20 Steps to Setting Up Your New Business
 Tom Jones Taxes Logo           Call Us Today!  336-395-3777     Español
103 West Elm Street, Suite A, Graham, NC 27253

20 Steps to Setting Up Your New Business

Starting a new business remains the American Dream for thousands of people each year. The opportunity to take charge of one’s own destiny, to set one’s own goals, to control one’s own income, and to contribute to society in meaningful ways remains as enticing today as it ever was. In this post-lockdown era in which we find ourselves, your new business might be just what we need to help get the economy rolling again.

But wanting to start a business is one thing. Knowing how to start a business is another altogether. Failure to understand how to properly plan, organize, and market your business can turn your dream into a nightmare. In this article, we will look at 20 steps you can take to get your company up and running smoothly, dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s along the way.

Let’s dive in.

1. Define Your Business

Before you can even begin to build your business, you must first have a clear understanding of exactly what your business will do. Will it offer roofing services, photography services, lawn care maintenance, or will you provide catering for weddings?

Whatever product or service you offer, you cannot be undecided about what your business will do. Except for large corporations, few companies do more than one thing. You have to decide what that one thing is that you will do, and focus on building a business that does it better than anyone else. Avoid the pitfall of trying to be too diversified. If you try to do too many things, you will spread your resources too thin and you will not excel at anything. Let’s look at an example of how you can find yourself in this pitfall.

Let us assume you want to detail automobiles. As you clean cars, you might be tempted to offer to make simple repairs to car upholstery or to touch up paint. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to offer those services to your customers since you are working to make the vehicle look nice? While some detailers might successfully offer such services, this is a good example of trying to do too much to make your customers happy. The skills, tools, and supplies needed to perform these additional services are quite different from those involved in auto detailing. Sooner or later, you will find that your hourly revenue suffers when you stray off the path.

Defining your business is important because everything you do will be built upon this first step. A good way to make sure you are on track is to describe your business in one short sentence. Examples might be:

  • XYZ Company will provide quality wedding cakes for discerning newlyweds.
  • XYZ Company will offer repair services for antique furniture.
  • XYZ Company will specialize in repairing damaged leather seats in foreign and domestic vehicles.
  • XYZ company will sell rare and out-of-print books.
  • You also cannot create a brand for your business until you have the concept of your company well thought out.

Whatever your passion, define your business now and avoid the temptation to say yes to every customer need. When you have established yourself, you can then consider adding additional services to your offerings.

2. Research Your Market

Your passion is the fuel that will drive your business, but it won’t be enough to help you succeed if you don’t have customers. There are many many reasons a business might not have customers, but the reason should never be because no one wants what you are selling. It’s great that you might love making vegetarian Greek cuisine, but if few people in your community are interested in going vegan, you won’t make money.

Market research is a complex topic. Indeed, entire college degree programs have been devoted to it. However, there are some steps you can take to help ensure that you are not wasting your time trying to offer something that isn’t in demand within your target market.

Speaking of target market, you need to define that, too, right after defining your business. If you don’t know who you are selling to, how can you expect to reach them?

Begin by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What need does my business fill and who has that need?
  • Who needs what I am selling? Individuals, businesses, pet owners, persons over 50, people who live in apartments?
  • Will my business sell only locally, or throughout the state or throughout the country?

What you need are customers—people or companies that will buy your products or services. Before you can have customers, you need to identify “prospective customers”—those who need your offering, whether they know about your company or not. By thinking about the three questions above, you should be able to form a picture of who your typical customer will be so you can think about how to reach them with your message.

Once again, avoid the temptation to try to be everything to everybody. Of course, you might be able to sell a few commercial-grade cleaning products to homeowners, but advertising outside your target market usually gives a poor return on the advertising dollars you spend. Define your target market and direct every advertising dollar in their direction and nowhere else.

You can hire any of a number of market research experts online who can tell you (for a fee) who needs your product or service. But you can do just about as well on your own if you are willing to do your own research.

