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17 Legal Tools to Make Running Your Small Business Easier

Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber

Here are 17 legal tools that will help you run your business.

Starting a business means dealing with some standard legal matters, like registering your business and complying with tax regulations. This can be overwhelming for new entrepreneurs, especially if they're not familiar with these legal processes.

While it's always advisable to consult an experienced business attorney, there are countless resources and online tools available that make it easier to find the information you need. To help you, we asked the members of Young Entrepreneur Council which tools they recommend to make the legal side of business less intimidating for small business owners. Try one of these suggestions when you're faced with common business legal tasks. 

1. Rocket Lawyer

"Our company has used Rocket Lawyer for years. You choose the document you want, such as a mutual noncompete agreement, and the software takes you through a questionnaire that then populates your document. The templates are comprehensive. Then you send the documents by email for digital signatures. We pay for the Premium membership and it is worth it." ‒ Brian GreenbergTrue Blue Life Insurance

2. State bar association hotlines

"Most state bar associations have free legal aid hotlines that you can call to get legal advice for your small business quickly. Remember, this does not mean the lawyer has agreed to represent you in any legal case, but it can give you some direction on how to proceed. The business legal system can be confusing, so a free consultation can help educate you on what steps to take." ‒ Thomas GriffinOptinMonster

3. DocuSign

"You'll need to sign and send documents all the time, so you need to make sure you're doing it safely. DocuSign uses encryption to ensure all documents are safe and sealed. You don't want personal information getting into the wrong hands, so it's important to make sure you're taking all the security measures necessary." ‒ Stephanie WellsFormidable Forms

4. LegalZoom

"LegalZoom is an a la carte website, where you only pay for what you need, which is great for new small business owners. It can help you decide which form of business is best for you (LLC, DBA, etc.), and you can speak with an actual attorney whenever you need to." ‒ Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

5. LawDepot

"We personally use LawDepot. This tool is created to cater to small businesses and individuals in the United States. They are centered on the creation and detailing of legal documents. They compile entire legal documents within their site where you can log in, access and download them." ‒ Kelly RichardsonInfobrandz

6. Trademarkia

"Trademarkia is an excellent online legal tool for verifying whether your company's intellectual property is free of copyright or trademark infringement. The Trademarkia platform cross-checks users' logos, company name, slogans, patents, domain names and trademarks to ensure that they do not violate existing North American or European registered IP. Best of all, it's free to use." ‒ Amine RahalIronMonk Solutions

7. iubenda

"You're about to launch a new website when you realize that you don't have a privacy policy, cookie policy, terms and conditions or a consent solution. Yikes! Even if you have a lawyer draft these, you still need your website to dynamically track and store user selections and update website behavior. iubenda is an affordable tool that provides lawyer-level solutions and makes everything super simple." ‒ Ryan MeghdiesTastic Marketing Inc.

8. QuickBooks Online Payroll

"A third-party bookkeeping and payroll system is massively important for accounting when starting your small business. I love using QuickBooks Online Payroll for its ease of use and ability to automatically submit the right tax documents and payments needed to keep me in compliance. They walk you through every step and it's super user-friendly." ‒ Rachel BeiderPRESS Modern Massage

9. Carta

"Carta is a must for efficiently managing equity in a growing business. From 409A valuations to cap table management, the product has it all, and will save you a ton of time and legal fees." ‒ Josh WeissReggie

10. State government websites

"Almost all state government websites have a wealth of information on requirements for incorporation, HR, licensing and more. I highly recommend reading those documents before you contact a lawyer. You will know better questions to ask and save legal fees in some instances. For instance, incorporating a business in Florida is pretty straightforward, and you can do it yourself." ‒ Peter BoydPaperStreet Web Design

11. Google templates

"There are so many tools and services out there that it can be very, very overwhelming. A great way to start off light is by using a Google template and building on it. Of course, you want a lawyer to look over it at the end, but I have saved thousands by tweaking a contract template and then having a lawyer check it, instead of having them create one from scratch." ‒ Joey Bertschlerbitgrit

12. Clerky

"We used Clerky to get our entire business set up, including incorporation, stock purchase agreements and more! Most of these agreements are the same in any company, so it makes sense to start with a good template like they provide, and you can make specific changes easily if you want. Lastly, they automatically do all the filing for you. It's so easy." ‒ Andy KaruzaFenSens

13. Upwork

"There are a lot of talented business attorneys on Upwork who are looking to make some side cash outside of their normal day job. So if you need contracts made, terms of service documents, etc., it's a great place to find affordable legal help!" ‒ Jared BrownHubstaff Talent

14. UpCounsel

"UpCounsel is a platform where small business owners can get legal assistance with things like composing contracts and getting advice on specific issues affecting their businesses. It's like an Upwork for attorneys — you can view ratings, reviews and find an attorney that specializes in exactly what you need." ‒ Keith ShieldsDesignli

15. Stripe Atlas

"Stripe is a payment system that handles transactions for small businesses all over the globe through the internet. Among its suite of services is Stripe Atlas. It helps small business owners set up a C corporation. They'll have everything, including papers and bank accounts, set up for you in about a week or so." ‒ Samuel ThimothyOneIMS

16. BizPaL

"BizPaL is a Canadian startup launched in 2005. It's a jointly managed partnership with governments at the federal, provincial and municipal levels, and is a comprehensive tool that details what permits and licenses a business needs. The best thing is it's free, and it saves time and money." ‒ Vikas AgrawalInfobrandz

17. All-in-one HR tools

"A great HR tool can really help with legal matters. Having a single place to manage payroll, PTO, benefits and other important aspects of human resources, such as a comprehensive HR platform, can help you stay compliant with relevant laws. There are plenty of great platforms for HR out there worth exploring, and I suggest that you get in touch with them to find out about legal compliance." ‒ Syed BalkhiWPBeginner

Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images
Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber Member
Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.