The business world is a competitive, complex jungle. No one knows that better than the thousands of small business owners in Miami. Those who run companies of various sizes appreciate how difficult it is to control costs, grow revenues, and generally try to stay afloat.
Through it all, there are complex rules and regulations to abide and the constant risk of dispute between other businesses, customers, or employees. But owners and operators do not have to go it alone on these matters. Attorneys can help Miami small business owners in a variety of ways. New businesses and existing businesses alike can benefit from the legal knowledge as well as the confidential advice that a small business lawyer can provide.
Meeting your Legal Obligations
For one thing, small business attorneys help owners navigate the complex rules and regulations imposed by local, state, and federal law. Consider the required business filings–the numerous forms that are necessary to create and maintain businesses in Florida. Lawyers can help businesses figure out what documents should be filed and what options the business might have in making future filings, such as how to incorporate a business.
Perhaps the most important counsel an attorney provides is guidance on how to form the business itself. Lawyers can explain the differences between corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, sole proprietorships, and even for-profit versus nonprofit entities. Each type of business has its pros and cons, so what may work for one business may not work for another.
It requires significant leg work to create any business under state law. For instance, to create a limited liability company, you must submit an Articles of Organization, name a registered agent, and pay the Secretary of State the appropriate fees. An Articles of Organization document explains the purpose of the business and how the organization is run (is it “member-managed” or “manager-managed, how are critical decisions made, etc.). A registered agent is a person that is responsible for receiving important paperwork such as subpoenas and other legal documents.
Protection from Scams and Fraud
Not only do you need an attorney to help structure your business and meet legal obligation, but an attorney can protect you and your entity from other. As the Florida Secretary of State, which administers business filings for the Florida state government, notes on its website: Scams against unsuspecting business owners are common. Consider two recent scams profiled by state officials in:
(1) State officials are warning local business owners about fraudulent invoices from entities purporting to be the state government involving “certificates of status.” Many states and localities do require business licenses, but the Florida Secretary of State does not require a “certificate of status.” Once a business is properly formed (meaning incorporated or otherwise registered with the Secretary of State), there are no additional filing requirements.
(2) Some scammers trick businesses with “annual minutes” scams. While the Florida Secretary of State requires annual reports from businesses, these are different from various “annual minutes” or “Annual Corporate Records Forms” mailings that sent out to some businesses. The official annual reports do not solicit a fee from businesses, while unofficial fraudsters request fees in advance, often $125, to complete the business filings. The $125 amount is not surprisingly the current fee to establish a limited liability company in Florida, so it is important to pay attention to the mailings you receive that look official to determine if they are valid or not.
Both of these consumer scams are examples of why small business owners may want to rely on a small business attorney to provide guidance and advice to avoid falling for confusing and costly traps.
Obtain Important Legal Advice for Your Business
Small business owners rarely find enough hours in the day to check off all of the items on their “To Do” list. When it comes to legal tasks, it is critical for owners to have the support of a small business attorney both to save time and ensure that matters are handled appropriately. Contact a Miami business attorney today to help your business stay in compliance and to serve your professional needs.