Thousands of small businesses emerge in the U.S. every year, proving that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in our country. In fact, a recent survey by Insureon found that 82% of existing small businesses are planning for growth in 2017.

Whether you are starting a business or planning for growth this year, you will deal with a variety of legal forms as a business owner. If you feel daunted by the thought of all that paperwork, you are not alone. Many entrepreneurs have little experience with legal documents before they go into business. Click To Tweet

With that in mind, here are some of our top resources to help you navigate the world of legal documents and operate your business successfully.

Executing Legal Documents

The 10 Key Legal Documents for Your Business, from Entrepreneur:

Having the correct documents in place will help you to protect your business and remain compliant with the laws of your state. Consult this helpful list of essential legal documents for business owners.

Your Guide to Signing Legal Contracts:

From loan contracts to operating agreements, you will need to sign a variety of contracts in your capacity as a business owner. Does your document need to be notarized? Should you initial every page? How do you make corrections to the contract? Take a look at this post to ensure you cover all your bases when executing legal documents.

Common Questions About Notaries and Witnesses:

To make a contract legally binding, it is common practice to have it signed by a notary or witness. A Notary Public is a state-appointed official who can authenticate a document, while a witness is a neutral third party who watches the parties execute the document.

Dispute Resolution 101: Negotiate, Mediate, Arbitrate & Litigate:

A contract dispute usually happens when one party fails to follow the terms or perform a duty outlined in a contract. For instance, a freelancer could violate the confidentiality clause in their contract, or you and your business partner could disagree over profit distribution. Learn about the ways you can resolve a contract dispute in this post.


Building Your Business

Top 6 Tips for Writing a Business Plan:

A Business Plan can help guide the direction of your business and set you up for success. It is also a vital tool for securing outside funding, as investors want to know why funding your venture is a good opportunity for them. Get some tips and tricks to write your Business Plan with this infographic.

What Legal Structure is Right for Your Business?

Most enterprises start out as a sole proprietorship or partnership, but as you grow, you may have to change your business structure to better suit your needs. We take you through the pros and cons of sole proprietorships, partnerships, joint ventures, LLCs, and corporations.

How to Buy a Business, from Entrepreneur:
When we think of entrepreneurship, we generally think of starting a business from nothing. However, purchasing an existing business is often a less risky venture. This article will walk you through the steps of buying a business, including how to determine a fair price, how to structure a Purchase Agreement, and mistakes to avoid.

10 Questions Partnership Agreements Need to Answer, from The Balance:

Are you planning on going into business with a partner? A business partner is a valuable asset, particularly if you bring different strengths to the table, but it’s a good idea to put any informal agreements over profit and loss distribution, voting, and withdrawal in writing with a Partnership Agreement.

Running Your Business

10 Key Factors to Consider When Outsourcing:

As your business grows, you may struggle to juggle all of your day-to-day tasks alone. If you’re unsure whether to hire a permanent employee or a freelancer, take a look at this list of pros and cons by Workhoppers.

Avoiding HR Mistakes That Can Short-Circuit Growth:

Business is going well, so it’s time expand your team—but it’s important to do it right. Good human resources management helps to foster trust and respect between all employees and to build a positive workplace. In this guest post, Insperity outlines some common mistakes and how to avoid them.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Non-Disclosure Agreements

As a business owner, you should take steps to protect your product, customer, and accounting information, in addition to your intellectual property. Read about what to include in an NDA in this post.

The Non-Compete Clause: Is it Enforceable?

You can include a non-compete clause in documents such as Employment Contracts to restrict an employee or other party from starting a competing business or disclosing private information to competitors. Here’s what you should know before adding this clause to your contracts.

Ending a Contract

What Makes a Contract Invalid?

A contract can be void if the terms of the agreement are impossible to uphold, too restrictive to one party, illegal, or against public policy. Discover the difference between a “void” and “voidable” contract and learn how to ensure your contract is valid.

5 Ways to Terminate a Contract, from Chron:

A contract binds two or more parties until the terms of the agreement are fulfilled. You may be able to terminate your contract, but only under the specific instances outlined in this post.

Calling it Quits: Ending a Contract with a Freelancer:

There are many reasons you may need to end your contract with a freelancer. Maybe you can no longer afford them, the project has ended, or they’re simply not the right fit. Regardless of the reason, you must do what’s best for your business. This post details how to end your business relationship with an independent contractor.

How to Withdraw from a General Partnership:

For a variety of reasons, business partnerships don’t always work out. If you or your partner need to exit the business, here’s how to do it correctly.

Learning About Legal Documents

From operating agreements to HR forms, you will need to create and sign a number of legal forms to operate your business successfully. Luckily, the longer you are in business, the more comfortable you will get using contracts and other legal forms.

Do you have any questions about creating legal documents? Let us know!

Posted by Jessica Kalmar

Jessica is a reader, writer, and outdoors enthusiast.