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Nancy's Notes

How do I start a business?

Posted on April 26, 2019 at 10:35 AM

Starting a small business can be overwhelming.  I'm here to help you through the process. 

So how do I help you start your business?  One step at a time.  I am a Certified Business Advisor (CBA), and I ran the Newberry College Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for nine years. In that capacity, I helped hundreds of small business owners one on one, and thousands during workshops (workshop topics included Social Media For Beginners, How to Make a Free Website, Step 2 After a Website, Understanding SEO, How to make a Free Google Business Listing, Email Marketing, and more). Starting a business is overwhelming! I can help you build your Business Plan (SBDC template below), although people rarely do that unless they need one for a loan. I think it is smart for all business owners to spend time on a business plan, even if it is just a one page outline. Going over a projected cash flow for the year is also super important, and I recommend EVERYONE do that; banks require a 3 year projection. You have to know if you are going to have an income after all of your sales and expenses, and sometimes you can't see that clearly until you put it all down on paper. I can help understand the difference between being a sole proprietor vs. a Limited Liability Company (LLC) and then show you how to register an LLC online without paying attorney fees (although I'm not an attorney, so I can't give legal advice); LLCs cost $110 and there is a $15 electronic fee, so budget about $135 for your LLC. Then I help you understand and set up payment options, so you can get paid. My favorite is Paypal, as it is a secure transaction that allows you to take mobile payments on the go with your phone and on your website, and you can send invoices, and create an invoice template to help you save time. It is great for small businesses and non-profits that don't need the complexity of Quick Books (and nonprofits can apply for a reduced merchant fee rate).  Once we meet I will give you a checklist to help you get started.  You can work on it independently or with me.  

Will I need an attorney?   Depends... If you are in business for yourself and it is just you then odds are you can do it yourself and register your business online as a single member LLC.  If you have a partner or want to register as a corporation or nonprofit, then you will need an attorney.  I'm not an attorney, but as a CBA I can help you get started and get ready to see your attorney so you spend less time and money at your attorney's office, saving you a lot of money in the long run.  I know several local corporate attorneys  that can help you. 

Will I need an accountant?  Depends... if you are the only employee and you offer services then you won't need an accountant to get started.  If you have inventory or employees, then I recommend you find a local accountant that you feel comfortable with.  I work with several local accountants and can make recommendations based on your business needs. 

Should I use Quick Books?  Depends... I can also help you set up your Quick Books if that is the route you'd like to go. Erin Long Accounting and Consulting taught Quick Books classes at my SBDC every spring, so I'm well versed in set up (but you'd really need to see an accountant if you have issues).  There are other options available, and really the accounting method/software depends on the complexity of your business and how you are planning on invoicing and doing your books. 

Starting your business is complicated.  Finding someone to help you isn't! :-) 

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