Business · North Carolina

The Legal Needs of Small Businesses in North Carolina

Rich Gittings

May 18, 2024

Small businesses are a vital part of every community’s economic and social health. Despite their importance, small businesses often struggle to succeed.

Approximately 20% fail within one year, and half fail within the first five years. Additionally, it is estimated that nearly 600,000 businesses close each year.

Many of the roadblocks that small businesses face could be avoided or effectively addressed with help from a business attorney. Some of the most common reasons that small businesses fail are a lack of adequate management, poor business models and infrastructure, and insufficient startup capital. Obtaining legal counsel throughout the various stages of operation can make a significant difference in the success and longevity of a business.

An attorney can help your small business with alternative dispute resolution, business entity formation, regulatory compliance, contracts, partnership agreements, and much more.

When you have the guidance you need to help you navigate a competitive market and challenging startup process, your chances of success improve exponentially.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is a way for disagreeing parties to resolve their conflict without court involvement. Mediation and arbitration are popular options for business disputes because the processes take less time and money than litigation. Plus, settling an issue using ADR is a collaborative effort that often allows parties to maintain a healthier business relationship than they would have had after litigating in court.

A small business attorney in North Carolina can represent you in ADR proceedings, enforce arbitration rulings, or appoint mediators and arbitrators for your dispute.

Business Entity Formation

There are seemingly endless aspects of business startups. From choosing the appropriate business structure and completing formation documents to writing bylaws and operating agreements, the work of an entrepreneur never ends. For small business owners who either aren’t familiar with or don’t have time to handle all these tasks, the risk of failure is a real concern.

A business attorney is a valuable resource even before your business is fully up and running. A lawyer can clarify the pros and cons of different types of business structures, such as a limited liability company, sole proprietorship, limited partnership, and C-corporation, and help get a business registered properly. Many entrepreneurs also leverage an attorney’s knowledge of federal, state, and local regulations regarding permits, licenses, registrations, and taxes.

Regulatory Compliance

Depending on the type of business you are operating, there may be extensive state and federal requirements and laws that dictate how you start and maintain your company. Some businesses must comply with securities laws, for example, or FDA regulations. Additionally, there are often annual reports and corporate records that must be provided periodically. Regardless of the industry, a business attorney will help you identify and comply with the applicable regulatory requirements.

Contracts

Contracts are an inescapable and integral part of running a business. This is an area that many entrepreneurs think they can handle on their own. With a little help from online templates, you can have an effective contract, right? Probably not.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to business contracts. The needs of each company are unique, so a boilerplate template is unlikely to be effective.

Consulting a lawyer allows you to explain your business, needs, and goals so that they can create a personalized contract for your company. An attorney can draft, review, and negotiate contracts and business agreements so you don’t have to worry whether something is missing, incorrect, or unnecessary.

Schedule a Consultation with Bull City Legal Services

Partnership Agreements

If you do not own or operate your business alone, you will need some sort of partnership agreement to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each partner. This includes ownership, management structure, dispute resolution processes, profit and loss sharing, decision-making responsibilities, and dissolution procedures.

Other Ways a Business Attorney Can Help You

Intellectual property (IP) protection is another common area of concern for business owners. Intellectual property is an intangible asset that is a creation of the mind. You may want to consider IP protection for your logo, slogan, recipes, processes, or designs.

What happens when clients or customers do not pay you for the services or goods you provided? Collecting past due bills is an arduous process and another task that a business attorney is well-suited to complete. When your business is owed money, your lawyer can draft and send demand letters for non-payment.

Businesses with physical offices, warehouses, or storefronts must also navigate real estate and leasing processes, which can be overwhelming without guidance from someone with experience in this area.

An experienced business attorney also provides services like:

  • Representation during contract negotiations

  • Audit assistance

  • Contract drafting and advice

  • Litigation

Consulting with an attorney is something any business owner should do in order to mitigate risks and create a solid foundation for success. Bull City Legal Services helps clients in North Carolina achieve success in their business ventures by handling the red tape and legal aspects so they can focus on running their business. Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

*DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this website is informational - no attorney-client relationship is created by using this website or reading this blog. No legal advice is intended. If you have questions about a current or potential legal problem, you should always contact an attorney directly for specific advice. Results described on this website are meant to describe the work and experience of our Firm. The uncertainty & risk inherent in litigation, as well as the specific individual details of each case mean that results or a particular outcome are never guaranteed. This website is provided “as is,” without any warranty of any kind, express or implied.

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