Small Business Series #3: Employee Agreement Contracts

            As your business infrastructure grows, you will face the same question asked by so many other business owners: Is my business financially and logistically ready to hire employees? While you address this question, identify the key reasons you need employees, and lay a positive foundation for adding employees to your business organization.

            Your business should be prepared to hire employees by building employment contracts into your list of legal necessities. An employee contract serves to protect both your business, and the employee. The agreement also serves as the foundational building brick that clearly establishes the employee rights and responsibilities, as well as your obligations as the business owner. A well written employee contract clarifies the expectations of both parties to the contract.  

A Good Employee Contract Should Include The Basics

  • Wages – salary agreement, pay dates, and commission terms
  • Bonuses – whether they are discretionary or contingent
  • Other Benefits – vacation days, holidays, health insurance, other benefits unique to your business.
  • Termination basis – these terms should be addressed based on the state in which your business is located.
  • Best Efforts Clause – the employee commits to providing their best efforts at work.

An Excellent Employee Contract Will Include The Essentials

Ideally, your business employment contract will cover the following legal topics as well to ensure employer and employee understand the priority to protect work product, and confidentiality expectations.

  • Intellectual Property Protection
  • Non-Compete Agreement
  • Confidentiality Protection of business knowledge
  • Choice of Governing Law
  • Dispute Resolution Agreement

Creating the right employee agreement for your business can be complex depending on the type of business you operate. Consulting a small business law firm can provide you with the information you need to provide a legal framework for your company as it grows. Call Behrends Legal today for a consultation!

Phone: 970-578-9455

Email: office@behrendslegal.com

Small Business Series #1: The Foundation

You’ve decided to start a business – congratulations! As you bring your ideas to life, take steps to lay a strong foundation for your company. Intentionally tending to key tasks will set your business on a firm path as you prepare your business for growth.

YOUR BUSINESS NAME

As you consider various names for your company, invest research into whether other companies share the same or similar names. A strong, unique business name sets your business apart, and creates a commercial impression in the minds of the customers you are trying to reach. Even if you are not prepared to trademark your name at this time, research your local and community business names for similarities, and conduct a preliminary search on your Secretary of State website to find out whether the name you wish to use is available. Once you have committed to your business name, begin using it on your advertising, signage, printed materials, products, and online marketing. Begin building a strong reputation behind your business name, and hire a business law firm to file your trademark name registration as soon as possible.  

MAKE IT OFFICIAL

After selecting a business name, make your business formation official by electing your business tax structure and entity type. Some of the most significant steps to take at this stage include requesting an EIN, registration with the Secretary of State, and selecting the business entity type under which you will operate.

The entity structure you select depends on a number of factors including how many managers/owners there will be, decision-making procedures, and taxation preferences. Understanding the implications of the entity structure you select is vital as you establish your business, and can have significant consequences if the requirements of the structure you chose are not followed. The most common entity structures include Limited Liability Company, Sole Proprietor, Partnership, and Professional Corporation. Speaking with a small business lawyer can help you determine the best structure choice for your company.

SET THE WHEELS OF YOUR BUSINESS IN MOTION

Once you officially have your business structure in place, and have claimed your business name, create a plan that moves you towards opening day. Anticipate the initial expenses you will face and determine whether you can fund the initial costs, or will need financing. One of the most significant costs to new business owners is the investment in location. Your business space may include an office, warehouse, or storage. Do you need to rent space, obtain company transportation, hire staff, order inventory, or buy equipment? Identifying the tools you need for the day-to-day function of your business is essential to maintaining a realistic grasp of how quickly you can open, and whether you are more likely to need funding upfront, or need to consider financing before your business begins to produce profitable income.   

At Behrends Legal, we look forward to learning more about your business goals, and helping you create a plan to achieve them! Reach out today for your legal support needs. 970-578-9455.

This article is for the purpose of information only, and does not represent or create a client-attorney relationship. Please call Behrends Legal if you need legal advice for your business.

To The Small Business Owners

This year has been a challenge unlike any other year for American businesses with unexpected closures lasting for uncertain lengths of time, fluctuating regulations, and the unknowns awaiting for business this year. Small businesses are the backbone of America, however, where the spirit of American entrepreneurship is borne and resides – that venture risk that requires the entrepreneur to be part organizer, part rebel, and 200% hard worker. A 2019 study showed that U.S. Small Businesses make up a sturdy 55% of the American Workforce, with a total of over 30 Billion small businesses registered in the U.S.[1] That’s no small number. Of those small businesses, 3.7 million were considered microbusinesses, or those that employ 10 people or less.

With small businesses being the wheels of the economy and innovation in our country, the work and contribution small businesses make should never be taken for granted. It is your business that keeps your community employed, your business that meets the need for the goods and services in demand by consumers, and your business that keeps an economy moving forward even under the hardship of a pandemic. Press on, Entrepreneurs, and keep the following in mind:

PLAN TO ADAPT

As you look to the coming months, possessing the foresight to know what your customers need will align your business to maintain and grow. Set your business up to be fully operational, as much as possible, despite varying regulations that affect in-person transactions.

  • Paperless tools: make it easy for clients to receive, sign, and save your transactional documents securely from their own devices from anywhere.
  • Offer new products: your customer’s needs have changed, to a degree, just as your business needs have changed. Ask/study what your customers need and find creative ways to provide solutions for them.
  • Don’t wait for customers to come to you: with so many store and shoppe closures, find ways to ramp up your delivery to the customers to keep your products in their hands affordably and conveniently.

CREATE BRAND VISIBILITY

More than ever, your online advertising matters. Ecommerce has surged with the temporary closure of so many businesses, and as your business adapts and grows in these new times, your name should be in the forefront of customer’s minds.

  • Trademark your business & product name: ensure that you can protect the reputation for quality you have built, and claim your advertising rights by filing for trademark registration of your products, services, and brand.
  • Promote your brand name: if you aren’t already investing in online advertising, now is the time to begin. If you already advertise online, find new and creative ways to reach your customers. Be available, and be communicative.

PLAN FOR THE FUTURE WISELY AND WITH OPTIMISM

Continue to plan for the future, even with uncertainties ahead. You may have to deviate significantly from your business plan, or completely write a new business plan, however, keep your goals in mind and continue to work towards them.

  • Know your financials: though it can be a formidable task, know your business numbers well and plan/adjust accordingly.
  • Be a voice of Strength: Find ways to maintain your optimism, surround yourself with positive people, and encourage your employees, staff, and customers.

At Behrends Legal, we look forward to helping you file your trademark, form your business entities, draft the business documents you need, and more, to help you as you prepare to guide and grow your business through the coming months. Stay safe and stay Small Business Strong.


[1] 55 Staggering Small Business Statistics & Facts for 2020https://websitebuilder.org/small-business-statistics/#:~:text=%2055%20Staggering%20Small%20Business%20Statistics%20%26%20Facts,Only%203%25%20use%20their%20home%20equity%2C…%20More%20