Excellent Employee Relations

Order: 
4
Description: 
The most likely lawsuit your small business will face will come from one of your employees. Are you doing things properly to avoid this risk in your small business?

Effective Tax Strategies

Order: 
3
Description: 
Planning for taxes is one of the most important things separating successful small businesses from those that don't make it.

Rights To Name And Other Intellectual Property

Order: 
2
Description: 
Many small businesses, in a rush to get started, use a name and start building value in it only to find that someone else can make them stop using it. Or, small businesses often do not act quickly enough to protect their names when others start using it. Others lose the value of their business plans and trade secrets by not having the right agreements and arrangements in place.

Straightforward Ownership

Order: 
1
Description: 
The most common and serious legal issue affecting many small businesses is that it is unclear who owns the business. Facebook is the latest well-known example of a business that had to go back and deal with multiple, and unclear, claims of ownership from people providing financing and business ideas. Make sure you understand your ownership rights from the beginning.

Are directors and officers protected from liability and indemnified?

Order: 
5
Most States provide ways to further limit the liability of the directors, officers, members and employees of the small business. Are you taking advantage of these ways? In most cases you should, but be careful not to overdo and inadvertently hurt your small business.

Are your corporate records and registrations current?

Order: 
4
Small businesses get busy. It is easy to forget about annual registrations and doing those small things that keep the limited liability entity in place and capable of protecting owners from personal liability. Remember to record key events, have annual meetings and file your annual registrations with the State.

Do you protect your personal assets by separating them from the primary owner or operator of the business?

Order: 
3
Sometimes, even the best limited liability entity can be pierced. Sometimes, it is unavoidable to do things in an owner’s name instead of the name of the company. In these cases, it is wise to adopt some further protection of your personal assets by moving them away from the owner and manager of the business in order to protect them from creditors of the business.

Do you avoid using personal checking accounts and avoid signing or guaranteeing company documents, such as contracts and letters, in your personal name?

Order: 
2
While sometimes difficult, it is important to avoid signing agreements or other commitments in your personal capacity in order to take advantage of the protection of limited liability entities. But, you need to be aggressive in doing this. When unsuccessful, it is important to consider other strategies to protect personal assets, like multiple entities or transfer of assets to spouses in some cases.

As your company grows, are you using multiple limited liability entities to protect your business assets?

Order: 
1
As a company increases in size, it may want to continue to set up additional entities to protect the assets of the company from the potential liabilities of the company. It is wise to think of additional entities to house the primary assets of the company and separate them from the areas of the company with the greatest potential for liabilities.

Are you using a limited liability entity such as a corporation or LLC to protect your personal assets?

Order: 
0
A limited liability entity is the most effective insurance policy you can provide for your small business. It also provides important structure around ownership and financing. Choosing the right entity depends mainly on your tax situation, your ownership structure and the type of financing you hope to obtain.