3. Choose a Business Name

Once you have defined your business and your market, it is time to choose a name for your business. Even if you already have a name in mind, pay attention to the pitfalls we will discuss so you don’t give your business a bad name.

Your company name can be descriptive or nondescript. An example of a descriptive name is Ace Hardware. It says what it is. On the other hand, an example of a non-descriptive name is Google. If you didn’t know what Google was, you wouldn’t know what products or services they provide. Generally, descriptive names make it easier to attract customers to a new business, since the name, alone, tells prospective customers what they can expect your company to sell.

The length of your name is important. If it is too long, it will be difficult to use on a business card and other promotional materials and will be difficult to work into a domain name. If it is too short, it might not be descriptive enough. Generally, 12 to 15 characters is a good length for a name.

You will probably need to come up with several choices for a name, since the odds are your first choice is already taken by another company. Although there is usually no problem naming your lawn care service “Owens Lawn Care” even though there may be several companies by that name throughout the country, be careful taking a name that is already used. If you choose a name that is used by any company in your state, the other business owner may challenge you in court if their name is registered as a corporation. Even if they are not incorporated, they can challenge you if they operate a business by that name in your geographical region.

And, of course, you don’t want to use a name that is already in use by a national or multinational company such as Microsoft. No matter where you live, naming your company Microsoft would be a very bad idea.

If the name you pick isn’t registered by a corporation in your state, and isn't being used by an unincorporated business in your city or county, you may be free to use it. The best way to know if your name is taken is to Google it and see if there are other companies using that name and where they are located. You MUST also check to make sure your name is not already registered with the Secretary of State. In North Carolina, the website you would use is https://www.sosnc.gov/online_services/search. There are also other resources online to help you pick a business name.
Once you have chosen a name, you will use it to complete many of the steps that follow.

4. Choose Your Business Structure

You must now decide how to structure your company. You have several options:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Corporation
  • C Corporation
  • Nonprofit

Each business structure lends itself better to some type of business than others.

Since the greatest differences between the types of companies are usually tax implications, your accountant or tax professional can help you decide which might be the best choice for you.Generally, as a sole proprietorship, you are the sole owner of your business and you make all the decisions. If you share those responsibilities with others who may also be financially invested in the business, you might need to structure your business as a partnership. If you want some separation between your business and your personal assets, you might need to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). The greatest protection from personal liability and the greatest tax advantages are available for C corps. Nonprofit status is reserved for charities, educational institutions, religious organizations, and literary or scientific work.

There are other options, as well, such as S corp. Again, see your tax professional for more information.

5. Create a Business Plan

Now for the hard part. You will need to develop a business plan. Depending on the complexity of your business, your plan may be simple or it may need to be more thorough.
Even the simplest business plan should include the following sections:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Management and Organization
  • Products and Services
  • Customer Segmentation
  • Marketing Plan
  • Logistics and Operations
  • Financial Plan

The primary purpose of the business plan is to describe your business in sufficient detail to satisfy the requirements of banks and other lenders, and to attract investors. Even if you do not intend to borrow money for your business or to seek investors, you still need a plan so that you have a roadmap to follow as you operate and grow your business. Trying to build a business without a business plan is like trying to build a house without blueprints and is an irresponsible way to start a business.

There are many resources and fill-in-the-blank templates available online that can help you to create your business plan on your own—some free, some available for a small fee. However, many business owners find that an attorney or business plan writer (yes, they exist) can be a great help in this area.

If you cannot afford to hire someone to help you, at least do your best to write a business plan for yourself. If nothing else, it will force you to consider the challenges you will certainly face and to think of solutions in advance. You can do yourself no greater favor than to invest time on your business plan.

Click HERE for an article that talks about business plans in more detail. There are many other articles that can also steer you in the right direction.

6. Secure Funding for Your Business

We have all heard of multi-million corporations that were “started on a shoestring.” Don’t expect your shoestrings to do the same for you. To start a business, no matter how small it is, you will need some money.

