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How to start a business! #IntentionallyDifferent

Five Steps to start a business

Based on the most recent data available, business start-ups are still slumping since the Great Recession. Start-ups have continued to decline (only 414,000 were formed in 2015, a slight increase from 2014) based the most recent Census Bureau figures. To give some perspective – before the recession, there were 558,000 companies formed in 2006.

The good news? Washington State has seen some of the highest statistical business start-up rates as the economy continues to rebound. If you are looking to test the waters with your business idea, we recommend following these ten steps to ensure that your new business will be one of the 49% of businesses that survive five years or longer!

Startup Business Contracts and Counseling

“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh, Zappos

Step One – Market Research

Starting a business without first doing your research can be like driving from Seattle to Miami without a map or street signs. If you conduct market(ing) research, you will be able to use the results of your research to create a business plan and marketing plan (or measure the likely success of your current plans). You should find out some answers to the following questions:

  1. Is anyone else doing this idea (or something similar)? If not, are there any good reasons why not? If so, how would your idea be different?
  2. Who are your potential clients, customers, or vendors?
  3. How do you market to your potential clients and customers? (How do your customers choose you over a potential competitor?)

Step Two – Write a Business Plan

So – just like it’s not a great idea to drive from Seattle to Miami without a map or signs… you also shouldn’t start your business without a thought-out business plan. A business plan is a living breathing document – as such, we recommend taking a look at these service providers that provide a step-by-step approach and will help you create a business plan that you can track as you grow:

  1. Live Plan
  2. Business Plan Pro

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

Step Three – Get Opinions

Feedback, in any form, helps us formulate a plan to cultivate the success we are chasing. In that regard, you should formulate a strategy that allows people to interact with you, your company, and your product or service.

Unbiased feedback will help you focus on areas to improve as well as growth areas. Check out the video below for some tips on how to get feedback.


  1. Lead with your appreciation. Saying ‘thank you’ will establish that you and your company are grateful for any feedback – even the negative feedback and that you view it as an opportunity to grow.
  2. Find the truth behind the feedback. Not all feedback is going to be effective, or even true. With that, we recommend finding the truth behind the communication and ignoring any comments or requests that fall outside of your established strategies or products.
  3. Look for the patterns. Are you receiving a ton of positive feedback about a specific concept, service or product? Chances are your strategies are likely working well in that area. Finding patterns in your feedback (both positive and negative) will help guide your focus.
  4. Ask questions. Engaging your audience by asking questions will help you learn specifically what someone did or did not like and how you can improve.

Step Four – Get in the Game!

  • You will need to choose a business structure. (Will you be a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or another type of legal structure?)
  • You will need to choose a name for your business/brand.
  • You will need to register your business (including obtaining state and federal identification numbers as well as any permits and/or licensing necessary to conduct your specific type of business.
  • You will also want to ensure that your new business idea and brand are protected. Adequate insurance protection is a given, but you will also want contracts/agreements between you and any other business partners, your customers and any other vendors. You may also want to look into costs associated with Trademarking, copyrighting or perhaps even obtaining patents to ensure you are protecting your business from competitors.

Evergreen Law Office proudly provides many of these services for a flat fee because we believe that epic business counsel shouldn’t hinder good business practices but foster their growth.

Step Five – Grow

Growth is equal parts have a plan to market your new business and retaining the business you work so hard to obtain. Focus on using the many tools available to effectively grow your market presence through organic, influencer or paid social media campaigns.

Continued growth will depend on your efforts to continually invest in superior customer service, hiring great team members, creating a superior product or providing superior services, and then continue to learn as you grow.

Experienced Business Lawyers

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

Evergreen Law Office believes that the law and legal problem-solving methods are very powerful and use those tools to empower our clients every day. This means making sure your CONTRACTS enable your business to accomplish its goals. It means putting processes in place to make sure that you are paid on time and that your ideas are protected, all while establishing the long-lasting positive relationships that drive your business force. Whether you are a Washington startup looking to bring your ideas to fruition or an established Washington company looking to take the next big jump ,give us a call to see why we are #intentionallydifferent.
Offices located in Puyallup/Tacoma – Serving Thurston County and Pierce County, Washington.

Business Formation

Each and every year thousands of Americans catch the entrepreneurial spirit and launch a small business to sell their products, services, and innovations. Some thrive; others fall face flat. Starting a business can be an overwhelming task for even those seasoned pros who are working on their third or even fourth venture. Things are never easy in the beginning no matter how long you’ve been doing something.

Just a few of the many legal issues to resolve during the formation stage of your business are:

  • Evaluation and development of your business idea – (I.e., Creation of a business plan, including profit/loss forecast and cash flow analysis; sourcing start-up financing, and setting up a basic marketing plan);
  • Selection of a legal structure for the business – (I.e., number of owners, type of business, liability protection, and the individual tax objectives of each owner);
  • Choose an available name and register the domain and trademark;
  • Registering the business name;
  • Prepared organizational paperwork;
  • Find a business location;
  • Filed for licenses and permits;
  • Obtained insurance;
  • Set up the financial bookkeeping;
  • Set up tax reporting;
  • Conversions (LLC – PC – Inc. ).

With so many hurdles to navigate, it’s no wonder so many startups fail in their first year. Evergreen Law Office provides multi-faceted representation for our clients to navigate the challenging waters of new business formation.

