how you will form your business? While sole proprietorships are the most popular, you may actually benefit from forming as an S corporation or a limited liability company (LLC). The entity you choose will have implications for taxes, liabilities and decision making.
  • Will this be a partnership: If you are starting a business with a partner, do you know what that partnership will look like? Will you share equally in decision making, or will one of you run the business and the other one just provides capital? You also need to think about what will happen in the future should one of you want to withdraw from the partnership.
  • Compliance with federal, state and local laws: You will need to think about taxes, licensing, compliance with local building codes, hiring and firing, insurance and a host of other issues that may never occur to you.
  • Acquiring real estate: Whether you are opening a retail shop or a home-based business, you will need to ensure that your property is compliant with local zoning laws. You also should think about whether you want to purchase or rent, and what you would do if your landlord wanted to change the details of your arrangement.
  • Hiring employees: Do you want to start off with employees? Are you familiar with labor laws with regard to discrimination and wages? Are you going to provide health insurance?

Do not try to do it all alone

We don't mention all of these things to try to talk you out of starting your own business. Far from it. Erie is a wonderful community with many thriving small businesses that make our community unique. We mention these things to help you get started on the right track.

In fact, the Quinn Law Firm has helped entrepreneurs throughout northwestern Pennsylvania for decades, and stays on top of changing laws and regulations to position our clients for success into the future. To learn more about how we can help you address these complex issues now instead of after they turn into problems, we invite you to call our office in Erie at 814-833-2222.

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