This is part 7 of a 7 part guide on how to start a small business.
Especially if you’re a first time entrepreneur, starting your own business can be quite overwhelming. The are many rules from both an accounting and a legal perspective that need to be followed or you risk getting penalized by the government.
Sometimes unexpected problems or disputes will arise in which you will have no clue how to proceed. That is why it is essential to have an experienced professional available to consult with when things become complex. At a bare minimum, you should find an accountant or a tax expert to help in preparing your initial business tax return even if you think you know what you are doing.
Small Business Startup Guide
Trust me. Even if you have a strong grasp of the tax rules, an experienced accountant can help you squeeze out that last bit of tax savings. Many of the tax rules are ambiguous and you’ll need an experienced consultant to tell you what the limits are to avoid an audit. In addition, even though your business may be easy to run now, things will get more complicated as your business expands.
How To Find An Accountant
The best way to find an accountant is through a referral. When my wife and I first set out to find an accountant, we mistakenly went straight to a large accounting firm. After an hour consultation and $350 later, we came out of the meeting feeling intimidated by all of the potential accounting fees and tax rules. We were also in such a rush to minimize the hourly fees that we forgot to address many of our questions.
Ultimately, the accountant that you go with should be someone that you feel comfortable with. If you come out of the consultation feeling scared and overwhelmed, then chances are that accountant is not a good fit for you. It’s also important that you don’t feel like you are getting nickel and dimed as well.
We eventually found our accountant by contacting a friend who runs a small retail business. Not only was our new accountant cheaper, but he made us feel at ease with our tax strategy. Even better, he was easily accessible by phone at no additional charge.
Other Resources Mentioned In This Guide
This final section of the guide contains a bunch of resources that I either used or consulted with when forming our online wedding linens store.
- Trademark Issues – Go to the USPTO Website to make sure that your business name has not been taken or registered as a trademark in the federal database
- Incorporating Your Business – Instead of hiring a lawyer, you can pay a small fee to a service like My Corporation and they will handle all of the paperwork for you. Don’t bother paying for a third party service if you are forming an LLC because the LLC paperwork is relatively straightforward.
- Getting A FEIN – Simply go to the IRS Website and register your EIN in a matter of seconds online!
- Register Your DBA or Fictitious Business Name – Services like LegalZoom.com will handle all of the necessary paperwork for a DBA at a very modest fee. Don’t waste your time doing it yourself. Just pay someone to do it.
- Obtain All Business Specific Permits – If you are starting a business in California, then the CalGold Website is an excellent free resource. Otherwise you can pay for a service like LegalZoom.com to find and register all of the necessary permits for you.
- Small Business Taxes – There’s no better resource for tax rules than good ole IRS.gov. You can find all of the necessary tax forms online here as well.
- Doing Payroll – Filing payroll paperwork by yourself is a major pain in the butt. Instead, you should contract out your payroll to a third party service such as Intuit Online Payroll
- Bookkeeping – For your bookkeeping needs, you can’t go wrong with Quick Books Pro. I currently work for a 125 employee company and they still use Quick Books today.
- Getting Financing – The SBA or Small Business Administration is an organization that specializes in helping small businesses get financing. Check with your local SBA office for more information or go to www.sba.gov.
I hope that this small business startup guide has provided you with a guideline of what to expect when starting your own business. All of the rules and regulations can feel overwhelming at first, but there are a ton resources out there to help you on your journey. If you have any specific questions regarding any aspect of starting your own business, feel free to drop me a line and I will try to help you out.
- The Ultimate Small Business Startup Guide
- Small Business Requirements And Permits – The Ultimate Small Business Startup Guide Part 3
- The Ultimate Small Business Startup Guide – Introduction
- Hiring Employees Vs Contractors For Your Small Business – The Ultimate Small Business Startup Guide Part 5
- Small Business Trademark Issues – The Ultimate Small Business Startup Guide Part 2
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