June 07, 2022
You might’ve noticed that we at The Contract Shop® are pretty vocal when it comes to protecting yourself from unnecessary legal drama. That’s like, our thing. And thanks to the internet, protecting your business website with things like terms and conditions and privacy policies is suuuuuper important.
But wait. What if your business is brand new, you just got your website built, and you’re not yet registered? What if you’re just freelancing but have a website to give people a place to find you?
First, let’s recap what “registering a business” means, because it can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different folks.
If you’ve already taken those first few steps to making your business legit, you’ve probably already written your business plan and applied for an EIN. Now, you may be considering how toregister your business name.
More specifically, you may be deciding whether to form an LLC or file a DBA, also known as “doing business as.” A DBA is also called a fictitious business name, not because it’s imaginary, but because your business operates under a different legal name.
If you go with a DBA, you might have to register the DBA with your state agency responsible for business filings. Or, you might need to register your DBA with your city or county.Or you might not need to register your DBA at all! It all depends on your state’s requirements.
Not sure you’re ready to form an LLC? Generally, you might be ready if you have regular clients or sales, want to start hiring a team, or you’re making at least $40k in revenue. If you tick most of those boxes, you can easily file your LLC and have a “registered” business” in minutes.
“How to register a business” for some people may also mean “how to get a business license or permit.” This is another thing that’s totally dependent on your location. Your county, city, or state will dictate what licenses or permits you’ll need to operate your biz.
If you operate a restaurant, for example, you’ll need specific licenses and permits to serve food or alcoholic beverages. If you sell things subject to sales tax, you might need a seller’s permit. Licenses and permits are yet another step to take when legally starting your business.
Last but not least, registering your business might meanregistering your trademarks. Trademarking your business helps it stand out from the competition and ensures your customers don’t confuse it for another brand.
Besides your business name, you might also trademark your logo, labels, product names, special process, signature frameworks, and other business things you want to protect.
That previous section about what “registering your business” means? Whatever the phrase means to you, all three of those tasksdon’t need to be completed before you launch your biz.
We’ve actually seen a lot of entrepreneurs hesitate or get tripped up because they think those things have to be done first. But they don’t! Like we’ve said in this little blog, you don’t need to have everything ready before you launch, including registering your business.
You can still launch and make sure that your idea is profitable before you jump in with both feet and register your business — whether that means forming an LLC, trademarking your name, or shelling out for business licenses.
Now for the big question: If your biz isn’t registered yet, are your website policies and agreements still legitimate?
The short answer is, yes. (You can exhale now.)
The long answer is, the two things don’t really depend on each other. Let us explain.
You may be able to put off registering your business until you know for sure that you want to proceed with your business plan, but a website is a totally different beast.Whether your business is registered or not OR if you run a persona blog, you should have:
This stuff can be confusing, so we’ll repeat it once more. Reduce your website liability by having those policies in placewhen your website goes live, not when you decide to register your business. Your website or blog needs them regardless of your biz registration.
If you put off having these on your website and decide to wait until you register your business, you could get caught (and fined) for privacy law infringement. As a new biz owner, you want to avoid those kinds of legal headaches, right?
Registering your biz can mean registering its name, taking care of relevant licenses or permits, or trademarking your stuff. They’re all important decisions you need to make for your biz, but you don’t need to check them off your to-do list before you launch your business or your website.