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We Now Accept Bitcoin!

This month we accepted our first retainer paid for entirely with Bitcoin. As a law firm that is passionate about providing exceptional legal services to small businesses and startups, we are thrilled to expand our accepted payment methods to include Bitcoin. We hope that doing so further demonstrates our commitment to technology and innovation, and… Read More

This month we accepted our first retainer paid for entirely with Bitcoin. As a law firm that is passionate about providing exceptional legal services to small businesses and startups, we are thrilled to expand our accepted payment methods to include Bitcoin. We hope that doing so further demonstrates our commitment to technology and innovation, and most importantly, to meeting the changing needs of our clients.

We represent a wide range of businesses around the Bay Area including tech startups, food trucks, breweries, hair salons, film production companies, artists, consultants, and international clients.  We take time to understand each of our clients’ legal needs and tailor our services to meet those needs in an efficient and cost effective manner.

One of our core principles is to provide the greatest value possible to each of our clients.  In practice that means we only accept clients and projects for which we feel we are the very best fit.  We also embrace change and use technology to reduce overhead costs to keep our billable rates reasonable.

We are excited to join the Bitcoin community and would especially like to thank the kind folks at Coinbase who patiently answered all of our questions and were able to get us up and running in a flash.

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Essential Legal Resources for California Small Businesses & Startups

Here is our list of the essential legal resources every small business and startup in California should have. This is great information to start and grow your business. These legal resources can help with establishing, growing, and closing out a business as necessary. California Requirements For Forming Your Business California Secretary of State’s Guide to… Read More

Here is our list of the essential legal resources every small business and startup in California should have. This is great information to start and grow your business. These legal resources can help with establishing, growing, and closing out a business as necessary.

California Requirements For Forming Your Business

California Permits for Your Business

  • CalGOLD. Helps you determine what business permits, licenses, and registration requirements are required for your business.
  • California Seller’s Permit. You can read more here, but you need a California seller’s permit if you “[i]ntend to sell or lease tangible personal property that would ordinarily be subject to sales tax if sold at retail.” If you do need a California seller’s permit, you can obtain a permit here.
  • California Resale Certificate. Information on why a business might need a California resale certificate can be found here. A form resale certificate can be found here.

SF Requirements For Registering Your Business

  • San Francisco Business Registration Certificate. If you are doing business in San Francisco for more than 7 days a year, you are required to complete an application to obtain a San Francisco Business Registration Certificate within 15 days.
  • San Francisco Fictitious Business Name Statement. If you will conduct business in San Francisco under a name other than your full legal name, the full legal name of a legal entity (such as a corporation), or any name that suggests additional owners, you must file a Fictitious Business Name Statement with the San Francisco County Clerk’s Office. Frequently asked questions about San Francisco Fictitious Business Name Statements can be found here.
  • License 123. License 123 is a free online tool that helps businesses navigate San Francisco’s permitting and licensing requirements.

California Tax Obligations For Your Business

Federal Tax Obligations For Your Business

  • EIN. The online application to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) can be accessed here.

Planning Your Business

ADA Compliance

  • The San Francisco Office Of Small Business has some legal resources available here on ways to bring your business into compliance and to mitigate your risk of a lawsuit.

Financing Resources

Converting Your California Company

  • The California Secretary of State Office’s guide to convert from one type of entity to a different type of entity.

Obligations for Dissolving Your California Businesses

Disclaimer: This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.

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Buying or Selling a Small Business? Here Are 5 Ways to Assess the Value

When buying or selling a small business, you want to make sure to assess the value accurately. There are five ways to determine a fair purchase price: 1.  Look At Similar Businesses The least accurate option is to look at similar businesses that are for sale on the Internet. The advantage to this option is… Read More

When buying or selling a small business, you want to make sure to assess the value accurately. There are five ways to determine a fair purchase price:

1.  Look At Similar Businesses

The least accurate option is to look at similar businesses that are for sale on the Internet. The advantage to this option is you can look at similar listings from the convenience of your home whenever you would like.

This is, however, the least accurate option as there can be a wide variety of factors that might make the fair market value of the business you are buying or selling more or less than other listings online.

In addition, the asking price of an Internet listing is often not the ultimate selling price. If you work with a business broker or appraiser, they will have access to comps of the sale of similar businesses both in California and across the country.

2.  Back Of The Napkin Calculation

You can also use a multiplier times the revenue of the business. While this option is also free, it is often not accurate as it does not take into account a variety of factors, such as the projection that the future revenues of the business are moving in or net profits. For example, two businesses in the same industry could have the same sales but one business could net $200,000 a year whereas another business could net $59,000 a year because it has more expenses.

