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What Is The Best Legal Structure For My Business?

New entrepreneurs are often unaware of the many legalities surrounding a new business. Most specifically, the legal structure of your business.

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New entrepreneurs are often unaware of the many legalities surrounding a new business. Most specifically, the legal structure of your business. This refers to the type of entity your business is and can play a huge role in deciding what taxes you pay as well as all the legal paperwork you need to fill in.

Each legal structure has its pros and cons, but which one is best for your business? Take a look at each structure below, read all the information, and decide which one is best suited for your business model:

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the most common and simple legal structure for your business. This is where you are the sole owner of your business and are responsible for everything – including your assets and liabilities. This means it is your personal responsibility for all of your business finances, you are in charge of the money you make and must also be in charge of any money you owe. Recent research suggests that over half of businesses follow this legal structure.

The main pro of this structure is that you are in charge of the business, so all the money you make goes to you and you alone. However, the downside is that you’re liable for everything too. So, if someone has an issue with your business, they can sue you personally for it. Also, you get taxed as if your profits are personal income. What does this mean? It means you only pay individual tax and not company tax as well.

Partnership

The second legal structure is a partnership, where your business is owned by more than one person. Within this structure, there are two different types of a partnership; general and limited. With a general partnership, this is where everything is divided equally between the parties involved. You each take on the same responsibilities and liabilities. A limited one is where one person is in charge, and the others make a significant contribution but not as much as the main person.

If your business is structured as a general partnership, then it can fall under the sole proprietorship status too. This means all partners are in control of everything, which is a positive as it means you have more brains to bounce around ideas and more resources too. It also means you might have enough money to avoid applying for startup loans, which also means you avoid debt. If you’re a limited partnership, then you’ll fall under Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) status. This means that those with limited control aren’t as liable as the main controller. This can have its pros as it makes it harder to be personally liable during lawsuits if you have limited control. However, the downside is you don’t get an equal share of the profits.

In general, partnerships are good because of the collaboration involved, but bad because of the fact you have to share your profits between other people, meaning your personal take-home is less than if you owned it alone. Plus, another positive is that it follows the same tax structure as a sole proprietorship; you only pay personal income tax.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

LLC’s are fast becoming a popular legal structure for businesses. Why? Because they allow you to enjoy the main benefits of a partnership (the collaboration, paying individual tax) without some of the negatives.

Mainly, an LLC consists of partners or shareholders – people that have a stake in your business. They’ve used their money to help fund things, and are partially in control of how things are run along with yourself. The key point is, with an LLC, all partners and shareholders aren’t personally liable for any legal issues your business gets into. This means if you fall into debt or get sued, you aren’t liable unless there’s concrete evidence that you’re responsible for the issue at hand.

An LLC is good as it offers you liability protection while also granting the tax benefits you get with partnerships and sole proprietorships. The only negatives are similar to partnerships, any profits you make need to be shared, and you don’t have full control of your business.

Corporation

Once your business establishes itself and starts to grow, you might want to consider switching its legal structure to that of a corporation. A corporation is a business that’s completely separate from you, the owner. While you have your legal rights, so does your business. You can own stock through your business, buy property through it, even sue people through it. It’s a legal entity created with the sole purpose of conducting business. As such, it also has to pay a separate tax. There are many types of corporations, with C corporations being the most common. These are businesses where the owners pay personal income tax, and the business itself pays a separate business tax.

The major benefit of a corporation is that you are completely protected from personal liability. If anything bad happens to the company, such as a lawsuit or heavy debt, you’re not liable, much like with an LLC. The major downside is that you pay two loads of tax; corporation tax and individual tax.

S Corporation

Finally, you have an S corporation which is similar in structure to a C corporation but with one clear difference. Your business is still a separate legal entity, but the tax situation is different. Instead of paying two types of tax, you only have to pay individual tax on any profits you make.

The catch is that you have to fulfill certain eligibility requirements to be classed as an S corporation. For example, you can’t have over a hundred shareholder, and you must be a domestic company. You also can’t have shareholders who are partners, it must only be individuals.

