CAFE provides entrepreneurs and small business owners who have a demonstrated need with free legal services through our network of volunteers.
Make an informed decision about the best legal structure for your business based on complexity, control, flexibility, tax treatment, and cost. Common options include Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and S-Corporation. We also assist with Cooperatives, Benefit Corporations, and Nonprofits.
Register your business with the state to create a formal legal entity, get help drafting bylaws and/or an operating agreement and other organizational documents, file the correct forms, and take all the required formation steps.
Document in writing all important business agreements and arrangements, including with investors, independent contractors, suppliers, customers, and website users.
Avoid potential pitfalls by understanding your rights and obligations under a proposed or existing lease, including allowed uses, restrictions, common terms, hidden costs, and other lease terms. Discuss potential lease negotiation techniques.
Understand and implement all applicable corporate formalities, including holding required annual meetings, keeping corporate minutes, and separating business and personal finances.
Learn how to protect ideas, designs, brand identity, works of creative expression, software, and trade secrets, through trademark and copyright registrations and other methods.
Assess your small business’s operating risk and potential exposure to liability. Consider and get assistance implementing risk mitigation strategies, including planning, insurance, and limiting liability through contracting.
CAFE provides entrepreneurs and small business owners who have a demonstrated need with free business services through our network of volunteers.
Separate business and personal finances, select and implement an appropriate bookkeeping system, and understand banking products, finance options, and business tax requirements.
PROJECTIONS & PLANNING
Create financial projections and goals for your business, and determine whether cash flow will be sufficient for survival and growth or if additional funds will be needed (and, if so, how much).
Consider the options for obtaining additional funding for your business, and get assistance with creating and pursuing a funding plan.
Understand tax obligations and pay all required taxes, including income, FICA or self-employment, and sales taxes (if required).
Consider the line between independent contractors and employees. Understand employer responsibilities and maintain sufficient employment documentation. Learn more about payroll taxes, discrimination laws, wage & hour rules, mandatory leave, workers compensation, disability, possible benefit plans, and personnel files.
MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Develop a plan for improving business exposure through business development, marketing, advertising, and social media, including goals and ways to measure success.