You have an idea and a goal of becoming your own boss, so you have decided to start your own business. Like many entrepreneurs before you, excitement and enthusiasm abound. Before you jump in headfirst, take the time to do some market research, develop a business plan, set some realistic goals, and create a network of support. The success of your business may be quick or it might take longer to establish. Either way, it needs to start with a solid foundation.
First consider your reasons for launching a business as that will drive some of your decisions. Are you looking to become your own boss? Do you have a unique product or service that meets a market demand? Do you want more flexibility in your work/life balance? Is there a financial goal you want to meet? These are all valid reasons why launching a business is the right option for you. Understanding the reasons will help you develop the right business plan. Contact the U.S. Small Business Administration and look at the resources they have available. They offer guidance on planning, launching, managing, and growing small businesses. They also have funding program information including loans, grants, and investment capital.
Your business plan provides the structure to get you started and the process of creating the plan will help you determine your timeline and goals. A traditional business plan allows you to go into detail for each section and requires more work upfront. The leaner version of a business plan uses the same structure, but is a higher-level summary with only the key points listed.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a good source for business plan templates.
Once you have your business plan, you will need to walk through these 10 steps to set up your business structure.
Learn more about each of these areas with our Business Start-Up eGuide.
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When setting up your accounting system, review the options available to you. Many software solutions, such as Intuit QuickBooks® and Sage Intacct®, are cloud-based and offer affordable pricing. You will want a software that can grow with you and gives you the financial reporting required by your lender and accountant. Learn more about accounting software options.
Utilizing an experienced accountant as an advisor, you will need to establish how you will handle the following areas of your business:
Tax planning will help you minimize your tax liability and maximize the available credits you can benefit from. Some of the areas to talk with your accountant about are buying vs. leasing equipment, evaluating depreciation methods, and multistate/Nexus tax planning. As more businesses sell online and across the U.S. and beyond, you will need to plan for the impact of multistate taxes on your bottom line.
Learn more about our business tax services.
A critical step in starting and running a successful business is having good financial records. Efficient and effective records will help you:
This is an area where accounting expertise at the start will ensure you have the records you need, when you need them.
Learn more about our accounting services.
This eGuide outlines the areas you need to focus on when starting a business. From proper entity structure to hiring employees, it’s all discussed in this easy-to-read eGuide.