Ask the Attorney Column - May 2015 (How do I go about starting up a small business?)

30-Aug-2015

The following article appeared in the May 2015 issue of the Community Chronicle Newspaper as part of a monthly column titled "Ask the Attorney" authored by Donnie O'Pry of the O'Pry Law Firm.

How do I go about starting up a small business?

First, let me congratulate you on making the decision to start up a small business. Starting a small business can be an exciting but stressful time for any new entrepreneur. Many small business owners begin doing business as a sole proprietorship in which they and their business are essentially acting as one and the same. However, changing the format of the small business to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or corporation can provide many benefits and protections to the business owner.

Both LLCs and corporations provide the advantage of allowing limited liability to the owner. Generally speaking, the owner of the company’s personal assets will be separate and protected from those of the business. Although not absolute, the debts of the business will not be attributed to the owner of the company unless he or she personally guarantees them.

The Limited Liability Company has quickly grown to become the most prevalent business form in Louisiana and throughout the country for small businesses. A LLCs lacks many of the rigid formalities that are required of corporations making them much easier for the small business owner to start up and operate. Additionally, LLCs can be advantageous from a tax perspective since they use “pass-through” income taxation.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a lawyer to start up a LLC. You can actually register a LLC online by visiting the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.la.gov. However, if you have any questions about LLCs or starting up your new business, it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney.

Donnie O’Pry is the Managing Partner of the O’Pry Law Firm, a litigation firm specializing in representing accident and injury victims. Please email your questions to Donnie@oprylaw.com.