COVID-19 UPDATE from Bellas & Wachowski

Articles Posted in Business

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Do you need a business license?

In the past two years about 30,000 new businesses were started in Illinois.   Most of those new business had to get a specific license for their particular type of business.   Not all businesses do, but many will need an Illinois Business License specific to their occupation, which vouches for the fact that you’re qualified to perform a certain type of skill and reassures customers that you will be accountable for your work.

For starters, you will need a Certificate of Registration common to all types of businesses. Then, you will need to drill down to your particular type of occupation, perhaps using this page on the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation website.

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New Laws for Small Businesses in 2022

From salary and benefits, to the hiring process, to non-compete agreements, an array of new state legislation that affects small businesses in one way or another has taken effect as of the first of the new year, 2022.

The legislation focused non-compete agreements (SB 6

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When is the Best Time to Start a Business?

During the pandemic there were over 400,000 new businesses formed, the most since 2007.  This outpaced the number of businesses which closed during the pandemic.  

We have seen a number of businesses which were formed over the past year by well-meaning and cost-conscious entrepreneurs.  These new ventures – both corporations and limited liability companies – frequently overlook some critical elements of a new business.   In fact, the first question to ask is whether you should organize as a small corporation or a limited liability company.  There are tax consequences and managment questions that should be considered in making the choice. 

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George Bellas advises on E-Commerce

There is no doubt that e-commerce sales have grown tremendously over the last 20-plus years. That is in part because online purchases are taxed differently than in person sales, and small businesses have noticed the advantages of this system.

The setup is quite simple: a small business may house their servers or warehouse their goods in one state, all while shipping their products to the other 49 states. It is important to know that small businesses are not required to collect sales tax in a state in which they have no physical presence. Until recently, small business owners could expand their consumer base across the country largely without ever collecting a penny in sales tax. This approach yields more clients, more sales, and more revenue. However, as the old cliché goes: “More money, more problems.”  In this case, it’s “more money, more tax problems.”


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Illinois Freedom to Work Act 

Illinois Employers who want to protect their business and trade secrets by using restrictive employment contracts will find new hoops to jump through.   The enforcement of non-compete and non-solicit agreements, designed to erect roadblocks to prevent former employees from gaining an unfair advantage due to their proprietary knowledge of your business or relationships with your customers, has always been tricky.  But a recent law will make it more complicated.

An amendment to the Illinois Freedom to Work Act that will take effect on January 1, 2022, will create new hurdles for business owners hoping to prevent employees who have left on frosty terms from exploiting their knowledge of customer contacts, pricing and other trade secrets that could enable them to take shortcuts to parity as your adversary.

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Illinois Cannabis Business Market

Licenses for a legal cannabis business have been a hot topic lately, and now the the Illinois Supreme Court has made its first ruling related to the byzantine process of obtaining a license for a legalized cannabis business in the state, and it seems likely to be the first of many.

The legislative effort to limit the number of licenses the state issues drives up the value of said licenses to the point where it almost seems to bait those who don’t win the competitions to get one, and who sometimes end up angry and confused as to why.

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Considerations for Starting a Small Business

Recently, we ran a post What to consider when Starting a Small Business, Part One  about some of the early steps in starting a small business—deciding you’re ready, figuring out what type of business you want to start, surveying your competitors, and figuring out the optimal business model.

At that point, it’s time to get down to the proverbial brass tacks and put together a business plan, which really doesn’t need to be more than one page long unless you’re going to apply for a loan from a bank (in which case you should find out what the lending institution requires).

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Are you thinking about starting a small business?

It can be an exciting and challenging endeavor, although it’s more likely to succeed if you plan ahead, take it step by step, and surround yourself with trusted, experienced advisers.  Of course, such an important endeavor – not to mention a life alternating event – requires hard work, ingenuity and more than a little legal advice.   You can start by going to our webpage on What to Ask When Staring a Business.

Keep in mind that there might never be an absolutely perfect time to start your own business – so for starters you need to take stock of your mental state and make sure you’re as ready as you will ever feel.  

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SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Eligible restaurants and other dining establishments are entitled to apply to the U.S. Small Business Administration for a $28.6 billion grant program under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, as established in section 5003 of the legislation.

The SBA recently released a Program Guide that lays out the details of the grant eligibility under the Restaurant Revitalization Fund that foodservice outlets might want to review before applying. Among the key points of consideration promulgated in that publication are:

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What Can Small Businesses Do About the Maskless?

As more states lift requirements that people wear COVID-19 masks indoors when in public, what can small businesses do to protect their employees—and other customers who still prefer to wear masks?

As of April 5, more than one-third of states (18) lacked mask requirements, some of which never had them in the first place, according to the Associated Press. But business owners are certainly legally entitled to require them if they so choose, given that their public-facing spaces are still private property that they either rent or own, as long as they don’t discriminate. Customers who refuse to wear a mask, are asked to leave and stubbornly do not are therefore trespassing, and business owners could involve police if they so choose.