Please note: We believe accurate, plain-English legal information should help you solve many of your own legal problems. But it's not a substitute for personalized advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you want the help of a trained professional-- and we'll always point out situations in which we think that's a good idea-- consult an attorney licensed to practice in your state.
If you need financial assistance, a commercial loan through a bank is a good starting point, although these are often difficult to secure. If you are unable to take out a bank loan, you can apply for a small business loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) or an alternative lender. [See related story: Best Alternative Small Business Loans]
Despite being a relatively new option, the limited liability company (LLC) is now one of the most popular business structures among smaller organizations. While allowing business owners to remain free from a great deal of the regulations imposed on other types of companies, it still provides limited liability protection for its owners (members). This means that the personal assets of an LLC's ownership cannot be collected to fulfill the debts of the business.
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GmbH (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung) Sàrl (Société à responsabilité limitée) Sagl (Società a garanzia limitata) ≈ Ltd. (UK), LLC (US). Min. capital CHF 20,000. Registered shares only, of a par value of min. CHF 100 each. Name, address and share of each owner (and any changes) publicly recorded in the Official Register of Commerce.
Startups requiring significant funding upfront may want to consider an investor. Investors can provide several million dollars or more to a fledgling company, with the expectation that the backers will have a hands-on role in running your business. Alternatively, you could launch an equity crowdfunding campaign to raise smaller amounts of money from multiple backers. Crowdfunding has helped numerous companies in recent years, and there are dozens of reliable crowdfunding platforms designed for different types of business. It's not challenging to find a good option for your business should you elect to launch a crowdfunding campaign.