Michigan Small Business Attorney
As a proud West Michigan small business, we want you to be empowered to make great business decisions. We are continuously creating more free resources for your business.
We have published books, reports and videos that are meant to answer the most common questions we get and also answer the questions we know you should be asking. Creating strong businesses, creates a strong community.
Who Is Looking Out For the Future of Your Michigan Business?
At The Business Law Group we focus on the future. We are creating the next generation of Fortune 500 Companies by providing small and medium size businesses with outside general counsel services.
It seems unimaginable that big businesses, with unlimited access to capital, talent and other resources, could disappear but the data is clear. Over the last half century, nearly every big business has been rendered obsolete. These big businesses are replaced by a new generation of business. But where do these businesses come from? Over the next half century the small and medium sized businesses that follow the right path, will replace nearly every big business we see today.
The Business Law Group works with businesses that are on this and similar tracks. And our focus on the future goes beyond just looking after our clients’ futures. The Business Law Group is a progressive business law firm. We are able to run leaner than most other law firms because we leverage technology and our relationships to serve our clients.
Without the need for massive offices and bloated staffs, we are able to be much more flexible and fit with how our clients operate. At the same time, we have strategic relationships make sure we have the resources to fill our clients’ needs. If there is a project that requires a team, our relationship with big firms allow us to access their business attorneys to scale our team to get the job done. If an issue arises that requires specialized knowledge of the law, we have a network of small firms with those specific areas of expertise. If we spot an issue that requires the assistance of nonlegal professionals, chances are we have seen it before and can introduce you to the folks you need to know.
Ultimately our focus, give our clients the time they desperately need. They are not spending hours looking for help, attempting to fix problems themselves or handling common legal tasks. Instead they can use that time to focus on growing their business. And they know that growth will last because The Business Law Group has their future in mind at all times.
Business Information You Can Use
Do I need a corporate lawyer?
No you do not “need” a corporate law attorney but you may want one. Running a business can be overwhelming. Contracts, warranties, employees, lawsuits, business taxes and government compliance are just a few of the issues you may face and you may want someone with experience in you corner. Also, your customers, vendors, suppliers, partners and many other out there have local business attorneys representing their interest so you might want someone representing you.
My business has never had any legal issues so what business attorney corporation services are there for me?
While there is a common misperception that all attorneys spend their days in court and embroiled in conflict, the fact is a lot of attorneys provide valuable business service to clients outside the courtroom. Your small business might not be in and out of court, but things like negotiations, contract drafting, employment law issues, compliance and licensing are a few of the areas that a business attorney has a great deal of experience with. Even though you have not had any disputes that does not mean that one can unexpectedly arise. Having a relationship with a business attorney can not only help you avoid potential disputes but they can also quickly resolve them if they have a working knowledge of your business.
How Do I Sell My Buisness
Selling your business is very likely to be one of the biggest transactions you will ever be a part of so it should not be taken lightly. There are three things you need to do to sell your business: 1) Give yourself the time necessary to sell; 2) Prepare your business; and 3) Prepare yourself for the process. There are lots of M&A advisors and professionals available to fill in the details including how to increase the value of your business, how to valuate your business, how to find buyers and how to accomplish your long term goals.
How Do I Grow My Business?
Growing a business is not an easy task. Many business owners get so caught up with the day-to-day tasks that they lose sight of the long term vision for their business. Some examples of ways to grow your business may be 1) to develop consistent, repeatable processes; 2) creating strong leadership that pushes the business to achieve its goals; or 3) retaining and adding talent to your team. Some less common but higher reward growth strategies include franchising your business or completing a strategic acquisition to gain more of a market share or enter into a new market.
Can I use a website or internet services to incorporate my corporation?
Yes you can use a website or internet document preparation services to set up your business. These services often come with hidden fees that a local business attorney wouldn’t charge you. Those services are not able to legally practice law. That means your business will have the same documents as the next 100 new business owners that visit those websites. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to business contracts.
Why Does a Startup Need A Startup Lawyer?
Startups are not like a typical business. Startups have one major goal in mind and that is growth. And not just regular “I want to grow my business” growth but rather, aggressive, high risk growth. That means the startup is often pushing into new areas and needs legal counsel but also needs a startup lawyer that can understand that risk adversity might not be a priority. Obviously, even a startup needs to do things the right way (so you want the business lawyer) but you don’t want counsel telling you how to run your startup based on risk analysis. You want to know the risks but you may not care. That is where a startup lawyer fits in.
Lawyers are expensive. What is the point in paying all that money when you can just Google the answers you need?
The internet is an incredible tool. We have more information in our pocket than some of the most sophisticated law libraries did a few decades ago. The problem: How do you navigate all that information? This issue is compounded by the fact that this might be the only time your business needs to access this information. You very likely will be able to find the answers you need on the internet but how much time are you willing to sacrifice to get those answers? How much is that time worth to you and your business? Would it be better to hire a corporate law attorney and pay for his time, while you continue to produce for your business?
