Articles Tagged with LA Start-up Attorney

AdobeStock_431953977-300x169A stock option pool has become an increasingly popular tool for startup companies. Entrepreneurs seeking to attract talented employees will often offer incentives that give employees motivation to make the company as profitable as possible, and equity compensation is a very popular option. There are different ways to offer these equity options to employees, and stock options pools are a popular choice. A pool allows a company to set aside a given portion of company stock to be issued to employees as stock options. While this is a convenient structure for many businesses, it is not always the best option. Learn more about the pitfalls of using a stock option pool – and the other options that might be better for your business.

The Difference Between Stock Options and Restricted Stock

Both stock options and restricted stock are forms of equity compensation made to employees. There are different restrictions that come with each form of compensation, and it is important for companies to understand these effects before making the choice of how to offer equity compensation. Restricted stock creates a role more similar to a traditional stockholder, and the employee may vote and receive dividends. Employers may also reserve the right to buy back restricted stock (or at least have the right of first refusal) in order to maintain control of the company. Stock options are more limited. Employees are usually limited to the right to buy company stock at a set price in the future. This right can create a windfall if company stock exceeds the set price, but it does not give the employee voting or dividend rights. Because there are no voting rights and no set number of shares, employers generally do not retain the right to buy back stock options. Both restricted stock and stock options can be subject to vesting requirements in order to encourage long-term employment.

AdobeStock_92258605-300x181Here in Los Angeles, there are myriad opportunities for creative entrepreneurs – but it is important to protect your and your business’s legal rights before you begin operations. Doing so will allow you to get through the difficult initial startup stages of a business free from legal disputes over equity, management rights, and other legal issues.

Structuring Your Company

One of the first issues you must resolve is what type of business entity you should form. Corporations (including C Corporations and S Corporations), limited liability companies (LLC), general partnerships, limited partnerships, and sole proprietorships each have unique advantages and disadvantages. There are different tax implications and legal protections associated with each type of entity. For example, if you choose to form an LLC, you may enjoy both limited liability protection and pass-through taxation benefit (meaning no tax will be imposed on the LLC level, and all profits or losses will pass through to the members of the LLC on their individual tax returns). However, if you have capital raising needs in the near future, LLC may not be a good choice because many investors may not accept LLCs for many reasons. This is why it is important to consult with a Los Angeles business attorney about the specific needs of your particular business. An attorney can help you select the business entity type that best meets your business goals.