The logistics of getting started
When you get ready to start a new business there are many tactical details necessary to get the business set up and formed. Many of these are easy things to do, but require time, effort, and information. I hope that the following list will help you find the resources you need and ensure that you complete the process easily so you can focus on the business of your business.
Decide what type of business entity will best meet your needs. For information on what these different business types are, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Types_of_business_entity#United_States to learn about each type of entity. This link also includes naming requirements by state.
You will need some professional assistance to support the start up and operations of your business. Locating both a CPA/tax preparer and legal advice should be done early in the process. Get referrals in your local area from friends and business associates. You can also get listings from state associations. http://www.taxsites.com/cpa-societies.html lists state CPA societies so you can identify professionals in your area. For legal resources, this link will help you find local bar associations http://www.abanet.org/barserv/stlobar.html. Getting good advice on the start up of your business will help prevent problems from coming up later.
Unless you are a sole proprietor of a single member LLC with no employees, you will need to have a Federal Tax Identification Number (FEIN), the business equivalent of a social security number. To apply for a FEIN, go to http://www.gov-tax.com/?rdir=1268257787&sc=0.
After you select a business entity and get a FEIN, you will need to register your business with the Secretary of State in the State in which you reside. Use this link to locate the Secretary of State that you need to register with. http://www.secstates.com/?gclid=CLr_wbiWr6ACFRsVawodSQxVZQ
Each city and county may also have requirements for licensing your business. Many websites have the forms and requirements online. It is important to check with your local jurisdictions to be sure that you are correctly registered.
Sales and use taxes may also apply to your business. This can also be determined by your local jurisdiction resources and state department of revenue resources. By using the link http://www.irs.gov/taxpros/article/0,,id=100236,00.html you can find your state department of revenue. You will also need to locate your county and city sites.
It is best to set up a separate bank account from the very beginning of your business to maintain clear lines between your personal finances and your business finances. Visit your personal bank to learn about what they can offer you. If you have a strong relationship at your current bank that is a good place to start, but it is a good idea to see what other banks can offer as well. As your business grows, you will need additional services to support it so be sure that your bank will meet your needs not only today, but in 2-3 years. As your business becomes more established, changing banks will become more complex.
Recordkeeping for your new business is critical. It is best to start detailed recordkeeping from the beginning. You can work with a bookkeeper, or purchase your own software and do it yourself with a little bit of support to get set up. There are business that focus on setting up your bookkeeping and “coaching” you to do it yourself, or working with one of your employees to do it yourself.
Physical location may also be important for your business. Do you need to have a street view or is less expensive rent more important. Be sure to select a location that matches the type of business you will be opening. Check with your city and county to be sure that you are in compliance with all zoning regulations for your area.
Furniture and equipment may seem easy, but it needs to be appropriate to your business, your space, and the needs of your business for the first 6-12 months of operation. Be sure to keep your receipts so you can record these purchases as business assets.
If you plan to have employees, or to pay yourself as an employee, it is helpful to locate a payroll service. These services are familiar with payroll tax requirements at the federal and state level and will submit payments directly to the required jurisdictions. They will also handle year end reporting to federal and state agencies. There are local, regional, and national services available. To locate a service, you can use this linkhttp://www.justclicklocal.com/citydir/Denver-CO–Payroll-Service.html, or talk to friends and business associates to get referrals.