What is the difference between a LLC and a Corporation in Michigan?
The two most common business entities formed in Michigan are either a corporation or a limited liability company (commonly referred to as a LLC). There are a number of differences between the two entities from a corporate structure standpoint and how they operate from a corporate governance standpoint. Two of the biggest factors in deciding which type of business entity you should form is which based on which holds the most tax advantages for you and which one fits with your long-term plans for the business. Both of these vary based on what your business will be doing.
What is the difference between a S-Corp and a C-Corp?
When forming a corporation, there are two common elections to make for tax purposes: the subchapter S election or the subchapter C election. These are commonly referred to a S-Corp or C-Corp respectively. A corporation will automatically be a C-Corp unless you file the proper forms with the IRS to elect to be a S-Corp, S-Corp’s operate similar to LLC’s in that they are taxed as pass-through entities, where the corporation does not pay taxes but all the income is passed through to the shareholders. A C-Corp is more of the traditional form where the entity pays taxes on income and the shareholders only pay taxes on income they receive from the entity.
My business partner and I get along, so why do we need any business contracts?
The relationship between partners or owners of a business is similar to that of a couple in a marriage. Early on in the relationship and when times are good, it’s easy to get along. But as time goes on, goals and visions change or when times get tough, it can create a lot of issues between the owners of a business. Well drafted incorporation documents and other corporate documents will not only provide a framework on how to resolve any issues that may arise but they may also prevent some issues from becoming disputes.
How Do You Avoid Loopholes In Contracts?
No business contract is full proof. Ambiguous terms and incomplete terms are prone to show up in some form or fashion. It is nearly impossible to define every term that is used in your agreements or plan for every scenario that may arise. Even if you could, your agreements would be really cumbersome documents that may push away potential business opportunities. Contracts that are drafted by a contract lawyer and that are reviewed on a regular basis will close a lot of potential loopholes.
My Children Are Going To Run My Business Someday So Why Do I need An Exit Plan?
Family owned businesses are often pillars in our community but the statistics show that nearly 70% will struggle in the second generation and beyond. To ensure a successful transition of ownership, family business succession planning is necessary. One advantage that a succession plan has over the sale of the business to a third party is that you can set up systems and train the future family business management for years and years before the transition of ownership occurs. This transition can become really difficult if it is sudden (because of health issues or changes in circumstances) or not well executed. This is when the family company can flounder or it may require the first generation owners to return to work when they should be focused on other things.
My Business Could Never Be Sold So Why Do I need An Exit Plan?
You may be surprised at the businesses that can be and have been sold. While some may require more work to prepare, there is an exit strategy for nearly any business. Customer lists, market share, intellectual property, trained labor force and strategic relationships all may hold value to a buyer who would prefer to pay for them as opposed to building those things over years of effort.
How Big Does A Business Need To Be To Go Public?
There is no requisite size for a company to become a publically traded company. There are however certain factors and costs that must be weighed before decided to go public. Administrative fees, shareholder relations and management and governmental filings, regulations and compliance can add a lot of burden to a business. Your business has to be in a place where it can not only meet the financial burdens of going public but also afford and manage the infrastructure necessary after such a move.
Is It Possible To Do My Own Corporate Agreements?
Of course you have the ability to draft your own business contracts. In all the documents that your corporate law attorney will prepare for you, there likely will not be any terms that you do not understand. There is a high likelihood that there will be some contract provisions that you would not have thought about adding but there isn’t going to be anything you couldn’t draft yourself.
How Much Is My Business Worth?
Valuating a business is a complex topic and is often best left to a valuation professional. With that said, there are 3 common ways a business is valuated: 1) Negotiated Price; 2) Book Value; or 3) Fair Market Value. A negotiated price is a value that you and the other party determine the business to be worth. Book value is a value based on the assets, books and debt or liabilities of the business. Fair market value is based on a number of factors including risks, market factors and the financials of the business.
Do I Need A Business Broker To Sell My Business?
No you do not need a broker. There are lots of M&A deals done every year where there is no business broker involved. At the same time, having a business broker or investment banker list your business and represent you in the transaction might be to your benefit. Not only can they drum up more interest in your business, but the statistics show that businesses that are listed by a business broker or investment banker are much more likely to successfully close a transaction too.
What Is The Difference Between A Stock Sale And An Asset Sale?
A stock sale is when the buyer pays for the seller’s equity interest in the business. In other words, the buyer steps into the shoes of the seller. An asset sale on the other hand is when the buyer pays for the assets of the selling business including goodwill, intellectual property and contractual relationships. Both types of deals have their advantages and disadvantages for both the buyer and the seller. It is important to know what those advantages and disadvantages are for your specific situation when negotiating a deal.
Does My Business Need Insurance?
