Small Business Resources And Where To Find Help- The Ultimate Small Business Startup Guide Part 7

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.

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.

Conclusion

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.

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18 thoughts on “Small Business Resources And Where To Find Help- The Ultimate Small Business Startup Guide Part 7”

  1. Steve, every time I come to your website and read your posts, I can’t thank you enough for your time and effort sharing all these information.

    Thank you so much
    Hanna Choi

    1. Hi Hanna,
      Thanks for the kind words and also thanks for supporting the blog. I really appreciate your comments!

  2. Hi there,

    I’m surprised that all of your tips have to do with operational elements of business and nothing at all to do with marketing your business.

    We all know that “building a better mousetrap” is no longer enough, that you must ensure that the right people know about your mousetrap at the right time – when they are looking for a mousetrap! :)

    To be successful in business you MUST be a master marketer – being a master at the operational and infrastructural elements, to me, is secondary, to having a great product/service and getting the word out about it.

    Paul

    1. Hi Paul,
      You are correct. Being a master marketer is equally as important as the infrastructure and operational elements of a business….which incidentally is going to be the topic of my next guide. However, talking about and giving advice about marketing in general is a fuzzier topic which is why it will probably take me a bit longer to gather my thoughts on the topic. But thanks for your comment! Being successful is definitely a combination of both things

  3. This is incredibly helpful, Steve. Thank you so very much! I’ve already passed the link onto one of my clients and I hope to tweet this tomorrow.

  4. Monica says:

    Hello, Steve! You have the most amazing and comprehensive website I’ve come across for people trying to start an online business. The amount of information you provide is unbelievable, and to top it off – you can actually understand it!!! Thank you sooooooo much! I truly wish you continued success in your endeavors, as I am sure you’ve helped hundreds of people achieve their goals!!!

  5. Tanya says:

    Thank you for answering all my questions! You’ve given me hope that it’s possible.

  6. Pilm says:

    Good article, but also makes it more obvious why so many businesses fail, too many hands in the till, seems like the government would do something to encourage start-ups rather than punish them with a sea of regulation and taxes.

  7. Carole says:

    Thanks for this great article. Really helped me start to understand the big picture of starting a business.

  8. Sheree says:

    Steve thank you so much for all the information here. I don’t always leave a comment but I feel this way every time I finish reading or listening to your new posts. You have really put things in to perspective for me with this article. I have read most if not all your material and it is all very straight forward and I like that. You’re an inspiration! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  9. Mary Rogers says:

    Steve-
    Great material! I’d like you and your community to be aware that the US Small Business Administration makes free business consulting available to ANYONE starting a business. Before going out on my own, I was a paid certified small business consultant with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). These are NOT volunteers like SCORE (which is another good resource), but professionally trained folks who can help you from start-up to growth. Here is a link to find an office in your area. And, it is FREE!
    http://americassbdc.org/home/find-your-sbdc/

  10. CASSIUS GR says:

    My dear friend Steve,
    This is a fantastic blog! I can’t say enough here as to how much I appreciate it. However, I am commenting from a faraway country and “I need your HELP.” Please contact me through the email address I have provided you above. I won’t say much as this is a public forum. I do apologize if it causes you any inconvenience. Please do understand. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

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