Here are the top 10 expenses you will encounter, generally from the lowest cost to the greatest:

  • Business cards (free to upwards of $25 for cheap ones)
  • Advertising (free to $1,200 for a radio campaign or online ads)
  • Company website (free to $5,000 for a professional developer)
  • Insurance, permits, and license fees (a few hundred dollars per year)
  • Buying supplies and equipment (varies based on business)
  • Your salary (you must pay yourself a salary based on your monthly expenses)
  • Hiring employees (varies based on how many you hire)
  • Legal fees ($750 to $1,500 if you hire an attorney to incorporate your business)
  • Operational funds (to keep the lights and telephone on, to maintain supplies, and so on for a year, or at least three months)
  • Securing business property ($500 per month for rent to $125,000 to buy a small office building)

You need to know how much money you need to start your business . No matter what figure you have in mind, you will find that you grossly underestimated how much you would need, if you don’t plan well—remember that business plan I mentioned?

You need money not only to get your business ready to open, but you also need funds to operate it for a period of time after opening. Experts usually suggest that business owners have the funds to operate a new business for a year before making a profit. That does not mean a year before the business makes any money, but before it makes more than it spends to operate. Many businesses succeed without that level of funding, but a year’s worth of operational funds is typical.

Don’t try to guess how much you will need. Without a business plan, or at least some kitchen table math, you can’t know with any accuracy. If you can confidently answer how much money you will need for each of the 10 items listed, you will have a reasonably accurate idea of how much funding you need.

You have, no doubt, also heard that it takes money to make money. Unfortunately, you will find that to be true as you start your company, and you will find it to be true when you are ready to grow your company. The Small Business Administration website offers some great information and a business cost calculator to help you decide how much capital you will need.

7. Choose a Business Location

Will you operate your business from your kitchen table, from a rented office, or from a warehouse you purchase? The needs of each business are different and only you can say which will work best for you.

There are two schools of thought that you need to be aware of as you consider your location. If you don’t invest in an actual place of business, rather than operating out of your home, you might come across as unprofessional. On the other hand, if you spend money you simply don’t have in order to have a storefront on Main Street, you might soon come across as out of business.

For many companies, operating out of the home is fine and acceptable. Cake decorating, electricians and plumbers, and other businesses might not need an actual business location. If you will sell to the public, will have walk-in traffic, or will make loud noise operating your business, local zoning restrictions will probably forbid you from operating your business from your home. Some communities prohibit any type of home business, so check with local authorities to be sure.

If you decide that you need a business location away from your home, there are many things to consider. First, do you rent space or buy a place for your company? Renting gives you the advantage of not having a mortgage until you see if your business will survive. At worst, you will be obligated for a year’s lease, which is far better than a $125,000 mortgage on a building that doesn’t make you any money.

Whether you rent or buy, don’t give into the myth that location is everything. There are many old and successful businesses operating on side streets and away from the business district. Everybody can’t be on Main Street and you should not endeavor to unless you can truly justify the expense. The difference in cost for business property is significantly lower on side streets than on main thoroughfares, so look for good deals off the beaten path. If you sell a better mouse trap and promote it properly, customers will seek you out. Just be sure you have adequate parking for them when they find you.

8. Choose and Attorney, an Accountant, and a Tax Professional

“I don’t need an accountant and I certainly don’t need an attorney to start my business. And I’m going to do my own taxes.”

If you think that even for a moment, you have little chance of succeeding. Success in any enterprise requires two types of knowledge: information you have in your mind, and information you get from other people’s minds. You may be an expert in laying hardwood floors, but if you were an expert on what it takes to start a business you wouldn’t be reading this article.

You need to hire a business attorney, if only for a single consultation, to make sure you meet the requirements of the law when opening your company. If you choose to incorporate, you don’t have to use an attorney, but letting them file the paperwork for you can pay off down the road if you make mistakes.

