Business & Commercial Law

Michigan Small Business Law

As an owner of a small business in Michigan, you have the responsibility of ensuring that your business complies with federal and state laws and regulations. This means ensuring that the required taxes are paid, employees are receiving their rightful compensation and benefits and keeping business property up to health and safety codes.

For business owners in Ann Arbor, Detroit or Grand Rapids, it’s important to understand state and federal laws and know how to proceed when a legal issue develops. LawInfo has the Michigan small business law information you need from registering intellectual property to small business financing.

Michigan Business Plans

Prior to starting a small business, it’s a best practice to develop a business plan. A plan outlines your business’s future by stating goals, how your business will achieve them, potential issues and how they can be overcome.

The primary purpose of a business plan is self-assessment of your preparedness for starting and running a business. It can also be a useful tool for getting financial support from investors and creditors if you’re thorough in your market research and financial projections. The more thorough your business plan is, the more confident your financiers and potential employees or co-owners will be in your small business’s success.

There are many parts to a business plan, but overall there are three distinct sections your plan should include:

  1. Business Concept—What are your small business and its products or services? What industry does it belong to? How will you make it successful?
  2. Marketplace Analysis—Who are your customers? What are their needs and habits? How does your business’s products or services meet those needs better than your competitors’?
  3. Financial Statement—What are your small business’s projected income and cash flow? This section typically includes financial projections and balance sheets. If you’re business is already established, you should also include historical financial data.

Typical Small Business Legal Issues in Michigan

Legal issues crop up for all businesses, be it contracts, taxes or employment. Legal questions and issues will vary widely by industry and it’s a good idea to consult a business attorney beforehand. But a small business owner may encounter legal issues such as:

  • Extending credit and collecting on past due amounts in accordance with Michigan and federal laws;
  • Which legal structure to select (such as a corporation, partnership or limited liability company);
  • Maintaining the required level of workers’ compensation insurance coverage;
  • Hiring and managing employees in accordance with Michigan and federal employment laws;
  • Complying with health and safety regulations when constructing or preparing a work site; and
  • Protecting inventions and trademarks through intellectual property law.

Types of Business Insurance in Michigan

Small businesses and/or business owners may be held liable for paying for damages to company property, covering losses from mistakes or bad contracts and compensating personal injury claims, depending on the business structure chosen. Business insurance can protect a small business from financial stress by reducing their liability for these and other issues.

Michigan insurance providers offer many types of business insurance policies that cover specific liabilities. Not every policy may be right for your small business, so you’ll need to assess the liabilities it’s responsible for and choose your policy wisely. Insurance providers will also measure your business’s specific liabilities to determine the kind of coverage it’ll need and the premiums your or the business will owe.

Among the many policies available in Michigan, some of the most important for small businesses include:

  • Homeowner’s insurance—If you are operating your small business out of your home, you can add riders to your homeowner’s insurance to cover business risks like property damage or theft.
  • General liability insurance—This policy covers business-related personal injury and property damage in general.
  • Professional liability insurance—Also called “errors and omissions insurance,” this policy covers business mistakes that can lead to negligence and malpractice claims.
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