Monday, July 30, 2007

So you want to start a business

First, think hard on this. Ask yourself if you can stand the strain of no regular pay. Ask yourself how you will handle the great likelihood of failure. If you are married, ask your wife the same questions.

Second, you need a business plan. More importantly, you need to do the math behind a business plan. You can find books and materials online about and on business plans. Use them but remember that none of them are perfect. I would also suggest reading Sun Tzu's Art of War to learn something of strategy but that is a particularly peculiar idea of my own.

Third, go get a lawyer and an accountant. The accountant you need for staying abreast of all the tax laws - Indiana and federal. A few words about why you need a lawyer.

I am going to have some posts on setting up particular business types. You can do some of this yourself but this an area ripe for error. Consulting an attorney should get you, budding entrepreneur, to point you want to be: running your own business. Lawyer's ethical rules make us put the client's interests ahead of our own profit. That cannot be said of any company promising you a low cost incorporation. Remember this: you get what you pay for.

Legal issues do not end with starting the business. Government regulations lead to legal services being needed. These should be known before starting the business but some may not become known till after the start of the business. These intersections between government and business include the following: trademarks, copyrights, patents, zoning, property taxes, withholding tax for employees, sales tax, licensing, employment law issues, environmental/pollution/public health issues, immigration and so on. What the business owner should want is limiting the business' exposure to legal issues in a way that will lower the business' profits.