A qualified accountant can help you get your books set up properly and will be a valuable asset to the continued operation of your organization. You may not need a CPA unless you operate a certain types of business, but make sure your accountant is licensed to provide accounting services in your state.

Resist the temptation to use off-the-shelf tax software. Business taxes are far more complex than individual income taxes. The IRS has more requirements than you ever heard of and if you don’t meet every one of them you will be fined, or worse.

9. Get a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)

You will need to obtain an Employer Identification Number, commonly called an EIN, from the IRS. This unique number identifies your business to the IRS and to other organizations. While you are not required to have an EIN unless you have employees, if you do not have one you will have to share your social security number more often than you might be comfortable doing.

Getting an EIN is free and easy, but the tax laws that affect your requirements are complex. See a qualified tax advisor to make sure you are in compliance.

10. Set Up Bookkeeping and Payroll

There is no substitute for getting some professional guidance when setting up your bookkeeping and payroll. Complex state, federal, and tax regulations make it nearly impossible for many small businesses to process their own payroll. Compounding the frustration are the consequences of making a mistake that affects employee earnings or taxes—mistakes that can make you liable for back payments, fees, penalties, and interest.

Hiring a qualified accountant or payroll processing firm to handle your company's payroll is one of the best business decisions you can make when starting your own business. But, like with any professional service, you want to make sure you understand exactly what services the bookkeeper will provide and—very important—what information they will need from you.

Whether you are your corporation's only employee, or you will have others working for you, do yourself a favor and consult a payroll professional.

11. Register Your Business

Depending on where you live, you may be required to register your business with your city, county, or with both. In some communities, you will be required to register with the Register of Deeds and obtain a privilege license. In other places, you may not need a license. You can check with your Register of Deeds office or city or county manager’s office to determine the requirements in your area.
If you structure your business as an LLC, a C corp, or a nonprofit, you will be required to register with the state before commencing operations. Check with your Secretary of State’s office to learn more.

Depending on the type of business you operate, you might also be required to register with one or more federal agencies.

12. Secure Required Licenses or Permits

Some businesses, such as contractors, hair stylists, and alarm system companies must secure a trade license before doing business. Fees for some trade licenses, permits, or certificates are high and you might be required to pass an exam. Check with your Secretary of State to see what licenses you might need.

13. Decide the Need for Consultants

You might be the only expert you need when it comes to operating your business. If that is not the case, you might need to hire one or more experts to help you.

Before you dismiss the need for an outside consultant, let’s look at a few reasons why you might need one.

A good management consultant can develop your employment policies, develop your work procedures, and help you learn to manage your employees. The guidance they provide can also help reduce liability from employee claims and violation of labor laws. After one troublesome situation with an employee, you will quickly appreciate how valuable a management expert can be to your organization.

We already discussed the need to seek guidance from a qualified accountant, tax professional, and an attorney. These are probably the most important of all consultants you could hire. Unless you are an accounting professional, a trained tax advisor, or a license attorney, you probably should hire one of each, at least to help you get up and running legally and in compliance with IRS regulations.

Advertising and social media experts are worth their weight in gold when they know their stuff. There is a lot to know about promoting businesses in this era of social media, and unless you know all about it you would do well to get advice from someone who does.

And, whatever you do, resist the temptation to build your own website or to let your neighbor’s teenage son build it for you. You wouldn’t cut your own hair (or trust the neighbor’s son with it), so don’t build your own website. Either way, you will come out looking something less than professional. Hire a professional web developer who not only knows how to make a site look good, but who knows how to make it rank well, and who can resolve technical problems when they occur.

An architect and/or a structural engineer might be required to make modifications to business property you purchase. Make sure you consult them before purchasing a building if you suspect major renovations will be required. The reports they provide might dissuade you buying that particular property.

14. Market Your Business

Just because you open a business doesn’t mean people will come. There is nothing more discouraging than opening day with no customers. You can avoid the disappointment by marketing your business before you are ready to open it.