3.  Hire A Business Appraiser to Assess the Value

You can have a certified business appraiser do a very extensive valuation. This is often the most accurate valuation of the business because the business appraiser digs deep on your particular industry, market forces, anticipated future returns and other factors. The drawback is it is also the most expensive option and takes several weeks for the business appraiser to complete. However, at the end of the process you have a detailed report of the fair market value of the business.

4.  Hire A CPA

You can also hire a CPA who specializes in valuation work to review the financials of the business and provide a valuation. This is a less expensive and intrusive option than hiring a business appraiser, but the valuation is also not as detailed. You should ask the CPA how much experience they have doing valuation work and whether they have been certified by the AICPA or the CBV as most have no formal business valuation experience and are not certified to provide valuations.

5.  Work With A Business Broker to Assess the Value

If you are selling a business, you can have a business broker review your business and provide a suggested listing price.

If you are buying a business, a business broker can advise you on whether the listing price is fair or if there are better opportunities on the market.

The advantage: initially, working with a business broker is often free because they are typically only compensated if the sale of the business is completed.

The drawback: if you do not work with a trustworthy business broker who keeps your best interests in mind, they might suggest a listing price that is less than the full fair market value to encourage a quick sale and therefore a quick commission payment.

It is fair to ask the business broker how many sales they have completed and hire one who has completed at least fifty transactions. They are more likely to have the necessary experience and competency to set the value appropriately.

If the broker provides you with a suggested valuation, you should request that they provide you with comparable sales to make sure it is a logical sales price.

Some business brokers are willing to credit the cost of a business valuation by a certified appraiser from their commission if the seller agrees to list the business at the valuation price. For many business owners, this is the best of both worlds as you get a detailed, accurate valuation by a certified business appraiser, but the cost is paid by your business broker.

If you have any questions about buying, selling, or setting the value of a small business, or would like an introduction to a great CPA or business broker to help you value a business, please contact us at (415) 633-6841 or info@bendlawoffice.com.

Disclaimer: This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.

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The Five Steps To Obtaining A Trademark

Trademarks are often an important investment in protecting the intellectual property of your business. Obtaining a trademark involves five steps: 1.  Search For Conflicting Trademarks Your first step is to make sure there are no conflicting trademarks. You should search on the United States Patent & Trademark Office’s website to see if there are any… Read More

Trademarks are often an important investment in protecting the intellectual property of your business. Obtaining a trademark involves five steps:

1.  Search For Conflicting Trademarks

Your first step is to make sure there are no conflicting trademarks.

You should search on the United States Patent & Trademark Office’s website to see if there are any conflicting trademarks that have already been registered.

You should then work with an attorney to run a more comprehensive search. Even if a trademark has not been registered, it could still have superior intellectual property rights over your trademark if it was in use first.

Note: if the USPTO rejects your application due to a conflict with an existing mark, it will not refund filing fees.

2.  Date Of First Use

Once you have confirmed there are no conflicting trademarks, you will need to complete a trademark application.

You will need the following two dates to complete the application:

(i)                 Date of First Use of Trademark In Commerce Anywhere.

You will need to include the date you first used the trademark “in commerce anywhere.”

(ii)                Date of First Use in Interstate or Foreign Commerce.

You will also need to include the date you first used the trademark in interstate commerce or commerce with a foreign country.

3.  Trademark “Specimen”

The trademark application also requires a trademark “specimen” – an image showing the trademark being used in commerce in the class of goods or services for which you are applying for the trademark.

4.  Class Of Goods & Services

You will need to select the class of goods or services you would like to register the trademark.

You should be strategic in selecting the class of goods or services to register the trademark, as there is an additional filing fee for each class of goods or services in which you register the trademark.

5.  Contact Address

Finally, you will need to include a contact address for the trademark registration.

It is important to remember that anyone can view this address if they search for the trademark on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website once the trademark application has been filed.

If you have any questions or would like help obtaining a trademark for your business, please contact us at (415) 633-6841 or info@bendlawoffice.com.

Disclaimer: This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.

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Why We Love Helping Small Business Owners and Startups

Rose Rose Productions did an amazing job of producing this video on why we love helping small business owners and startups. We are very fortunate to spend our days helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

Rose Rose Productions did an amazing job of producing this video on why we love helping small business owners and startups.

We are very fortunate to spend our days helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

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How To Change Your San Francisco Business Address

If you change your business address in San Francisco, it is important to avoid potential issues. The following checklist is a good starting point for most businesses to make sure you update all of the necessary government agencies and service providers. 1.  California Secretary Of State’s Office You will need to file an updated Statement… Read More

If you change your business address in San Francisco, it is important to avoid potential issues. The following checklist is a good starting point for most businesses to make sure you update all of the necessary government agencies and service providers.