Each of these legal structures comes with positive and negative features. The main things to consider are how much control you have over your business, what tax laws you must abide by, and how liable you will be if things go wrong.

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Finance

Financing A Business With A Home Equity Loan

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Finding funds for a business is no easy task. Qualifying for a business loan is not guaranteed; therefore many companies leverage their owners’ assets like the family home to raise the funds they require in their enterprise.

There are many ways to use personally guaranteed funds too and one option is what’s called a home equity loan or home equity line of credit, These loans can also be ideal for debt consolidation of say high-interest borrowing like credit cards, personal and short term loans but in this blog post we’re focusing on how these loans work for businesses.

There are many more obstacles or hoops to jump through when seeking an actual business loan and often it’s the financial statements of the business that fail to pass the lending criteria due to the startup phase requiring more investment and not showing a profit.

Entrepreneurs starting out, are therefore renown for sourcing investment from wherever they can get it. The credit card has been the go-to source for funds, but the interest rates are very high, so it’s not a long term borrowing solution for a business.

Before long, the owner is seeking other sources to keep the business afloat or to grow it. They may take out personal loans but before long their requirements exceed what they borrow without additional security so this is where many use their home.

As a business owner, it may make perfect sense to use a home equity line of credit to draw down funds for the business and then repay them when in lump sums and repeat as and when required. So what is a HELOC?

HELOC

This type of loan allows you to have an open line of credit on the equity you have in your property.

HELOC’s has longer repayment periods that can be 10 – 20 years much like a usual mortgage and as the property owner you can borrow up to 85% of the home’s value minus what you may owe it. For example, if your home is valued at $750,000 and you have a mortgage of $250,000 on it already. Your line of credit may be as much as $425,000.

HELOC rates are higher than your standard mortgage rate, so it’s very much ‘caveat emptor’ or buyer beware, get professional expert advice from your accountant, financial advisor and maybe also your lawyer. Remember all loan agreements are legal documents, and they have terms and conditions that the borrower must comply.

There are many other ways to fund your business, including angel investors, offering shareholdings, so while using the equity in your home is an option it may not be the best way forward as the risk is your business cannot pay back what it’s borrowed, and you are personally liable to repay it or lose it.

Remember it is your equity and if your business borrows too much of it and can not repay it, and the lender calls in the loan it could be that you are forced to sell your home. It’s a dreary thought, but it’s better to know the pros and cons when borrowing money for any venture.

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Finance

Young Money: How To Fund A Startup

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Have you got a great idea for a business and now you want to make it happen? You’re not alone. While every business with the idea, commercialising it is a whole new site of skills. Getting a startup business up and running is a challenge for anyone who has not done it before.

Entrepreneurs don’t usually have the ideas, i.e. they’re not the creative talent. They’re the people, the ideas creators turn to, when they want to see how far they can take the idea and turn it into a viable business.

The start up phase of any business involves a lot of working hard, but not exclusively, it also requires investment. Seed money can come from various sources. Without the money, to get started and provide ongoing investment as the business shows promise, your venture may take too long to mature and a competitor takes your place in the eye of the consumer. So where can the investment come from?

What’s Available?

There are a lot of different funding options available for small businesses, and they all offer their benefits. You can find some examples of the most popular methods below, along with some additional information to help you choose which route might be best for you.

Personal Finance/Loans

You will need to invest in yourself, i.e. put some of your own money in. If you have not got savings, consider other options, like your home loan. This is a hugely popular option for start ups that fail to get funding from other sources. Caveat Emptor: Always seek professional advice from your accountant, lawyer etc before taking on debt.

So if you have money saved up or can get a loan from a bank, funding your business will be a fast process. As aforementioned, there will be a personal risk here, but you won’t have to prove to anyone that your business will work, making it great for those who can’t get further than a concept without some capital.

Business Loans

Some banks and governments will offer loans to new businesses. In most cases, you will have to have existing cash flow to make this work, limiting the successful startups will have with it.