There are gobs of online marketing tools available to help you market your small business. In fact, it is easy to become overwhelmed when deciding which one(s) to use. Start simple, be careful about spending your promotion dollars on services you don’t understand, and don’t believe everything you read. While online marketing is important, don’t dismiss the power of radio ads, liberally-distributed business cards, direct mail letters, and similar tried-and-true advertising techniques.

And yes, you need a website.. Facebook is how your customers will communicate with you and is one of many ways you will communicate with them. However, your website is how you will present your business professionally to customers and professional organizations. Some businesses claim to survive on Facebook alone, but not many can prove they ever lost money using a professionally designed website.

And while we are talking about marketing, your customers will need to contact you. If possible, get a cell phone just for your business and set up an email account in your business name.

15. Purchase Business Assets

At some point, you have to lay out the big bucks and buy the things you need to run your company. Here is a list of what you might need:

  • Business property (discussed earlier)
  • Company vehicles
  • Computers
  • Copiers and printers
  • Cell phones
  • Office furniture
  • Office supplies
  • Materials needed for your business (food items, roofing materials, shampoo, etc.)
  • Equipment and tools needed to perform your trade (wood chippers, hammers, etc.)

16. Insure Your Assets

There is not a lot to say on this subject, but you need to take it seriously. You will invest some money in the tools, equipment, property, and other assets you need in your business. Regardless of whether you spend a little or a lot, theft, fire, water damage, loss, or other unfortunate events can leave you without the items or space you need to operate your business.

If you rent, your landlord will probably require you to get renter’s insurance and to list them as an “additional interest” so they know if your insurance lapses for any reason. The reason the landlord cares whether you have your possessions insured is because you are less likely to sue them for your losses if you have your own insurance. Many leases require you to have this arrangement.
If you buy a property, you will, of course, need to have insurance to cover fire and other risks.

Then there is professional insurance. Depending on your business, you may also need to have general liability insurance, and possibly a bond, to cover whatever mistakes you might make that could cost someone else money.

Finally, you will also need unemployment insurance from the state, for yourself and for each employee. See you accountant for details.

There are also special insurance policies available for unique businesses. See a licensed agent to make sure you are adequately covered.

17. Setting Up Your Bank Accounts

Regardless of the type of business you open, or how small it is, you need to open bank accounts to handle your company’s money. Trying to operate a cash-only business will cost you customers and attract the attention of the IRS and will deny you valuable services that you will need.

Depending on your situation, you might need to open your bank accounts earlier in the process. Generally, though, it can be one of the final steps before you open your doors.

Here are some steps on setting up your business accounts.

Evaluate Financial Institutions

Begin by taking time to select the right bank for your needs. Not all banks are the same. There are regional banks, national banks, multinational banks, and credit unions. Go online and review the websites of institutions you are considering to see which will best serve you.

Note: Credit unions are not actually banks, but to simplify things, we will consider them as such for purposes of our discussion. Many credit unions charge zero monthly fees, which makes them worth considering.

Go online and review the websites of institutions you would consider using. Make a note of which ones offer the services you need, what fees they charge, and what their minimum balance requirements are. Institutions differ widely, so making the right choice can help you keep more of your money and give less to your bank. Go in and talk with a banker to get more details before making a decision.

Here is a secret many financial institutions don't want you to know. If you will be accepting a large number of payments from customers, your bank may charge you a fee for each transaction of $0.25 or more, which can add up over the course of a month. A way around this can be to put your deposits into a savings account, which usually have little or no transaction fees (especially at credit unions), and then simply move money into your business checking account. This way, you can deposit dozens of payments into your savings account and and move the combined sum into your checking account for one transaction fee. For this to work, you need to be sure what fees you institution charges.

Have your Credentials

Before you can open any bank accounts for your business, you will need to have certain information and some documents ready to share with the banker who opens your account. If you do not have the required documentation, you will not be allowed to open an account until you can provide the items requested.

