This month we check out the Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business, a NOLO paperback released in April 2015. Inc. Magazine calls it “one of the top six business books.” This edition is the fourteenth in the series.
Written by Fred S. Steingold, an attorney in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it is written to help those without legal training understand laws and legal problems that affect small businesses. Steingold, who practices real estate and business law, has written several Nolo books. He also writes The Legal Advisor column that is a popular feature in a number of trade magazines.
Do-It-Yourself Legal Advice
Starting a business opportunity and running your company are confusing and complicated. This is especially true if you’ve never owned one before. But at a time when you need to watch your budget, hiring a lawyer each time you have a legal question is prohibitively expensive.
That’s why many new owners look for do-it-yourself legal advice for routine issues. But there is always the lingering concern that the instructions aren’t accurate, up-to-date or complete.
That’s where this book shines. It offers a comprehensive listing of what you need to know before starting, including a handy checklist when you decide to open a business.
One of the most essential topics covered is raising startup cash and the associated legal questions. The book guides you through choosing the right structure for your business and what types of licenses and permits you need. It tells you how to complete the contracts that are used to form a corporation.
For anyone looking to discover a business opportunity, the choices can be baffling. Steingold provides step-by-step help that clears away the confusion. The book offers tips for negotiating a lease that is affordable. It tells you about creating binding contracts and how to protect your new business with the best insurance coverage. Expert advice like this can save a new company from making major mistakes that are costly and time-consuming to fix.
It covers employee relations including hiring, firing and managing them. There is a section on protecting your personal assets and coping with the all-too-common financial problems. It tackles the messy subject of business taxes and offers guidance for not paying more than you need to. This updated version also includes information about current business tax laws and ways you can deduct the use of your home as a business expense.
Reviews of previous editions are uniformly positive. Business Life Magazine calls it a “nuts and bolts guidebook” that is useful for answering questions that come up for every business owner, new or established. The Wall Street Journal calls it an “excellent resource.”
Nolo: Law for All
Nolo Press has been publishing do-it-yourself law guides since 1971. It was started by two lawyers who served the low-income community in San Francisco Bay area. To inform people who couldn’t afford lawyer fees of their rights and options, they produced the How To Do Your Own Divorce in California and The California Tenants’ Handbook.
Do-it-yourself legal information was almost nonexistent at the time. The books filled a need and the publishing house became a quick success. Their motto, “Law for All,” is the company mission. The name Nolo comes from Latin, meaning “I don’t choose to” because the two lawyers never intended to get into the book publishing business. They simply couldn’t interest an established book houses in do-it-yourself legal products.
Now over 40 years later the publishing house is still seeking to empower citizens about their legal rights. It is currently owned by Internet Brands.