You formed your business to avoid personal liability for the debts of the business and actions of the employees. If anything comes up, as long as you are not personally liable, what is the risk of not having insurance? While forming a business entity does protect you from potential liability, liability insurance protects the business from potential claims. You have put in hours upon hours of your time to build your business (or you are about to embark on this). Why would you be so quick to let it go? Because you wanted to save some money? This is on top of the fact that there are some business relationships out there that require you to have a certain level of liability insurance in order to do business with them.
Does My Startup Need A Founders Agreement?
A founders agreement is document that can cover a number of aspects of the business but most importantly, it generally contains a vesting schedule. If everyone who founds a startup automatically is awarded their full share right away, what happens is one of those owners chooses to quite early in the process? A founders agreement will cover the repercussion of withdrawing from the startup prior to a certain time period and thus keep everything fair.
How Do You "Pierce The Corporate Veil"?
One of the most important reasons you form a corporation or LLC is to protect yourself from personal liability for actions of the business. Piercing the corporate veil is when someone is able to bring a lawsuit against you personally as well as the business. Piercing the corporate veil is a rarity and a court must find that certain factors are met including that the corporate entity was a mere tool that was used to commit a fraud or wrongful act and it resulted in an unjust loss. An attorneys corporation services should include taking steps to prevent any potential of this occurring.
Do I need to worry about securities law when taking on an investor?
There are serious and complex Federal and Michigan Laws when it comes to taking on an investor. Your friends and family giving you money toward a startup or other venture may even put you at risk. There are certain exemptions that do permit you to take on investors without the burden of major disclosures and regulatory filings but it’s important that you follow the proper procedures to ensure that you qualify or meet the requirements of these exemptions.
What Business Licenses Do I need?
Business licenses can be an overlooked area of starting or running a business. There are obvious licenses such as liquor licenses or professional licenses (doctors, lawyers, chiropractor, etc.) that we all recognize. There may be other licenses your business requires under Federal, Michigan or local law. For example, Grand Rapids ordinances require a number of specific types of businesses to register with the city in order to operate.
What Can The Business Law Group Do For You?
You are an expert at running the operations of your business but, like most business owners, you are probably not an expert at what we do. The idea of franchising your business, going through a strategic acquisition, organizing management of the business or being acquired can be overwhelming. The Business Law Group, working as your business' general counsel, can make these foreign concepts less intimidating and much more obtainable. Our goal is to see your Michigan business achieve whatever success you want. We have worked with some of the best businesses in Michigan and we want to work with you.
Common Michigan Business Law Questions You Have
How do you sell your Michigan business?
Selling a business can seem like a great way to retire or realize all the work you have put into a business. It can also be complicated with a number of intricacies. Its important that you are informed with every decision you make along the way from preparing for the sale to listing the business to choosing a buyer to closing the deal. Request our FREE BOOK that goes into the details about selling a Michigan business.
How to find Michigan business opportunities?
Business opportunities are everywhere but can be hard to find through all the noise. Many Michigan entrepreneurs follow the traditional startup rout and form a new business. Others seek out franchise opportunities or buy an existing business. Whether you want to start from scratch, follow someone else's system or find other business opportunities, a good network can introduce you to the professionals that make a living in whatever area interests you the most.
What is a buy-sell agreement?
If you have more than one owner of you Michigan business you likely need a buy-sell agreement. Certain events can cause havoc on your business. If your business partner dies what happens to his or her share of the business? A buy-sell agreement can provide the answers. Find out more on our Buy-Sell Agreement page.
How to buy a Michigan business?
Buying a business is a relatively straightforward transaction: you pay money and get a business in return. In reality thought, these are investments and there is a lot of risk a buyer takes on. Being able to run comprehensive due diligence on a potential target and limit the downside risks can be the difference between lost time and money and making millions of dollars. Find out more about buying a business HERE.
How Can Your Business Have Its Own In-House Counsel?
Your business is important to you and it should be important to your advisers. The Business Law Group is a not a typical law firm. We were specially designed to serve small and medium size businesses with the services that actually make a difference. Just like a big business with its general counsel or chief legal officer, your business can have the same advantage in the market. While you might not be able to hire a general counselor on a full time basis, you can work with someone on a part time basis. We want to get to know your business from the boardroom to the stock room. We want to understand what your big picture vision for your business is. We want to know what keeps you up at night. We want to create more hours in the day for you.
Want More Information That Your Michigan Small Business Can Use Right Now
The Grand Rapids law office of The Business Law Group serves the legal needs of business and individual clients throughout Western Michigan, including Muskegon, Holland, Allendale, Jenison, Walker, Hudsonville, West Olive, Coopersville, Georgetown, Ionia, Lowell, Ravenna, Grand Haven, Wyoming, Kentwood, Grandville, Spring Lake, Zeeland, Rockford, Hastings, Belding,and Standale; and Kent County, Muskegon County, Ottawa County and Allegan County, Michigan (MI).