Monday, May 25, 2015

Small Business Planning Dos

Many people starting a small business are looking for some basic guidelines for getting started, protecting their investment, and avoiding pitfalls that may be unforeseen. Use this list of to help you plan your business and start out on the right track.
DO cover yourself with insurance. Make sure that you get incorporated if applicable, and speak with a lawyer about becoming an LLC (limited liability company) to find out if it is the best move for your business. Being categorized as an LLC will protect you from being personally liable in the event of a lawsuit. For example, someone could sue your company for the company assets, not you and your family for your personal assets. Many small businesses that have one owner decide to become an LLC as opposed to a corporation because of the flexibility and protection that they enjoy for such a small cost.

DO apply for an employer identification number (EIN) as early as possible. You will also need to meet with a tax planner to determine what records you will need to keep. Businesses and people who are self employed may be required to pay quarterly taxes. Most states will penalize companies and individuals who do not prepay their taxes.
DO have a web site ready to go when you open. You can direct customers to your web site for many things. This usually saves people time and hassle when it comes to figuring out who you are and what you offer. It can also help you to immediately start doing business all over the US, or even worldwide. A web site can be a valuable asset, not only helping you to do business, but advertising for you all the time. As your site becomes older, more unique, and more popular over time, it will rank higher in search engine searches and essentially provide you with free advertisements for years.
DO have your logo, business name, and other defining characteristics evaluated by a trademark attorney. They can do some research and make sure that you are not wasting time on a logo, business name, or domain that is already in use. Once someone has applied for a trademark, the name or logo is off-limits to everyone else. Register your company name and logo so that you are sure it is uniquely yours and that no one can take it.
DO find ways to save money as you go along. When you buy inventory and supplies, make sure that you are going directly through the manufacturer if possible. You can usually find manufacturers that will sell wholesale. These companies act as their own suppliers. Keep track of your own finances, learn how to manage your own web site, and do your own promotions. With a little research you can cut out hiring professionals and do the job yourself. You can even avoid hiring a personal assistant by using mobile concierge services. These services offer you information that you can access 24/7 from your phone, from anywhere in the world. Jobs that a personal assistant would normally perform can be done through the service. You can get phone directory assistance, flight information, hotel reservations, and even driving directions with one quick call. Finding services like this will save you money month after month.
Joe Smith is a Marketing Associate of OnCall, a leading online source of mobile concierge services that goes above and beyond traditional directory assistance. Get international personalized assistance with phone directory information, turn by turn directions, movie times, stock quotes, sports scores, and more at
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