SMALL BUSINESSsmall business legal documents

Professionally drafted legal documents can protect your small business from liability and ensure that you have the greatest shot at entrepreneurial success in Arkansas.

If you plan to launch a successful business in Arkansas, you should begin by surrounding yourself with professionals who can lend their talents and lay a promising foundation for your venture. An experienced attorney who can create small business legal documents is one of these experts you will want in your corner. The following five documents can build the credibility necessary for promising business relationships and also eliminate the worries that keep many entrepreneurs awake at night.

1. Company Bylaws or Operating Agreement

If you have formed your business as a corporation in Arkansas, you will need a document that establishes your bylaws, or internal rules for governing your corporation. Similarly, if you are launching a limited liability company (LLC), those internal rules should be clearly defined in an operating agreement. Regardless of which form your business takes, an attorney who is familiar with the state’s corporate regulations can draft a document that may prevent costly legal headaches in the future. Depending on how they are set up, corporate bylaws and operating agreements help establish your business’s classification as a distinct entity so that you are less likely to be held personally liable for losses.

2. Non-disclosure Agreement

In the course of your daily business, you will likely collaborate with contractors, employees, or business partners. It will sometimes be necessary to reveal sensitive information about your company or its products. By working with an Arkansas attorney to draft a non-disclosure agreement, you can protect your competitive edge. Non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, are legally binding contracts in which participants promise not to disclose confidential business information or proprietary product details. Failing to secure a professionally written NDA could lead to painful breaches of trust, stolen ideas, and lost clients.

3. Employment Agreement

An important part of growing a small business in Arkansas is hiring new personnel. For many entrepreneurs, this process is stressful because it comes with a great deal of trust and responsibility on behalf of both the employer and the new employee. An employment agreement can eliminate a great deal of this anxiety because it establishes the conduct and values that are expected of your workers. By working with an attorney to create this document, you can focus on finding the best fit for your organization and rest assured that the legal side of hiring has been handled. If an employee violates an aspect of the employment agreement, you can take legal action for damages or avoid liability that could otherwise fall on your business. Arkansas is an employment at will jurisdiction. Ostensibly, what this means is that, unless there is a contract stating otherwise, an employer can fire an employee for any reason — or no reason.

4. Vendor Agreements

A vendor agreement is a small business legal document that defines the terms of sale for goods and services. Regardless of which side of the business relationship you find yourself on, it is crucial to involve an attorney before signing. These contracts can be structured to place an unequal amount of liability on one of the parties involved, and agreeing to an unfavorable vendor agreement could turn what seems like a remarkable opportunity into one that slowly suffocates your business. An attorney can review or create a vendor agreement that leads to what is hopefully a long and lucrative relationship between your company and another party.

5. Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement

Not all of the valuable assets that belong to your business are physical. The unique advantage that separates you from your competition could be an intangible process that you need to protect and possibly sell in the future. An intellectual property (IP) assignment agreement is a legally binding document that clarifies who owns the rights to your business’s intellectual property. This is particularly valuable if you have employees who may stake a claim to your business’s IP. Because it may not be easy to recognize what IP exists within your organization and how it may be at risk, seeking assistance from an Arkansas attorney is in your best interest when creating an assignment agreement.

If you are launching a company in Arkansas and have questions about small business legal contracts, contact McHughes Law Firm at (501) 376-9131 to schedule your free legal consultation.