The legal building blocks of a successful Oklahoma business

When building a house, at least a well-built house, you need a solid foundation, good materials, and someone who knows what they are doing to assemble all the pieces.

A similar principle applies when building an Oklahoma business: You need to have solid component parts and you need to know how the parts fit together.

This post is intended to discuss the items that an Oklahoma business needs to address to build a foundation for success.  Of course, as part of building your new business, you need to assemble a support team, a concept I talk about in this blog post.

The beginning: Organizational Structure
This means fundamental formation:  if you are a corporation filing your certificate of incorporation with the Oklahoma Secretary of State and if you are a limited liability company filing your articles of organization with the Oklahoma Secretary of State.

Your business’s constitution
 Similar to how a country might have a constitution or a city might have a charter, Oklahoma corporations and limited liability companies have a central governing document: for limited liability companies it is an operating agreement and for a corporation it is bylaws.

Ensuring your business standing is “good”
Once you form your company and enact your constitution, you need to ensure you are taking the very simple steps necessary to remain in good with the State of Oklahoma:

If you are a corporation, you need to file a franchise tax return each year (see more about that —> here);

If you are a limited liability company you need to file an annual report (see more about that —> here)

The people running the business
For a corporation, it goes, from the top down, shareholders, members of the board of directors, and officers run the corporation on a day-to-day basis.

For a limited liability company, members (the owners) choose the manager(s) who run the day-to-day operations of the company (unless the LLC is “member-managed).

Note: If you are starting a business with at least one other person, it would be a good idea to consider my blog post The questions you need to ask when starting an Oklahoma business with another person

Contracts
At the core of a successful business are the relationships it has with its employees, customers, and products and services.  For those relationships to be clear and operate efficiently, you need written contracts.  Among other things, a written contract defines the terms of your relationship, the money, and how the relationship ends.

Intellectual Property
Your business’s intellectual property is an asset that is often overlooked or disregarded.  What is intellectual property?  In practical terms, intellectual property is things like your business’s name, its logo, its marketing slogan as well as private and proprietary information that provides your business with an edge over its competitors.  How do you protect your intellectual property? You use the items listed below:

Intellectual property has value just like more tangible assets such as inventory, furniture and fixture and buildings.

Finance
As a means of addressing finances and simply making a wise decision, get a CPA involved with your business.  Not for simply for doing your taxes, but also for advising you on tax strategy and ensuring you have a sound accounting structure in place.  And if you need financing, consider my article I started an Oklahoma business, I need more money . . . what do I do?

Taxes
This category is simple yet eminently important.  Obviously, you need to calculate your taxes, file your returns and pay any tax due (unless you are an Oklahoma limited liability company). The CPA I referenced above should be helpful in all things tax, both Oklahoma tax and the IRS.

 

Surely there will be other legal-related issues, both that you can anticipate and those legal issues that you cannot anticipate.  This post is a start.  I am available to help with all of your Oklahoma business’s legal issues.  Feel free to email me: sjr@shawnjroberts.com

 

 

Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Shawn J. Roberts, P.C. in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with my wife Amy and my two children, Sam (19) and David (11). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."