Building a small business from the ground up is no easy task—especially if you’re an inexperienced owner. Between heaps of paperwork and lengthy legal documents, you’ll have your hands full with small business to-do’s before you get operations up and running.

Though navigating the entrepreneurial world may be confusing and convoluted at times, there’s no excuse for neglecting legal obligations. So, keep reading for seven essential legal documents to be aware of when breaking into the small business scene.

IP protection documents

IP protection documents

For those jumping into business ownership for the first time, understanding protective documentation to safeguard your intellectual and physical property is critical. Fortunately, you can lock down your branding and market share by investing in trademark filing, patent protection, and other IP protection measures.

Though a legal trademark isn’t required to start a company, going through the filing process can keep others from stealing your company logos, names, and ideas.

Need proper plan to start a small business

Though a business plan isn’t technically a legal document, acquiring the necessary documentation and loan material is fundamental for successful startups.

Suppose you wish to attain funding, loans, or any external investments. In that case, you’ll want a business plan detailing your company’s roadmap, a set of attainable goals, and anything else prospective lenders will need to know before they finance you.

Articles of organization for LLC

In order to establish a limited liability company (LLC), a business owner will have to file a legal document known as the articles of organization. You’ll need applicable addresses, DBA designations, company names, and a business structure outline to file the necessary documentation.

Ultimately, articles of organization for LLC protect owners from personally being financially responsible for the company’s debts and liabilities.

Employee agreement

If your company has multiple employees, you’ll need to set up a contract outlining the business’s terms and conditions. Both employers and employees who sign the agreement are subject to a set of legal responsibilities and personal expectations protecting both parties.

How tax exemption for the nonprofit can be applied for?

Federal tax ID

If your company operates as a corporation, LLC, or a partnership, you must file a federal tax ID (or employer identification number) through the IRS. That way, you can file your business taxes with ease at the end of the tax year, avoiding fees and fraudulent charges.

Non-disclosure agreement

If your company has numerous employees, associates, or partnerships, employing a non-disclosure agreement is imperative to protect private information.  Without necessary contracts in place, your valuable and confidential company information may risk insider leaking.

With a non-disclosure agreement, employees and partners are legally committed to confidentiality about specific company details, plans, and projections.

Terms of service and privacy policy

The terms of service are a protective measure against legal disputes and general misuse of a company’s services. Usually, they’re a set of rules users must adhere to use a business’s site and services.

small business success

Likewise, a privacy policy document discloses how a company gathers and uses customer data from their business’s website. Ultimately, these agreements establish trust between company and customer, averting potential lawsuits regarding privacy.


If you want to protect your business and ensure legal well-being, applying for and filing the proper paperwork is a critical step. There’s no hiding from the federal government regarding legal responsibility, so don’t skimp the fine print between the lines.

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