Is there such a thing as being too old to start a business? Phil Harvey doesn’t think so. Mr. Harvey just announced his latest start up in Ojai, CA. He is selling T-shirts imprinted with his art photos. The 91 year young Mr. Harvey is an institution in Ojai where he photographs the natural beauty of the small town northwest of Los Angeles. However, no matter how successful he is or you are, being an entrepreneur at any age means starting up a formal business under California law.
There are a number of options for starting a small business in California. They include:
- Sole proprietorship. You are solely responsible for everything that happens. You can be held liable for any expenses the business incurs, including if the business is sued.
- Corporation. A corporation is a separate entity that a person or a group of people own. This means that you do not have to worry about liabilities becoming your personal concern.
- Limited liability corporation. Commonly referred to as an LLC, this is a great business arrangement for a small company. LLCs act like corporations regarding liability, but are taxed differently than corporations.
- Limited partnership. A limited partnership is similar to a sole proprietorship in the sense that the managing partner is personally responsible for the company’s liability. However, some partners can opt to have a more limited liability as a limited or silent partner. Silent partners may invest money and earn a share of the profits, but they do not have management control or other benefits of the general or non-limited partners.
- General partnership. A general partnership is similar to a limited partnership, with the exception that general partners have equal say in how the company is run and equal liability for the company’s debts.
- Limited liability partnership. This kind of business, also known as an LLP, is designed specifically for firms of accountants, lawyers, architects, engineers or land surveyors. Companies providing services to an LLP can also organize themselves as an LLP.
All of these business options require filling out a number of complicated forms and several require obtaining licenses as well. This means that it’s best to hire a qualified attorney to help you register your new California business rather than trying to navigate the bureaucracy on your own.