Accomplished attorney and author Sutton (Start Your Own Corporation, 2012, etc.) presents a second volume on how to build a well-protected business from the ground up.
If it seems like Sutton is leading a tour through every entrepreneur’s worst nightmare, it’s because the path to running a successful corporation is rife with pitfalls. Founder of Sutton Law Center and a Rich Dad’s Advisor series contributor, Sutton knows what can happen when entrepreneurs ignore proper bookkeeping and other corporate formalities. Hefty tax liabilities, expensive lawsuits and criminal investigations can doom a business. Rather than cower from the dangers, Sutton digs in with an us-versus-them attitude and explains how to build a “corporate veil” that will be difficult for outsiders to penetrate, whether they be sue-happy clients or overzealous creditors. Stuffed with legal concepts but remarkably easy to follow, the book traces the evolution of three fictitious businesses over a five-year period—an engineering firm, a beauty salon and a housesitting venture. These “case studies” illustrate the basics of personal asset protection and legal documentation. Topics include choosing a corporate entity, payroll taxes, annual filings, IRS audits and more. Options are laid out with brutal candor because the consequences can be grave. One imaginary entrepreneur loses $15,000 due to trademark infringement, and another is sentenced to prison following a dubious tax investigation. The narratives can be a bit over-the-top, but it’s forgivable because a skilled attorney will anticipate worst-case scenarios. Sutton casts a wide defensive net, even highlighting the risks posed by social media websites. Government agencies like the IRS and OSHA are viewed with suspicion, and entrepreneurs are urged to rise above bureaucracy by following the rules. Sutton makes no apologies for the tactics used by the wealthy; while he insists readers pay their taxes, he shows ways to legally reduce their liabilities. The timeline of the book is ambitious, since many startups are barely profitable after five years, but Sutton’s strategies can be applied regardless of scope.
Part survival guide, part cautionary tale, a volume in which every aspiring entrepreneur should invest.