Whether you are looking to get your side hustle legit or you are starting the next formal fortune 500 company, you run into a variety of start-up challenges and expenses. You can ask anyone who has been through starting up a business, the costs can be as extensive as the learning curve. Let’s say you have everything figured out for your new business to get up and running. You know what you will be providing, you know the target market, you know what your price points are, etc. Here is a short “phase 1” list of what you will have to do next
You will need to apply for a Business License – failing to do so is a fatal mistake many business owners make, and it can cost big time down the road. The most common type of incorporation for an up and coming entrepreneur is a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), this provides legal protection and gives you a sturdy structure to build your business on. Other options include the C-Corp, S-Corp, LLP, Partnership, Limited Partnership and Joint Venture.
Each offers a unique legal structure with various tax incentives and protection. Generally, your only options are to spend days reading through legal descriptions of how these can be utilized, or hire a lawyer to set one up for you. A small business consultant can jump start this process by narrowing down which structure types are options for you and what the advantages or disadvantages may be.
Legal – even a “Jack of all trades” business owner understands the importance of getting legal advice. Searching for a lawyer can be just as difficult as the law work itself. Every business can be categorized in broad practices and you will need to get a right lawyer for your practice. A law firm that specialized in food service business will give you a totally different depth of advice than an automobile focused law firm. Find the lawyer that understands your business landscape better than you do! This step is far too overlooked, it become especially critical if there are people other than yourself involved in the business – a partner, spouse, or contracts with other companies.
Here is a great link to help you start shopping for lawyers. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/58326
Accounting – Generally you should only take care of your own accounting if you understand it very well and are extremely organized. Even then, you’ll still most likely want a CPA for your annual taxes. This principal is very similar to getting a lawyer – a good accountant won’t cost your business money, it will save you money in the long run. Either by preventing costly mistakes or by finding tax deductions that you would have over looked.
You’ve got your business license and you’re ready to work. Go open a business Bank Account – this is where all your business transactions will be organized (we recommend a local credit union). Don’t make work harder for yourself or your accountant – Separate your business transactions from your personal life! Orientate yourself on what is a personal expense and what can be a business expense. You will be pleased to find that there are many tax deductions that a business can take – Restaurants, Fuel, subscriptions, travel, etc.
Here is a list of credit unions you can check by state and learn more about how they can serve you best.