Below is a non-exhaustive list of things to consider when starting a business.
1. Before starting a business, do you have a business plan which encompasses both short and long term goals and objectives?
2. Where to conduct business activity (what state and community) and what type of business structure should you utilize (e.g. corporation, LLC, etc.).
3. Will you need financing to start up the business and what are the projected start-up costs?
4. What type of insurance coverage will the company need?
5. What type of licenses or permits will the company need?
6. Federal, state or local registration requirements for business taxes?
7. If hiring employees, information on payroll taxes and labor and employment law compliance.
If you plan on starting a business it is highly recommended that you seek out a business attorney, CPA and/or accountant, banker and insurance broker who can assist you in the process and answer questions. Seth T. Seidell, Attorney is an experienced business attorney in Michigan.
For many years my law firm has represented both buyers and sellers of small to medium sized privately held businesses in Michigan. Although “hybrid” options are available, in general, there are normally two options in a structured sale of a business. Business sale transactions consist of either an asset or stock/membership sale.
Asset Sale: In an Asset Sale, specified assets (some or all) are transferred from the entity to the purchaser while the corporation and/or limited liability company entity that sold the assets remains in place and continues to be owned by its owners. Often times, although agreements can be modified accordingly, although assets are sold to a buyer, the entity who sold the assets still retains the liabilities. In most cases, depending on the facts, buyers generally prefer the asset purchase method since they will not be taking on past liabilities and the buyer can normally use the purchase price of the assets as the assets basis for tax purposes.
Stock Sale: In a Stock Sale, the buyer purchases the equity (stock or membership) interests from the owner(s) of the entity to be sold. There is no change in the status of the entity itself and the new equity owners take on, unless otherwise agreed to, all of the entity’s liabilities and contracts and the assets remain with the entity. Government authorizations, permits and licenses may not be transferable, and, therefore, in some industries because of the restrictions, a stock sale may be the preferred method amongst the parties. In most cases, depending on the facts, sellers generally prefer the stock purchase method as, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, the seller will no longer be liable for the entity’s liabilities.
This article is a mere synopsis on the types of transactions that are normally done in a privately held sale of a business in Michigan. Generally, facts will dictate the type of sale that should be contemplated. This is just one area of discussion when contemplating a sale of business transactions and many other facets are involved in such a transaction. It is important to seek legal and accounting professionals when contemplating a business sale or purchase. Seth T. Seidell, Attorney at Law, concentrates his legal practice in the area of business law.