Angel Investors

If you can convince an investor with the money to back your idea, you won’t have to look at other types of funding for business, as you will have both money and support. This isn’t always easy to find, and you will have to prove that your idea is worth their time, making it hard for those with nothing but a concept.

Personal Risk vs. Sacrificing Freedom

The choice you make when you’re choosing how your company will be funded largely rests on what is more important to you.

If you are willing to take on personal risk, using your own money can be a great way to go, as it will give you all the freedom you need to build the business you’ve been dreaming about.

For those who would rather keep their money safe, making a couple of compromises along the way can be a small price to pay for an investor or venture capital. This is a very personal decision to make.

Why Isn’t The Bank An Option?

A lot of startups find disappointment when they approach a bank for a loan to get themselves off the ground.

Unfortunately, history has shown that being too willing to offer new businesses money can result in heavy losses, and banks have learned for their mistakes. Before you can convince a company like this to support your venture, you will need to prove that it can make enough to pay it back, and most startups just don’t have the income.

Choosing the funding option which you use for your startup has always been a challenge. It’s becoming more common to find businesses which cost nearly nothing to get started, opening the doors to another idea for you to consider.

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Finance

Best Cryptocurrency to Buy – Which Is Best?

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A lot of people might say that cryptocurrency’s big moment has ended. After the sharp rise and precipitous fall of bitcoin, many strait laced investors soured on the idea of crypto investment. Crypto’s 15 minutes of fame were over, the thinking was, and it was time to move your money back to safer, and more standard commodities.

This, however, is just not true. Cryptocurrency continues to be a sound investment, if you know the best cryptocurrency to invest in. We’ve compiled a list of four great picks below.

Ethereum

Ethereum is sometimes thought of as bitcoin’s chief rival, which perhaps makes it the second-most famous cryptocurrency. Ethereum is also commonly thought of as an expansion of blockchain technology beyond bitcoin. It is traded as a cryptocurrency, but it also has value as a decentralized computing platform.

Ethereum includes a programming language that runs on blockchain. So, it is used by developers to create apps, including health and security infrastructure, music licensing services, and even anonymous browsers. Ownership of an Ethereum token is recorded on the shared blockchain ledger, as it would be on any cryptocurrency.

However, Ethereum expands this practice to record the ownership of copyrights, music, documents, financial instruments: anything imaginable. By purchasing Ethereum, you are investing in this network, rather than the security as such. For this reason, Ethereum is an excellent investment and one that the savvy investor should be scoping out.

Bitcoin

For fame and notoriety among the cryptocurrencies, none can match bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency in many people’s minds. Now more than a decade old (the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto published the bitcoin white paper in 2008), bitcoin has had its share of ups and downs.

For the savvy investor, though, bitcoin can still be a sound investment. After the massive — and massively famous — December 2017 peak, the price of bitcoin has held steady between $3,000 and $6,000 per coin. As bitcoin matures as a security, it is looking more and more like a place to park your money, rather than the white-hot investment it was two years ago. This is not a downside, because investors need (and will take) both options.

Dogecoin

It started as a joke — a play on the classic “doge” meme. But since its inception in 2013, Dogecoin has grown to a market cap of over $312 million dollars in April 2019, with values soaring as high as $2 billion in January of 2018. Dogecoin’s value fluctuations will be familiar to anybody who has traded in penny stocks. It maintains a steady mean value, punctuated by regular spikes in its price.

The trick, as it were, is to buy it just after a spike in its price, and to sell it during the next spike. While Dogecoins are not a strong long-term investment, they can be a decent swing investment if you have the time and energy to monitor them. The origins may be silly, but the money is very real.

Litecoin

Litecoin is a cryptocurrency specifically developed for zero-cost payments. Litecoin was developed to have a faster transaction confirmation than Bitcoin. This emphasis on fast, secure transactions has made Litecoin one of the most popular coins with businesses interested in security.

For this reason, the value of a single Litecoin has risen from $30 to $78 in the past six months, well below the mean value. This is the perfect opportunity for an investor to swoop in. As security becomes increasingly important to businesses across the board, Litecoin begins to look like a better opportunity than ever.

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