Some of the items you will be asked to provide will also be needed by other organizations at some point. It’s a good idea to collect these documents and store them in clear sheet protectors inside a binder. A three-ring notebook is sufficient for this purpose and you will save the hassle of having to look for documents when you need them.

Expect to provide the following information, depending on your business structure (varies by state):

Sole Proprietor

  • EIN or Social Security Number
  • Business license OR Assumed Name Affidavit, Fictitious Name Certificate, Certificate of Trade Name
  • General Partnership
  • EIN must be used as the Tax ID
  • Partnership Agreement
  • Assumed Name Affidavit, Fictitious Name Certificate, Certificate of Trade Name

Limited Partnership

  • EIN must be used as the Tax ID
  • Partnership Agreement
  • Certificate of Limited Partnership as filed with the Secretary of State and stamped by the appropriate state official
  • A beneficial owner(s) form
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • EIN must be used as the Tax ID (you may use SSN if you are the sole owner of your LLC)
  • Articles of Incorporation as filed and stamped by the Secretary of State or appropriate state official
  • Operating Agreement if your LLC has more than one owner
  • Assumed Name Affidavit, Fictitious Name Certificate, Certificate of Trade Name (if doing business under another name other than the LLC name

Corporations

  • EIN must be used as the Tax ID
  • Articles of Incorporation as filed and stamped by the Secretary of State or appropriate state official
  • Assumed Name Affidavit, Fictitious Name Certificate, Certificate of Trade Name (if you are doing business under a name other than the corporate name)
  • Non-Profit Organization (includes Organizations, Associans, and Clubs)
  • EIN can be used as Tax ID
  • Signed Authorization Letter or similar letter from your organization naming you as the authorized person

Non-Profit Corporation

  • Control and Natural Person is required
  • EIN must be used as the Tax ID
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • If a charitable organization, a copy of your 5013(c)(3) letter from the IRS that confirms your organization’s charitable status
  • If you have a partnership, or members or officers in your corporation, you will need those individuals to come with you to the bank. They will need to provide proof of their identity and other information as well.

Note, you may need items in addition to those listed.

Fund Your Accounts

You will need to make an initial deposit in order to open each account. The minimum amount varies from one institution to another, from $5 to $100. You will need to bring cash with you to make the initial deposits, since there is no hold on cash deposits.

Make sure you deposit enough money to cover the cost of starting your business so you can get the greatest number of deductions.

Set up At Least Two Accounts

You may have wondered why I have been speaking of accounts rather than a single account. The reason is because you will need at least two accounts, if you want to keep your books straight. You will have your business checking account, and you need to open a second account just for taxes. There is no requirement that you do this, but having a tax account helps you stow away money you will need to pay estimated taxes and other state and federal deductions. If you try to keep your tax money in your regular checking account, you will spend it (yes, you will) and come tax time you may not have the money to pay your taxes.

If you sell products or offer certain services, you should also consider opening a sales and use tax account. This is different from your regular tax account. Having an account for depositing your sales and use tax will help tremendously when you have to pay these taxes to the state. Again, this isn’t a requirement, but it is the best way to help ensure that you don’t spend money that isn’t yours.
The key to making separate tax accounts work for you is to regularly schedule transfers from your primary checking account into the appropriate tax account. Usually, you will want to make these transfers at least weekly. The amount you transfer will depend on the percentage of taxes you will owe. See you accountant or tax professional for more information.

If you have employees, even if you are the sole employee of your corporation, you should also consider having a payroll account. This account will be reserved for accumulating money for paying salaries. Again, if you try to keep these funds in your primary checking account, you will find yourself coming up short.

Some institutions may also require you to open a savings account in order to have a checking account.

Decide How You will Accept Payments

You need to plan how customers will be allowed to pay for the products or services you provide. Will you accept cash only or will you accept debit and credit cards? Will you allow customers to pay on credit (buy now, pay you later)? Will you accept personal checks? These are the questions you must answer now, not on opening day.

