Business Startup

Guns in the Workplace: Managing Your Business’ Risk

The debate over firearm regulation is as old as firearms themselves. Recently, the debate has been brought to the forefront because of the actions of mentally ill people in Colorado, Connecticut, Washington D.C., and Arizona, among other places. But how does firearm regulation affect you day to day as a business owner or employee in Washington? That is, what should you know about guns in the workplace?

What can your employees do lawfully with their guns?

Business owners and employees are subject to the general carry laws in Washington. These gun laws allow a person to open-carry (visible in a holster) in most places or conceal a pistol while in that person’s fixed place of business without a concealed pistol license (“CPL”)....

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Contracts

How Can A Simple Noncompete Agreement Benefit Your Business?

Two of the most valuable assets of your business are the goodwill and the intellectual property that you’ve developed. A noncompete agreement can be instrumental in protecting these aspects of your business from a wide range of problems with departing employees, including the spread of trade secrets and other confidential information to your competitors. Today’s post will discuss the legal requirements you should keep in mind in order for your noncompete to be enforceable, and some of the potential benefits of using a noncompete agreement in your business.

Setting the Stage At some point during the life of your business, you will likely need to recruit, train, and rely on employees to help grow (or simply maintain) your business. You’ll have to...

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Business Startup

Federal Shutdown Leaves Small Businesses Without SBA Loans

Unfortunately, we’re beginning to experience the effect of the federal government shutdown in a wide range of industries. As the shutdown drags on, small businesses are without the ability to acquire Small Business Administration (SBA) loans that were available to these businesses just weeks ago. As reported in the Puget Sound Business Journal, many Seattle-area business deals are currently on hold as their loan paperwork sits on empty desks at the SBA.

These SBA-backed loans are a significant source of financing for small businesses looking for money to grow their companies. Not only does this shutdown affect the small business borrowers and the jobs their creating, but it is also affects companies that specialize in arranging and advising on these SBA...

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Mergers & Acquisitions

Purchase and Sale of a Business: Structuring the Transaction

We continue our series on the purchase and sale of a business by exploring the structure of the transaction. These transactions generally fall under one of two categories, an asset sale or a stock sale. Today’s post highlights some of the key features and differences between the two structures.

The Asset Sale An asset sale is the purchase of the individual assets and liabilities of the business. In an asset sale, the seller will retain possession of the legal entity, e.g. ABC Corporation, and the buyer purchases the individual assets of the company, including equipment, inventory, fixtures, licenses, goodwill, trade names, etc. Typically the seller will retain the company cash, and the seller often remains responsible for any long-term debt obligations.

Buyers tend...

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Business Startup

Attention Business Owners: Here’s Why You Need an Operating Agreement

The most popular entity to form a business today is the LLC. Many business owners form an LLC by filing their Certificate of Formation with the Secretary of State. As far as forming a business, this is the proper first step, but the problem occurs when the second step isn’t taken. That second step is drafting an operating agreement to govern the internal affairs of the LLC. Today’s post details some of the benefits of drafting an operating agreement for your LLC.

What is an Operating Agreement? An operating agreement is a legal contract between the members of an LLC and the LLC itself. It typically spells out terms that detail the management of the LLC, distribution of profits and losses, and...

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Business Startup

Ready to Sell Your Business? Here are some tips and considerations

A recent article on Inc. discussed some tips to keep you motivated when selling your company. We’ve expanded on these ideas and listed the important considerations that you should be aware of when you’re going through the sell process.

The sale takes longer than you expected First things first, selling a business is a complicated process and generally takes longer to complete than you expected. This is especially true if you aren’t familiar with the process before hand. Knowing upfront that the process is long and arduous is important.

Keep your motivations clear Since the process does take a long time, you are likely to get burned out at some point during the sale. It’s much easier to stay motivated if you have a...

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Business Startup

Registering and Licensing 101 for Your Washington Business

There are a number of government entities that Washington businesses may need to make filings with prior to commencing business:

Registering a business with the state. The application itself is not difficult to fill out and can be found here. However, it is ideal for many strategic decisions to be made at the formation of your business, and unless you have experience making these decisions, we suggest that you seek legal advice prior to filing paperwork with the state. Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service. Partnerships, Corporations and multiple member LLC’s need their own EIN’s. If you are operating as a single member LLC or a sole proprietorship, you can use your Social Security Number instead of an EIN....

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Contracts

HIPAA Documentation Requirements and 8 Considerations for Business Owners

In this last installment of our series on HIPAA compliance and best practices for your business, we’ve detailed the documentation requirements and 8 important considerations every business owner should think about.

Does HIPAA require any specific documents? As discussed in previous posts, HIPAA provides for a number of “best practices” which include various documents that you should use to help avoid HIPAA violations. Any documents containing protected health information or policies that govern your use and disclosure of protected health information should be stored, either in written or electronic format, for a period of 6 years.

The following is a list of documents you should consider using in your business in order to avoid any inadvertent disclosure or use of protected health information....

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Business Startup

HIPAA Administrative Requirements and Best Practices

To follow up last week’s blog post about HIPAA’s Privacy Rule, we’ve boiled down some of the most important administrative requirements for maintaining compliance with HIPAA. Below is a non-exhaustive list of best practices for your business.

Carefully develop and implement policies and procedures regarding any protected health information (PHI) that are designed to comply with the Privacy Rule. If you’re not sure about your current policies or are in the process of developing new policies for your business, you should contact a qualified attorney to review your policies. Implement appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect the privacy of PHI. With the increasing reliance on electronic data storage and processing, it’s becoming more and more important to have a comprehensive...

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Business Startup

Learning the Basics of HIPAA- Are You a Covered Entity?

If you’re running a business and you deal with any health information, you are likely aware of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. Today’s post provides a summary of HIPAA, who it affects, what it protects, and what is permitted under the Privacy Rule.

Goals of HIPAA The major goal of HIPAA’s Privacy Rule is to assure that individuals’ health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care while protecting the public’s health and well being.

Basic Principle A major purpose of the Privacy Rule is to define and limit the circumstances in which an individual’s protected heath information (PHI) may be used or disclosed by covered entities. A covered entity...

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