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As the owner of a small company, you need to familiarize yourself with various types of business documents. These documents can be unique to your company, such as your business plan, or boilerplate like an online privacy policy. However, you must be aware of all these documents, even if you interact with them only once or twice per year.

Additionally, small business owners must ensure that all their necessary paperwork is filed correctly. Federal, state, and local authorities all may have differing requirements for what needs to be registered. Also, they all likely have their own system for filing business documents, whether online or on paper.

Business documents are generally governed by state law. This means that what is needed or complete in one location is unnecessary or insufficient across the border. Counties and cities also may have their own filing regimes and requirements for business documents

The following is intended to familiarize you with some documents and legal contracts you should be aware of as a business owner. As you progress from start-up to full-fledged corporation, the business documents you encounter on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis will evolve. As a best practice, continue to educate yourself on what business documents you use and will need to use to grow your company.

What are Business Documents?

A business document is simply a contract, plan, record, or outline that affects your company. Some are required to be registered with the government, while others are strictly for internal use.

What Documents Do I Need to Start a Business?

While there are limitless amounts of different papers and ledgers that you will handle as a business owner, this article focuses on nine of the most common types of business documents. You may run across these nine when you choose to start a business.

Business Plan

While not a legal document, all companies should maintain a business plan that outlines your target market, your competition, how your products or services will be delivered to the market, and your capital needs. You will need to present your business plan to any potential investors or backers, as well as banks. Based on your needs, it could range from one to hundreds of pages in length.

Create a Business Plan

Operating Agreement

If you choose to structure your business as a limited liability corporation (LLC), you will need to maintain an operating agreement. The operating agreement is approved by all LLC members and delineates financial and functional decision-making for the business.

A well-crafted operating agreement will also cover contingencies for how a member can leave the LLC and what to do if membership is split on any strategic choices.

Create an LLC

Corporation Bylaws

Unlike an operating agreement, if you choose to set up your company as a corporation, you will need bylaws. While most states require corporations to maintain up-to-date bylaws, a majority do not require that you register them in a government database.

Bylaws govern the strategic operation of the corporation, who will fill what roles, and how votes will be taken by the board of directors.

Partnership Agreement

Instead of operating as an LLC or corporation, you may choose to join with your other founders in a partnership. The partnership agreement defines who the partners are, their roles and whether they are full or modified partners. Additionally, a partnership agreement can contain terms for how to end the partnership and dispute resolution methods.

Create a Partnership Agreement

Employment Agreement

If your business is going to hire employees, you may consider drafting an employment agreement. While an employment agreement can modify the standard at-will employment relationship, it also can add benefits such as non-disclosure, dispute resolution, rules governing company property.

Create an Employment Contract

Financial Documents

Businesses deal with money and within budgetary restrictions. Whether you run a non-profit, an LLC, a partnership, or a corporation, you must familiarize yourself with your finances.

Cash flow statements, income statements, your balance sheet, payroll, gross revenue reports, and loan statements are just some of the financial documents you will encounter as a business owner. And, of course, a variety of tax filings and receipts are required from every company.

Non-Disclosure Agreement

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a legal contract between two parties that prevents private information from being made public. In the business context, an NDA can be used to prevent employees, partners, or investors from sharing trade secrets or other non-public data outside the company.

You can also use NDAs when dealing with third-party affiliates, such as marketing or analytics firms. Be aware that the legality of NDAs varies from state to state, so ensure your practices are in line with the laws of your location.

Create a NDA

Privacy Policy

If your business has a website, your business needs a privacy policy. You are legally required to provide anyone who shares online information (such as an email address) with your company a privacy policy. The policy documents what information will be collected, how it will be used, and the measures taken to keep the data secure.

Intellectual Property Agreement

If you plan to license or assign any of your intellectual property, make sure all agreements are well-tailored to your purposes. An IP licensing agreement can reap significant returns for your firm but ensuring your valuable assets are appropriately used is equally vital. The IP agreement contract must accurately reflect any deals or limits on the usage of your property.

How to File Your Business Documents

Just knowing about essential business documents is not enough. As a small business owner, safely and securely storing all your contract and start-up docs is vital. In addition to keeping hard copies of some documents in a safe, document management software can keep all your necessary paperwork only a few clicks away. Cloud storage has reduced the need for every company to invest in servers or other hardware, though your individual needs may require internal data storage.

The sheer number of business documents can be overwhelming. But documents are only good if they are enforceable. LawDistrict has an easy-to-use contract maker tool that will produce business documents tailored to your individual needs. Just follow our step-by-step guides, and you will be well on your way to a full suite of start-up docs.

