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Good luck with your new business. SCORE suggests you write a business plan,
explaining in some detail your plans to develop a successful business.
The first item is a business name. Once you have a business name you should
contact the I R S (on line or in person) and register to get a Federal I D Number.
With a Fed I D No. you can then open a checking account.
It is always a good idea to have an Accountant, A lawyer and an Insurance Agent
when you are in business.
In addition to the Federal Tax ID that you can get from the IRS (on or offline) most banks will require you to have articles of incorporation to open a bank account. you'll file your articles of incorporation at the local state office where you plan to incorporate your business. If you plan to have employees right away, you'll need to get an employee withholding ID from your state for payroll purposes and if you plan to open a retail location, you'll likely have to get a retailers license which will come with an accompanying ID so that you can collect sales tax if your state collects sales tax.
You can do all of this on your own without an attorney, it is not hard at all. I would consult an accountant however to help you figure out the type of business structure that would make the most sense for you from a tax standpoint.
Hi there, gmonkey! Here are the steps I recommend my "new business" clients follow when setting up their new ventures:
1) Develop a really comprehensive business plan including cash flow projections. 2) File your articles of incorporation (most states allow you to do that online for a nominal fee). 3) Call your city hall and county administration offices to find out exactly which business licenses you need. If you are working from home, you must know what restrictions, if any, your city imposes. 4) Ask the IRS for their new business tax packet. It will contain everything you need for make sure you pay your taxes on time. It will also give you guidelines on employee wages and deductions. 5) Get a good accounting package which will always save you money. You can either get a software such as QuickBooks or use a simple paper method like Dome Books. Either one will be of great benefit ONLY if you use them! 6) Develop a really good relationship with your banker. Go in and talk to them; don't just go in and open a checking account. Tell them about your new business...your banker wants you to succeed and put lots of money into its bank. Speaking of checking accounts: NEVER co-mingle funds. Keep your personal money in a personal account and your business money in a business account. 7) Keep a chronological log. I've used a cheap little spiral notebook for years. I write everything down on a daily basis, document phone calls, note phone numbers, record account numbers, take notes during conversations, etc. You can't remember everything and this log will save your neck many, many times!
This should get you going!!! Good luck!