Non-lawyer entrepreneurs seem to panic when they need to file a legal document or deal with anything legal. A lot of the filings and paperwork that early stage startups need to deal with are not all that complicated. The truth is, you don’t need to be lawyer to file most legal paperwork, especially at the early stage. Granted, it makes your life a lot easier to pay a lawyer. If you are looking to keep overhead low, here’s a list of items on your legal to-do list that you can do yourself.
- Register an LLC: This is the exact form you need to fill out in order to form an LLC in Florida: http://form.sunbiz.org/pdf/cr2e047.pdf. Follow the instructions carefully and you are good to go!
- Filing an Annual Report: Every year between January 1st and May 1st, LLCs need to file an annual report with the State in order to verify and/or update any information regarding the LLC, such as members, principal place of business, address, etc. Filing the annual report can be done online: https://services.sunbiz.org/Filings/AnnualReport/FilingStart. LLCs that fail to do this will be slapped with a penalty.
- Registering a Fictitious Name: A fictitious name is the non-legal name used to conduct business in the LLC’s state of formation. For example, a startup might carry themselves out to the public as one name, but may have formed the LLC (as indicated in the paperwork) using another name. If you plan on doing business with a name that is not your legal name, you must register the new name by following the instructions: https://efile.sunbiz.org/ficregintro.html.
Give yourself some time to go through the instructions and ask questions if need be. There’s plenty of free content online, such as videos, blogs, and articles, that explain the steps in greater detail. You will be glad you did.