1.  California Secretary Of State’s Office

You will need to file an updated Statement Of Information with the California Secretary Of State’s Office. The filing fee for an LLC is $20 and for a corporation is $25. You can access the forms for online filing here.

2.  IRS Address Change

You will also need to update the IRS by filling out and mailing Form 8822-B or by calling the IRS business hotline at 1-800-829-4933. There is no filing fee.

3. California Franchise Tax Board

You will need to update the California Franchise Tax Board of your company’s new address, which you can do here. There is no filing fee.

4. San Francisco Business Registration Certificate

In addition, you need to update your business account with the city of San Francisco by clicking here. There is no filing fee.

5. Fictitious Business Name Statement

You are required to file a fictitious business name statement if you conduct business in San Francisco under a name other than your full legal name, the legal name of a legal entity, or any name that suggests additional owners. When you change your business address, you are required to file for an updated Fictitious Business Name Statement. The cost of publication varies depending on the newspaper, but the least expensive option we have found is The San Francisco Daily Journal. You can reach The San Francisco Daily Journal by e-mailing Tonya at tonya_peacock@dailyjournal.com.

6. California Department Of Tax And Fee Administration

If your business has a seller’s permit, you will need to update the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration of your company’s new address by filing Form CDTFA-345. If you do not have a seller’s permit, you can read about why you might need one here.

7. Employment Development Department

You will also need to update the Employment Development Department by logging into your account online or asking your payroll service provider to do so. There is no filing fee.

8. Business Service Providers

You should update all of the service providers for your business, such as your bank, insurance carrier, credit card companies, payment processing and other service providers.

9. Business Listings

You should update all of the online business listings for your business, such as Yelp, Facebook business page, and any other applicable listings. Once you think you have covered them all, Google the name of your business to make sure you have not missed any.

10. Registered Agent for Service of Process

If you hired a third party to be your registered agent for service of process, you should update them of your new business address.

11. Subscriptions

Does your business subscribe to any professional journals, magazines, or other subscription services? If so, be sure to update those as well.

12. U.S. Postal Service

Last but not least, you should file a change of address form with the United States’ Postal Service, which you can find here.

For many companies these are the steps necessary to change your business address in San Francisco, but please contact us at (415) 633-6841 or info@bendlawoffice.com to make sure no additional steps are required as each situation is unique.

Disclaimer: This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.

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The Top 4 Drawbacks to Incorporating in Delaware

More companies incorporate in Delaware than any other state.  In fact, half a million businesses, including more than half of all U.S. publicly-traded companies and 60% of Fortune 500 companies, have incorporated in Delaware. So why wouldn’t you form your corporation in Delaware? This article highlights the biggest drawbacks to incorporating in Delaware and explains… Read More

More companies incorporate in Delaware than any other state.  In fact, half a million businesses, including more than half of all U.S. publicly-traded companies and 60% of Fortune 500 companies, have incorporated in Delaware. So why wouldn’t you form your corporation in Delaware? This article highlights the biggest drawbacks to incorporating in Delaware and explains why it is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

1.  Extra Initial Filing Fees

If you incorporate in Delaware you will have to pay the filing fees for the state in which you are transacting business and also Delaware filing fees. These include $89 for the Delaware Certificate Of Incorporation and $50 for the Certificate of Good Standing. You will need the Certificate to register the corporation in most states, including California.

These filing fees are in addition to the filing fees you must pay to register your corporation in the state where it actually conducts business.  For example, to register your Delaware corporation to do business with the California Secretary of State’s Office you will also need to file a California Statement Of Designation Of Foreign Corporation, which has a $100 filing fee.

2.  Annual Costs For A Registered Agent for Service of Process

In addition to extra filing fees, if you incorporate in Delaware you will be required to have a registered agent for service of process.  The annual fees for this service vary, but companies such as Biz Filings and Legal Zoom charge $220 to $249 each year.

3. Extra Franchise Taxes

If you incorporate in Delaware, you will have to pay the annual franchise tax in the states in which you are “doing business,” and also in Delaware.

If your company is headquartered in California, for example, but you incorporated in Delaware, each year you will have to pay California’s $800 annual franchise tax and Delaware’s annual franchise tax.

4.  Extra Reporting Requirements

If you incorporate in Delaware, you will have a second layer of reporting requirements.  For example, if you incorporate your company in Delaware, but are headquartered in California, you would have to comply with the reporting requirements in both states.

These drawbacks to incorporating in Delaware mean it is not the ideal solution for every company.  Instead, you should make sure that the benefits of incorporating in Delaware outweigh the extra expense and time of being incorporated there instead of the state of your headquarters.

If you incorporated your company in Delaware, what have you found to be some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages?

Disclaimer: This article discusses general legal issues and developments. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current law in your jurisdiction. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.  Bend Law Group, PC expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this article.

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