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Legal Forms of Business Law 531


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Legal Forms of Business
When considering the preferred legal form of business, it comes down to the level of liability, the size of the business and the number of owners or shareholders that will be involved. It is important to consider that with the increased size of a business and the increase in the number of owners, the decision-making process becomes more complex. The level of liability for the owners decreases as the owners no longer are liable for the losses and gains of the business within larger legal forms of business.
Of the legal forms of business; sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company, S corporation, franchise, and corporate; some businesses may only qualify to be classified as one or two of the legal forms of business, making the decision easier for the owners to choose.

Sole proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is a for-profit business owned by one person who may operate the business alone or employ others. The sole proprietor of the business is responsible for assets, losses, and debts. There is also no legal distinction between the sole proprietor and the business (Cheeseman, 2012). A small business, such as a coffee shop would be a prime candidate for a sole proprietorship. The owner could run the coffee shop alone or employ others to operate the business. A sole proprietorship can be more difficult to raise long-term capital for, because of unlimited liability and that the business depends on the health of the owner. An investor takes on a higher risk when funding a large amount for a sole proprietorship. This type of business has low overhead and startup costs associated with opening and operating it, making it easier to secure the minimal capital necessary (Cheeseman, 2012).

Partnership: A partnership is a business owned by two or more individuals who each have unlimited

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