Starting a new business in California can be an exciting time. Long held plans are about to ripen, and dreams are on the verge of becoming real. Nevertheless, many novice entrepreneurs fail to give careful thought to one of the most important decisions they will ever make: the legal form of their new entity.
Almost every California business possesses information that it deems vital to its success. Customer lists and financial information are common examples. Some companies employ manufacturing methods or chemical formulae that are not commonly known but which cannot be protected by a patent. A common issue for all such businesses is protection of this information, i.e., keeping the information out of the hands of competitors or potential start-up companies. California law provides two basic methods of protecting proprietary information: the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and confidentiality agreements. Whether either method should be used should be decided during the original business planning process.
Most Californians who are contemplating starting a business are aware that state law requires the filing of articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State and the adoption of written by-laws by the board of directors. These two actions are the minimum requirements to start a corporation or limited liability company (LLC), but they are not the only documents concerning business formation that owners should consider.
Most California business owners are aware of the necessity of obtaining common licenses and permits, such as a commercial drivers' license or building and occupancy permits. Many professions, such as law, medicine, and engineering, also require a license from the state of California as a prerequisite for selling professional services to the public. How can a businessman who is forming a new venture find out whether a license must be obtained before the doors can be opened?
For most small businesses in southern California, the preferred form of business organization is the limited liability company. Limited liability companies are easy to organize and can be operated free from much of the formal procedures that are required of business corporations. Unfortunately, when forming a business, many small businessmen fail to plan for unexpected bumps in the future. No two people can be expected to agree on every aspect of managing a business, and if a business has three or more principals, the probability of conflict becomes higher.
People in California know that the last couple of years have seen a major spike in construction employment as well as an increase in the number of construction projects and infrastructure improvements. In both the public sector and private sector, now is a great time for enterprising individuals and companies in the construction industry to make their mark.
The California construction industry is one that has historically, and remains today, primarily dominated by men. Not only are more construction workers men than women, most business owners in this field are men as well. But this doesn't mean that women are any less equipped to get started and absolutely thrive in the construction industry. In some cases, there may be tangible benefits and incentives available to women-owned and operated firms.
People in California know that building a lasting and successful business requires hard work, skills and character. Many cynics may not necessarily equate success in business as requiring strong moral character, but the most established and trustworthy construction firms in the state are built on strong morals from top to bottom. In this business, trustworthiness is everything, and having a reputation for anything other than honesty and integrity can cost a business job opportunities and hurt its bottom line.
While the job market can certainly be a fluctuating entity, upturns can be a breath of fresh and promising air when they do occur. California recently experienced such an upturn, with a very positive report coming in that shows considerable growth in several different job sectors over the last month.
Starting a new business in California can be exciting and daunting at the same time. There is no guarantee it will be a success, but with the proper legal help and advice, a new business owner can start off on the right foot.