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What would Fairfax County be without its small businesses and entrepreneurs?

Small businesses are the engines of our economy. Although you hear more about big companies like General Electric and Walmart when you skim the business pages, just try to imagine Fairfax County without all the restaurants, shops and stores that aren't part of a large national chain.

Entrepreneurs and business owners who have built their operations from the ground up face their own unique legal challenges and situations. One of those is business formation and planning; in other words, how a business can lay the groundwork to continue succeeding and thriving in the future.

To see the need for business formation and planning, let's take a look at one family-owned business that was recently profile by The Fairfax Times. The Saikin family's fireworks business has become something of a small empire, with locations in northern Virginia, southern Maryland and the Algonkian region, besides their outposts in Purcellville, Lessburg and Brunswick, Maryland.

Now, as this company moves forward, it may need an attorney to explain relevant firework laws, so that it does not get caught selling something it shouldn't be. It might have to acquire real estate for a new stand or negotiate a favorable lease to rent a location. It has employees to hire and pay, so there are employment laws to consider, as well as some basic tax issues. Lastly, which of the Saikin children will take over once the parents retire?

Those are only a few of the things this particular business has to think about. What legal issues face your business may be different in some ways, but might be similar in others. In any event, it's not a good idea to leave possible issues up to chance; a better approach is to be proactive and vigilant.

Source: The Loudoun Times-Mirror, "Lighting up the sky," Laura Peters, July 6, 2012