Small Business Guide for Success

Launching a business? Here are tips to get you started--the right way!

diversityblackmansuit2Here’s a list of matters entrepreneurs should consider in forming a business, courtesy of Kevin Freeman, a Chicago-based corporate attorney with Drinker, Biddle & Reath L.L.P.:

  • Business’ name and Website: Check with your local secretary of state to make sure that the name you want is available. If you do not intend to form an entity immediately, check to see whether you can reserve the name and for how long. Also, research whether or not the name is available as a Website too and reserve as many variations of the name as possible including all domain permutations (i.e. “.net” and “.us”)
  • Trade names/trademarks: Consider whether your business or product name (or a mark) should be protected; file appropriate paperwork with the United States Patent & Trademark Office.
  • Business plan/budget: Create a business plan and a budget, even if you do not intend to solicit investments from others. This will help you stay focused, work through problematic issues associated with your business, and help you set goals. Periodically compare your company’s current state of affairs to the business plan and budget; make adjustments as needed.
  • Seek professional help: Although there is a general temptation to save money by doing it yourself, it can cost more in the long run if you have to pay someone to help remedy a situation that could have been prevented by consulting an expert. Attorneys and accountants are sometimes willing to give general guidance (either for free or at a reduced fee) to budding entrepreneurs with the hope that they will be retained in the future when the business reaches a point where it makes financial sense.
  • Insurance: Consult with an insurance agent to determine the appropriate insurance policy for your business including D&O coverage, a policy covering directors and officers.
  • Licenses: Check with your local city/town to insure that you have obtained the requisite business license for your business and confirm that you have obtained the necessary regulatory permits or approvals.
  • Observe corporate formalities: To maximize liability protection and properly capitalize your company, hold shareholder and board meetings at least annually. Never commingle business accounts with personal money, and consider adding an independent director to your board of directors.
  • MBE/WBE status:Investigate whether there are commercial advantages to registering as a minority-owned business enterprise or as a women-owned business enterprise.
  • Know your industry: Get your hands on as much information as possible about your industry. Your goal should be to become an authority on your type of business.

A Sound Setup

Choosing an ownership structure can be tricky, but knowing your options can help you determine the right fit

By Anthony Calypso


Check out these resources for additional information on company structures.

Books

  • Form Your Own Limited Liability Company, 4th Edition (NOLO; $44.99) by Anthony Mancuso
  • LLC or Corporation? How to Choose the Right Form for Your Business, 2nd Edition (NOLO; $24.99) by Anthony Mancuso
  • Corporations, Step-by-Step (Barron’s Educational Series; $18.95) by David Minars

Organizations

  • The National Business Development
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ACROSS THE WEB
  • Jacardo01

    heather you can try google, vista print, yahoo.

  • charles washington

    Great info thanks Ms.Lynnette Khalfani-Cox. This really helps.

  • Tarshall

    great new way of thinking to plan

  • Elaine Jackson

    Our concern is knowing how long we will have to wait for sunnier days.
    The economy has really hit those in the technology space.As a PMP Instructor I am finding clients in a tough space:they need the training to get back to work and they need the job to afford the training. Those that are out of work for long periods of time  - no longer qualify for the PMP Exam.Elaine Jackson, PMPwww.holisticPMC.com

  • walstonja

    Excellent advise! Thanks

  • Sandra Brown

    Thanks for the advice: Question every purchase!!

  • Aieshal

     Also try http://www.wix.com

  • Lindsay

    Very sound advice.  Having a savings is probably the most important part.

  • Dlhoops3

    Great info.

  • Shay Atkins

    My favorite part here was to question every purchase, I find myself with buyers remorse with some of the purchases I’ve made for my business…I’m learning!

  • Askmysecretary

    I am so concerned about having that professional look, that I  have to admit that I have overspent in some areas too much, but now I know and will make better purchases!

  • http://twitter.com/lovelyone105 Charisse Johnson

    Very informative!

  • Erica D.

    Many times I have told myself to wait before buying. We have to learn to listen to the more sensible side of our head.

  • http://www.heavensdisciples.com/ Rodney Burutsa

    I’ve recently created a spending and savings financial ledger. The hardest part about budgeting is questioning every purchase, especially recurring ones– such as social network web hosting.

  • Sandra Butler

    Create a spending and saving budget…..

  • tony harrison

    I agree its very important to save and have some money put up for the new business so im doing all i can to save now.

  • Kristina Nelson

    Every thing I’ve heard has been helpful

  • http://www.sapersteinandassociates.info/ ssaperstein

    i would definitely say two years worth of savings would be a smart thing to do prior to starting a business, not mandatory, but very wise, to cut down on stress during the start up phase

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VUQ3BZXSV2F5S3YKNCZYS4BYYM Natika Gatson

    Defining a budget has been one of my downfalls..

  • http://www.webdezinz.com/ lowster11

    Thanks.

  • Phoebe

    This is the area I will need help.  Thanks you have help to point out some weaknesses I need to consider.

  • De’on

    This definitely gave me things to think about. Like waiting until I have more savings before launching my business. But I want it now!

  • Lucubrate75

    Thanks Moore for the info

  • Reaganm

    For some reason this after having watched this video it is not showing that I have completed it :(

  • Zurriane

    This is a very good piece.  Thank you tracking is very improtant this has a lot of good and sound advice.

  • Shelia

    Having that 6 months financial cushion set aside is key! In this tough financial climate, dare I say a one year cushion might be appropriate. The classes are great.
    Thank you for all the effort that was put forth in doing these courses.  

  • Laura Hudson

    Very helpful information I plan to start using today thanks for sharing!!!!

  • Bobby

    Definitely use a good CRM like Zoho or something similar to to track your spending on marketing and other expenses, but always have a good accountant!!! 

  • Carter Ceo

    The financial cushion is something we are currently working on, and questioning every purchase is a must. I like to ask my business advisor (my mom), since her first answer to everything is “don’t spend any money”. Since I have to justify it, it keeps me honest about whether I truly need something or not.

  • Mckela Simon

    I need to get all my jewerly at once but i need to find way to get cheaper…

  • http://twitter.com/soyoungco Sonya YYoung&Company

    Great information, this class really help me – especially with creating the spending and saving plan, as well as to question every purchase. Awesome!

  • Velma

    I know a thing or two about a budget as I am the most “saving-est” person I know…However I don’t or haven’t created a spending budget…Great tips!

  • Wizzdom

    Having a strong cash position makes sense. Making a spending and saving plan is essential.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anna.abell.925 Anna Abell

      A strong cash position does make sense, spending it wisely makes more sense.

  • Octavia

    As an
    accountant I can attest to everything Ms. Cox stated in this video. The video
    was very informative! I agree with Shay the part about question everything is
    so important. Many business owners as make the mistake of commingling funds.
    Believing that their personal and business funds are one and same, and this couldn’t
    be further from the truth. In addition a lot of business owners tend not to
    realize how important it is the build a strong financial foundation. This is a
    passion of mine. To educate, empower and guide small business owner to achieve
    financial success by implementing SMART financial practice.

    Great
    video, I enjoyed it!

  • Devonne

    Good information, the question every purchase tip is good and she also said to WAIT, it is not necessary to make alot of purchases in the beginning.

  • POA

    A budget keeps one in the know

  • Cameron T

    budgeting in key

  • http://twitter.com/J5acDesigns J5ac Designs

    Since I am funding my business under my own financial steam, this course was a good reminder to ensure I have a strong financial plan. It is not as specific has she has described but now I will go back and do more work on my plan. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/anna.abell.925 Anna Abell

    I agree with knowing and spending yuour money well.