Starting a Business

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Starting a Business

I am looking to start a business doing the same exact thing I currently do for my employer. I do not have a non-compete or non-solicitation contract. There is also nothing in my original offer letter that addresses something like this and we don’t have a handbook. We are a small 7 person company. Technically my title is VP of Sales but functionally I am the only active salesperson. I am not an officer of the company, however I do have signing authority on the checking account in case something happens to the owner. In my extra time, I would like to start soliciting business for my start-up while still working for my existing employer. I will not be using any company resources, lists, etc. Can I do this?

Asked on February 18, 2019 under Business Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can as long as you do what you evidently already know you should do: not use company resources or lists. In the absence of a contract (e.g. non-competiton or non-solicitation agreement) to the contrary, you can compete with a company or solicit for a start-up (so long as you are not an owner, who would then have fiduciary duties to other owners) as long as you are not using any company materials, property, or resources. Only a written agreement bars competiton or solicitation by employees.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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