All Business Documents

As the owner of a small company, you need to familiarize yourself with various types of business documents. These documents can be unique to your company, such as your business plan, or boilerplate like an online privacy policy. However, you must be aware of all these documents, even if you interact with them only once or twice per year.

Additionally, small business owners must ensure that all their necessary paperwork is filed correctly. Federal, state, and local authorities all may have differing requirements for what needs to be registered. Also, they all likely have their own system for filing business documents, whether online or on paper.

Business documents are generally governed by state law. This means that what is needed or complete in one location is unnecessary or insufficient across the border. Counties and cities also may have their own filing regimes and requirements for business documents

The following is intended to familiarize you with some documents and legal contracts you should be aware of as a business owner. As you progress from start-up to full-fledged corporation, the business documents you encounter on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis will evolve. As a best practice, continue to educate yourself on what business documents you use and will need to use to grow your company.

What are Business Documents?

A business document is simply a contract, plan, record, or outline that affects your company. Some are required to be registered with the government, while others are strictly for internal use.

What Documents Do I Need to Start a Business?

While there are limitless amounts of different papers and ledgers that you will handle as a business owner, this article focuses on nine of the most common types of business documents. You may run across these nine when you choose to start a business.

Business Plan

While not a legal document, all companies should maintain a business plan that outlines your target market, your competition, how your products or services will be delivered to the market, and your capital needs. You will need to present your business plan to any potential investors or backers, as well as banks. Based on your needs, it could range from one to hundreds of pages in length.

Create a Business Plan

Operating Agreement

If you choose to structure your business as a limited liability corporation (LLC), you will need to maintain an operating agreement. The operating agreement is approved by all LLC members and delineates financial and functional decision-making for the business.

A well-crafted operating agreement will also cover contingencies for how a member can leave the LLC and what to do if membership is split on any strategic choices.

Create an LLC

Corporation Bylaws

Unlike an operating agreement, if you choose to set up your company as a corporation, you will need bylaws. While most states require corporations to maintain up-to-date bylaws, a majority do not require that you register them in a government database.

Bylaws govern the strategic operation of the corporation, who will fill what roles, and how votes will be taken by the board of directors.

Partnership Agreement

Instead of operating as an LLC or corporation, you may choose to join with your other founders in a partnership. The partnership agreement defines who the partners are, their roles and whether they are full or modified partners. Additionally, a partnership agreement can contain terms for how to end the partnership and dispute resolution methods.

Create a Partnership Agreement

Employment Agreement

If your business is going to hire employees, you may consider drafting an employment agreement. While an employment agreement can modify the standard at-will employment relationship, it also can add benefits such as non-disclosure, dispute resolution, rules governing company property.

Create an Employment Contract

Financial Documents

Businesses deal with money and within budgetary restrictions. Whether you run a non-profit, an LLC, a partnership, or a corporation, you must familiarize yourself with your finances.

Cash flow statements, income statements, your balance sheet, payroll, gross revenue reports, and loan statements are just some of the financial documents you will encounter as a business owner. And, of course, a variety of tax filings and receipts are required from every company.

Non-Disclosure Agreement

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is a legal contract between two parties that prevents private information from being made public. In the business context, an NDA can be used to prevent employees, partners, or investors from sharing trade secrets or other non-public data outside the company.

You can also use NDAs when dealing with third-party affiliates, such as marketing or analytics firms. Be aware that the legality of NDAs varies from state to state, so ensure your practices are in line with the laws of your location.

Create a NDA

Privacy Policy

If your business has a website, your business needs a privacy policy. You are legally required to provide anyone who shares online information (such as an email address) with your company a privacy policy. The policy documents what information will be collected, how it will be used, and the measures taken to keep the data secure.

Intellectual Property Agreement

If you plan to license or assign any of your intellectual property, make sure all agreements are well-tailored to your purposes. An IP licensing agreement can reap significant returns for your firm but ensuring your valuable assets are appropriately used is equally vital. The IP agreement contract must accurately reflect any deals or limits on the usage of your property.

How to File Your Business Documents

Just knowing about essential business documents is not enough. As a small business owner, safely and securely storing all your contract and start-up docs is vital. In addition to keeping hard copies of some documents in a safe, document management software can keep all your necessary paperwork only a few clicks away. Cloud storage has reduced the need for every company to invest in servers or other hardware, though your individual needs may require internal data storage.

The sheer number of business documents can be overwhelming. But documents are only good if they are enforceable. LawDistrict has an easy-to-use contract maker tool that will produce business documents tailored to your individual needs. Just follow our step-by-step guides, and you will be well on your way to a full suite of start-up docs.

All Business Documents