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Keep Your eBay Biz Legal Build your eBay business on a strong legal foundation to keep the bids coming.

By Janelle Elms

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are you ready to start a business? "One of the main reasons small businesses fail is they don't seek legal and accounting help at the beginning," says Bellevue, Washington, enrolled tax agent and eBay Silver PowerSeller Patrick Snetsinger (eBay User ID: snetsnkeg). "How your company is structured will have long-term implications."

Many eBay businesses start by accident. Sellers begin by clearing out their houses, then they quickly find a niche and grow rapidly. Legal intentions to set up a legitimate business escape their mind as they ramp up a new business. But you shouldn't wait until you run into problems before setting up your business legally. Here are some initial legal considerations Snet-singer brings up. (Regulations vary by location.)

Business name: Creating a legal, creative and unique business name can be a challenge. Start with your county clerk for information about company names. Next, check with any online registration service to see if your URL is available. Then, go to the trademark office's website at to verify the legality of registering your business name.

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