You are free to accept cash only, but you will lose a significant amount of business from card-carrying customers. Also, even when you accept cash, every penny of sales must be reported as revenue for your business. Resist the temptation to stash away a few dollars without reporting it. The IRS has vast data-collection powers and sooner or later they are likely to prosecute you for tax evasion, as many have found out. Even Bitcoin is on their radar and you could go to prison for failure to report your business earnings.

To accept debit and credit cards, you need a payment processor to handle the transactions. Your bank will likely offer such a service, but the fees can be high, especially if your business does not have established credit. Service providers such as Square and Stripe have made accepting cards easy. You can click here for a comparison. After 4-6 months of accepting cards through these services, you and your bank can better determine how many transactions you can expect and the bank might offer you a better deal to process your payments.

If you accept personal checks, you need to be prepared for a certain percentage of them to be bad. In some cases, you will need to take the customer to court if you want to get paid. Since fewer people use checks, you might not lose much business if you don’t accept them at all.

Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are accepted by more and more businesses (even Microsoft). Google the subject to learn how to set up to accept digital currencies if you want to accept them. You can also do so later, once you have more time to consider the pros and cons.

As for letting customers pay you on credit, where you sell them items now and they make payments later, it is not a good idea. As a new business, you need all the cashflow you can get and you can’t afford to have money owed to you until your bank accounts are flush with operating capital.

18. Hire Employees or Subcontractors

You may need to hire employees, independent contractors, or both. The decision whether a person is an employee or a contractor is not yours alone. IRS rules define the relationship between you and employees versus contractors. There are tax implications for each, so be sure you read and understand the IRS Page on this subject before making a decision.

If you decide you need employees, you have two options. You can hire them as direct employees of your company or you can hire them through a staffing agency. The advantage of using “temps” or “temps to hire” is that you can simply call the agency and ask for a replacement if the person isn’t working out. The downside is that you pay an hourly fee to the agency, in addition to the worker’s salary, and the fee is usually significant.

Whichever you choose, you need your workers or contractors ready to work as soon as you open for business. That usually requires some paid training (yes, paid) for employees in the days or weeks proceeding opening day.

19. Open Your Business

The day you open your business may well be one of the most exciting days of your life. If you have followed the steps presented above, you should be well-prepared for your grand opening.

20. Commit to Excellence

There remains one step you must take. You must commit, now, to exercise the same attention to detail in operating your business as you will in opening it. Finish your business kick-off with a resolution to do all the things necessary to keep it running smoothly. The demands of running a company will tempt you to compromise how you run it, unless you resolve to not let that happen.

Here is a list of some things you might need to do regularly to operate your company efficiently, profitably, and legally:

  • Maintain good communications with your accountant and tax professional. The more they know about your ongoing operation, the better job they can do helping you make more money and to keep more of the money you make.
  • Rely on your management consultant to help you learn to manage your employees and to help you to be compliant with required policies.
  • Be diligent to keep records and receipts as directed by your advisors. Create a system to help yourself stay organized.
  • To avoid costly penalties and interest, pay your estimated taxes, sales and use taxes, and other quarterly taxes when they are due and not a day later.
  • Pay your vendors as promised and don’t borrow money to do it.
  • Never, ever, intentionally violate any labor law, tax regulation, or other rule that could put you in financial and legal jeopardy.

This last step is, perhaps, the most important of them all. For it is the only step that makes you accountable to yourself.

Now, go start that business.

Good luck and don’t hesitate to contact Tom Jones, an Enrolled Agent with the IRS who can handle all of the accounting, bookkeeping, and tax needs of your new business. Call today to arrange a free consultation

The information presented in this article might not apply to your particular business and might not benefit your particular situation. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal, financial, or tax advice. Consult with an attorney, an accountant, a tax professional, and government agencies for information on how to properly set up and operate your business.