Starting a new business is both an exciting and stressful time. From business plan to opening day, there are so many details that to check off your to-do list that it can be completely overwhelming making sure you’ve completed them all.
Near the top of that list should be making sure you’re complying legally on both state and federal levels. Keep reading for a list of legal documents your business needs to have.
A List of Legal Documents for Your Business
Every business is different. Some operate entirely online and don’t have the same regulations imposed on brick and mortar businesses. Each state has its own guidelines, and each business type has its own unique set of documents and procedures that must be adhered to.
Make sure you’ve researched exactly what laws and regulations your business will be subject to. Below are a few common ones.
1. Applicable Licensing
Depending on the state you live in and the type of business you own, there are various licenses to do business you will need to obtain. Common licenses include:
- Local business operating licenses, those required by your city or county to do business within their limits
- Zoning and land use permits, which allow you to do a specific type of business within a zoned area
- Building permits, if there is construction
- Fire department permit, where your building is cleared for fire safety codes
- Health licenses and permits, for businesses that are required to operate to certain codes by the health department
- Environmental licenses, for businesses which must comply with environmental codes
- State licenses, those required to legally do business within that state
When you’re designing your business plan, make sure you know exactly what city, state and federal regulations you need to comply with and obtain the necessary licenses appropriately.
2. Company Bylaws for Corporations
Company bylaws are required by most states for companies that operate as a corporation. Even if they aren’t required by your state, they’re a good document to have.
Bylaws lay out the business structure, governance procedures, and individual roles – or how the company runs and governs itself. In the event an issue arises, bylaws ensure there is a procedure and policy in place for navigating through.
If you’re having trouble understanding the verbiage in a contract of this kind, be sure to have a legal translation done so you understand exactly what’s in these operating procedures.
3. Non-disclosure Agreement
Every company has information that they should keep private. Typical kinds of information that are covered in a non-disclosure agreement are:
- Clients’ personal information, like name, address, and phone numbers
- Financial records of the company or the company’s clientele
- Business information like pricing models or designs
An NDA is a legal document that stands between the information your company holds and any contractors, business partners or employees who might be privy to it.
Keeping Your Business Legal
Running a business is hard enough. Make sure you don’t make it harder by failing to do the homework and make a list of legal documents you need to have on hand.
For more business advice, check out the rest of the informational articles on this site!