“Epic legal counsel shouldn’t hinder good business practices, but foster their growth.” – Adam Shelton, Managing Attorney

 Spotting potential liability isn't always obvious. Epic legal counsel should also support the creative process - not become a hinderance. Spotting potential liability isn’t always obvious. Epic legal counsel should also support the creative process – not become a hindrance and liability.


We provide flat fee representation plans aimed at advising those with even the most modest budget.  Now, with Evergreen you will gain a trusted team member with the experience necessary to navigate the initial hurdles of getting your business ready to flourish.

Our flat fee representation plans will give you the reliance of a transparent fee, and depending on the plan provide some or all of the following services:

  • Establishing and helping plan new companies;
  • Protection of your ideas through trademarks, copyrights, licensing agreements and enforcement efforts, if necessary;
  • Advocate for your needs and priorities and resolve unnecessary disputes;
  • Negotiate and draft contracts for real estate, vendors, talent, employees, partners, and others;
  • Advise and provide guidance on laws and regulations impacting your business.

If you are in the market for a partner you can trust – give us a call at 253-693-2244 and learn more about why we are #intentionallydifferent.

Family Business Counseling

“In a family business, you grow up with close contact to the business, whatever it is, and the beer business is certainly a very social type of business.”

— Carlos Alvarez, founder of The Gambrinus Company, 1986

Families across the great state of Washington enjoy the pride, connection, strategic advantage and the financial reward of having a successful family business. Family businesses face similar challenges that most other businesses face, but in many ways, the family enterprise faces unique challenges due to its unique makeup. Some of the areas that Evergreen Law Office can assist family businesses include:

  • Succession & Continuity Planning – Many family businesses look to succession planning as the solution for ensuring the viability of the family business. We believe that succession planning is an ongoing process that includes critical decisions, meticulous estate planning as well as a comprehensive plan for the future. That way we can ensure the successful transition of ownership, leadership, and management of the business and its assets to successive generations.
  • Business Governance – Appropriate and effective governance is the hallmark of a sustainable family enterprise. Evergreen Law Office partners with our clients to establish a governance program that facilitates business continuity and growth.
  • Organization & Education of the Family – Successful family enterprises typically see enhanced results in both business performance and family relationships when everyone understands the various aspects of the family and business. Evergreen Law Office begins by determining where the biggest opportunities are to establish agreement on key issues around the business, as well as what areas of education will best equip shareholders to be effective stewards of the family’s legacy.
  • Effective Ownership – Creating an effective ownership structure means answering some difficult questions. Evergreen Law Office works with families to plan for ownership changes and to create programs for educating potential owners on their rights and responsibilities as shareholders in the company.
  • Communication & Conflict Resolution – Evergreen Law Office prides itself in its ability to engage family stakeholders in proactive dialogue around the family business. We have found that by inoculating all stakeholders with knowledge, education, and experience, family dynamics and related issues become stronger. We have also found that communication channels become more effective allowing for better decision making regarding the enterprise.
  • Leadership Development – In any growing company, the need for leadership that can grow and change with the ever-evolving needs of the business is crucial to success. Add in the complexities of leadership in a family business, which includes balancing business needs with family needs and it is clear that leadership in family businesses requires unique competencies. Evergreen Law Office supports founders, second, third and fourth generation leaders, sibling and cousin teams, non-family executives and management, family council chairs and board chairs.
  • Policy Development – Family business policies do much more than simply document processes or decisions. The process of creating, documenting and sharing these policies allows a family to protect itself against future conflict, by specifying up front how a wide variety of potentially contentious issues will be handled.

General Counsel & Corporate Governance Services

Whether you are leading a start-up or a small-mid size company you understand the value of having epic team members. Evergreen Law Office provides affordable General Counsel services to our business clients. Our customized, transparent and value-based legal services make it financially possible for your company to enjoy all of the advantages of having talented and experienced “in-house counsel” as part of your valued management team.

Growth brings its joys and its headaches. If you are beginning to feel the strains of growth it may be time to consider bringing on a General Counsel to spot those problem areas, and help you focus on what makes you such a great leader. Whether you are leaning your team into the next growth phase or simply building foundation from day one – your business will benefit from the addition of a general counsel. 

Epic legal counsel shouldn’t hinder good business practices, but foster their growth.

— Adam, Managing Attorney

Our General Counsel Plans include variations of the following services:

 Working smarter, not harder. Yep - we do that. #IntentionallyDifferent

Working smarter, not harder. Yep – we do that. #IntentionallyDifferent

  • Commercial contracts, licensing agreements, strategic transactions – including the creation and implementation of systemic contractual guidance and controls;
  • Corporate governance – including board and shareholder resolutions, consents, directors’ meetings, shareholder meetings, minutes;
  • Capital raises;
  • Counseling officers and directors on fiduciary duties and strategic considerations;
  • Executive compensation, including stock options, restricted stock agreements, and equity and non-equity based incentive compensation packages;
  • Employment issues;
  • Litigation, arbitration and risk management;
  • Real estate purchases and commercial leasing;

We work closely with our clients, taking the time to understand their business operations, past history, and future business objectives. This close relationship allows us to provide innovative, client-centered and cost-effective advice and counsel on business related legal issues confronting clients on a daily basis.


Transparency and easy billing practices are at the core of our business, because constantly watching the clock gets in the way of a trusting and collaborative relationship. So, we provide monthly flat fee packages based upon your particular goals. Now every company can afford to bring specialized legal thinking “in-house” to identify and manage risk and seize opportunities for growth.

If you are interested in speaking with a lawyer that thinks outside of the box like you give us a call. We are proudly #intentionallydifferent.