When starting a new business, creating a product, or building software, there are three essential documents you need to move forward responsibly.
1. Business Incorporation Paperwork
Before you bring on clients, or start investing money in your idea, you should incorporate as a business, for tax and liability purposes. In order to incorporate your business you will need to prepare a few things first. If you need help, a local business attorney should be able to help you with each of these.
- The name of your corporation which will most likely include one of the following after your business name: Inc., Corporation, Incorporated or Limited.
- The name and address of your business’ registered agent, which is sometimes called the “agent for service of process” which will most likely be an attorney or a responsible, long term team member that all state correspondence is directed towards.
- The number of shares your business currently has and the names and addresses of shareholders, officers and the board of directors.
- The date of the incorporation and information about the incorporator which in most states must be listed as the individual who is filing the Articles of Incorporation and any other official documents required by the state. You will then be listed as the “Incorporator” on the Articles of Incorporation.
2. Non-disclosure Agreement
Protecting your ideas when you are just getting started is something you should take very seriously. A non-disclosure agreement is a legal contract between several parties that establishes the confidentiality of shared knowledge or materials and restricts any sort of third party access.
In simpler terms, the non-disclosure agreement allows business associates to make sure neither party is allowed to speak about or divulge covered aspects of the agreement to anyone else outside of the company or outside of necessity. Non-disclosure agreements can cover any information, knowledge, or materials that are not publicly or typically known from an average consumer. Most typically non-disclosure agreements only cover information that is directly divulged from the involved parties within the company and do not prevent the sharing of information that was discovered from some outside means- even if that information would have otherwise been covered by the agreement.
A standard non-disclosure agreement includes the sensitive information to be disclosed, terms of the agreement’ including the time period of the agreement’s legitimacy; exceptions, consequences and waivers that affect the agreement; and any other information vital to the agreement’s relevancy and finally includes all of the signatures of all parties involved. Having a standard non-disclosure agreement within your company that employees are encouraged to use, will protect from any legality issues and keep your confidential information confidential and without compromise.
3. Terms of Service / Service Agreement
When embarking on a new business venture online, it is very important to construct and create a clean, precise and informative Terms of Service. The Internet has become one of the main markets for goods, services and media and it is essential that you protect your company if ever wrapped up in any sort of legal procedures. If you are going to include a section for your website member to post their own content, plan on selling or exchanging something for money in return, giving anything away for free or any other sort of business transaction, it is imperative for you to have a Terms of Service page.
The smartest approach to have is to list the Terms of Service link upon every page of your website in order to keep it in the forefront of importance and to allow there to be no discrepancies if an issue should arise. If you have a hard time tackling your Terms of Service, Burton Law has put together a small list of guidelines to help get you started.
You work hard enough on your business. Putting proper legal documents protects your investment, employees and client relationships. If you need help, or have questions about any of the documents we’ve mentioned above, we’re here to help.