How to Start a New Business


calculator-178127_1920You’ve come up with a great new idea, you see the marketing strategy before you; you see how to make it profitable, how to grow the business, and which strategic partners you will tap. You can see the entire structure of the business from CEO to assembly line workers. You have a business plan in place to account for the logistics of transportation and the commission structure in place for a sales staff. You’ve even secured funding from friends and family, and you’ve got a bank willing to lend you the rest. You are, in a word, ready.

But now you have to actually start, and for many, this can be the first major hurdle. You can go to companies like Legal Zoom or you can contact an attorney, but there are still important decisions to make, and many business owners don’t want to start their process by relying on someone else to do the leg work.

So if you’re going to start a business, but have never done it before, the first thing you need to ask yourself is what type of business do you want to form? Will it be a corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship? If you will have no employees and want to act a sole proprietorship, your state may simply require you file an assumed name certificate to start doing business. If you want to be a C-Corporation with full corporate protections and the ability to …

Is a Franchise a Good Investment?


The most successful small business owners usually have an ownership in multiple businesses or own a business with multiple income streams. This allows them to diversify their risks while taking advantage of potential profits in multiple sectors. Some own complementary businesses, such as a business which acquires properties to flip and a construction company. Others own businesses in different fields, simply looking for opportunities which will benefit from their expertise. But a very common additional business owned by small business owners is a franchise. These allow you to expand your portfolio with a seemingly proven business model and a business which will require limited time once it gets running, allowing you to focus on your primary business. Unfortunately, franchises often seem too good to be true because they are.


Proven Record – Franchises often have the formula to follow to success. If you are buying a franchise for a large, national chain such as Subway, McDonald’s, or Dunkin Donuts, you will have a blueprint.

Support – Many parent companies offer all of the advertising and promotional materials required to get started. They have people dedicated to ensuring the franchise gets off the ground and runs successfully.

Back Office Support – Most Franchise parent companies will help with things like HR, negotiating contracts on locations and equipment, providing inventory, and many other back office tasks which can take up a lot of time and effort on the part of a small business owner.…

5 Reasons Why Every Small Business Owner Should have a CPA


accounting-cpaWhether a brand new start-up or a business of thirty years, every small business can benefit from a CPA managing and filing the taxes and advising on business holding, ownerships, and acquisitions. This is not industry-specific, or experience specific; even some of the most successful CPA’s in turn hire other CPA’s to help them. And here are 5 reasons why.

  1. Expertise – The most obvious reason, and also the most important, CPA’s have expertise in taxes and business planning. A good CPA will not only file your taxes, they will help you decide how and when to purchase new equipment, if lending makes sense for your business, if it’s time to change your model, or if there is another avenue to pursue. CPA’s do much more than simply file your taxes, they can be a true partner in your business, helping you to grow and succeed. And on the tax front, knowing what is and is not an actual deduction can be important to avoid an audit. Should you ever go through an audit, you’ll be happy to have a CPA standing there with you, discussing tax code with the IRS on your behalf.
  1. Second Set of Eyes – Even most CPA’s have someone look over their returns. Why? It’s important to have someone else’s perspective. When you are too close to something, you don’t always see it for what it is. It can be easy to miss a deduction, or to claim

Get This, Labor Department Awards $10.5M in Grants!


Dept of Labor GrantThe United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has awarded $10.5 million in one-year federal safety and health training grants. These grants have been awarded to eighty nonprofit organizations for education and training programs to assist high-risk workers and their employers. The intent is to help spread knowledge regarding workplace hazards and to help implement injury prevention measures.

The grants are part of the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, which funds grants for nonprofits including: community/faith-based groups, employer associations, labor unions, joint labor/management associations, colleges, and universities.

“Susan Harwood training grants save lives,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “The hands-on training supported by these grants helps assure that workers and employers have the tools and skills they need to identify hazards and prevent injuries.”

“The Susan Harwood Training Grant Program is an essential component of OSHA’s worker protection efforts. This program provides thousands of workers and small employers with hands-on training and education in some of the most dangerous industries,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels.

These training grants will focus on specific high-risk industries. If you fear you are in an industry that is being targeted and one of these grants will support an organization in your area, it is important you understand how you can get involved. If you are audited and you are found to have insufficient occupational safety and health policies and procedures, there will be …

The Importance of Personal Protective Equipment


safety-310664_1280Personal protective equipment is monitored by the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA regulates personal protective equipment with Standard 1910.132. This standard sets minimum requirements for personal protective equipment, including storage, maintenance, replacement, and who is responsible for supplying personal protective equipment. Additionally, certain OSHA standards have further clarifications for personal protective equipment for specific situations.

The reason there is such an emphasis on personal protective equipment is that it is literally the last line of defense for employees in some of the most hazardous areas of occupational safety and health. If machine guarding, for instance, fails, a pair of gloves might be the only thing protecting an employee’s hands from serious amputation risks. In a hazardous environment with toxic chemicals, proper breathing masks or protective suits could be the only thing protecting employee lives.

So when reviewing Standard 1910.132 or other standards which have specific personal protective equipment, it is important to understand the reason for the personal protective equipment. This will help when trying to create policies and procedures and implementing safe practices.

As you review and create your personal protective equipment policies and procedures, please keep in mind both Standard 1910.132 and the additional, standard specific clarifications. And if you run into an issue where you are unsure of how to properly enforce personal protective equipment policies and procedures, it is important to bring a qualified third party occupational safety and health auditing firm to …

Strategic Thinking: The Key to Success in Business


stratagyIn today’s world, the “tried and true” methods are not always the way to succeed, as they might have been in decades past. New technologies, media platforms, and marketing channels have forced entrepreneurs to throw many of the traditional models out of the window. Add in the truly global nature of the “new” economy, and following the footsteps of businesses past can be a recipe for failure.

To help account for all of these changes, many companies have begun incorporating “strategic thinking” and “strategic planning” into their planning process and growth strategies. These buzzwords sound modern and trendy, but without a grasp on what they mean or how they can help a business, they are simply more meaningless buzzwords. When understood and properly implemented, however, these strategies can help a business focus on sectors of their plan which are yielding profits and either cut or revamp places which have not yielded results.

At its core, strategic planning is simply the process of defining a strategy, then making decisions on how to allocate resources to pursue that strategy, and finally setting steps and goals to reach the desired result of the strategy. It is an important piece of the planning process, to be sure, but it is often focused on the dollars and cents and existing methods of success.

Strategic thinking can be seen as a more evolved version of strategic planning. You look at a goal or an issue, research existing solutions and …