First, decide of the legal form of business organization you want to use. For most businesses, this will be a sole proprietorship, corporation, or partnership. There are also other less used forms such as S corporations, limited liability companies, and limited partnerships.To insure that you are operating a legal business, check with your local and state authorities to notify them of the nature of your business and learn if there are any permits needed. Most small businesses do not need a special permit, but some do. Your local city or county zoning board can help steer you in the right direction.
For tax laws, contact an office of the Internal Revenue Service for booklets and guides. The IRS will give you a free “New Business Kit”. Their Publication 334 also has a lot of useful information about small business tax matters.
Some businesses require special authorization from state agencies before they can conduct business. Certain health facilities, transportation businesses, businesses dealing in dangerous chemicals, food processors, and others must check with the appropriate state agency for permission to do business.
If you will be employing others in your business, the state Employment Commission can advise you of laws pertaining to the hiring, employment and pay of workers. There are also Federal laws in this area, but the state agency can advise you of these also.
In addition, almost everything that you will be doing in your business has a legal implication. Leases, contracts, credit, banking, equipment ownership, real estate – all have legal aspects which should be understood. Establishing and maintaining a relationship with a lawyer is a good business practice. When you need a lawyer to review one of these matters, you will have that specialist available. It is far better to use lawyers to keep you out of legal trouble than to wait to use them after you are in trouble.