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Business Guides
 

Small Business

What can I do to prepare my small business for the generation to come?

The process of passing a family business onto the second generation is so difficult that not even a third of them survive...

How do I create a successful strategy for passing on my family business?

The family must do the following to attempt to have a worthwhile transition...

Do I have what it takes to own and manage my own business?

First, think about why you want to start your own business and make a list...

What should the business strategy contain?

A business strategy, when applied to your company, should include an introduction, details about marketing, financial management, operations of the company, and a closing statement...

How do I know if a business based at home is good for me?

You have to base your decision to start your own business on something other than the desire to be your own boss, such as...

Are there certain legal standards that will affect my home based business?

A home based business is affected by many of the same laws that apply to normal companies...

How can I prevent cash flow problems from hindering my small business?

One of the main reasons small businesses collapse is they have a poor cash flow strategy...

What can I do to develop a better business cash flow?

There are several options for increasing cash reserves...

Is a cash reserve necessary in my small business?

It is important to have sufficient cash on hand to pay for expenses and emergencies...

Choosing a Professional

Should I hire an attorney?

It is necessary to hire an attorney for some disputes that require a lot of time...

What process do I follow to handle the dispute by myself?

The use of letters and negotiation solves many disputes without the need of an attorney...

What method should I use to find a good attorney?

Speak with friends, relatives, clergymen, social workers or your doctor for their opinions...

What should I ask my possible lawyers?

Before beginning a consultation, the following questions should be asked...

Is a certain fee agreement better for me?

The basic rate for legal services depends on location...

What can I do to save money on legal fees?

Bear in mind that attorney fees are usually negotiable even though you will not be asked to bargain over the fees...

Employee Benefits

Do I need to know anything specific about employee benefits as a small employer?

The employer must pay for certain legal benefits and insurance coverage such as...

Are there different types of medical plans for employees?

There are two options: a fee-for-service plan, or a pre-paid plan...

What is a preferred provider organization (PPO)?

A network of doctors and/or hospitals that has contracts with a particular health insurer or...

What is a health maintenance organization (HMO)?

Health care that is provided through a network of hostpitals and...

What are the typical disability benefits provided to employees?

If an employee cannot work due to illness or accident, the disability plan gives him/her income replacement...

Employees have what kinds of life insurance plans available to them?

The beneficiaries of an employee may collect death benefits from life insurance if...

What do I need to know about self-insurance?

Self-insurance means the business will pre-determine and pay a portion or all of...

Do I need a "cafeteria plan"?

With a "cafeteria plan", money which would normally be used as taxable salary is used...

Record Keeping

For my business, what types of records are important to keep?

A crucial aspect of your business success depends on thorough and accurate financial record keeping...

What should I know about automating a portion or all of my business?

First, you need to have a clear understanding of your company's short and long-term goals...

How can I guarantee that the computer system I'm using is right for me?

Selecting the right programs, choosing the right equipment and implementing the diverse applications are factors to consider...

What can I do to successfully implement the new computer system?

You will come across problems when implementing computer applications, but correct planning can make the process smoother...

Travel and Entertainment

May I deduct meal expenses when visiting clients out of the office?

That is not common. Normally, you can only deduct the cost of a meal when...

Do I need to report employer reimbursements for travel, entertainment and meals?

If you give back any excess reimbursement, provide your employer with a detailed expense report and...

Are there limits on deductible entertainment, travel and meal costs?

Although there is no specifc dollar limit, expenses should be ordinary and necessary...

May I deduct living expenses while away from home on temporary assignment?

Because temporary work site living expenses are separate from home travel expenses...

Which expenses are deductible when I am traveling away from home?

There is a broad range of expenses that you can deduct while traveling...

Are there travel expenses that cannot be deducted?

The travel expenses below cannot be deducted...

Business entertainment - what can I deduct?

The conditions and limitations for business and entertainment deductions are the following...

How do I document my entertainment and travel expenses?

If your employer is reimbursing you for your expenses, you only need to prove them to...

Marketing and Pricing

How can I be certain that my small business product or service will be marketable?

To determine where and how you can successfully sell your product or service (and at what price)...

What questions are appropriate to ask in market research?

You will want to learn about the consumers' location, needs and resources, and what they can afford...

When setting prices for my products or services, what should I consider?

There are different individual costs for each component of your service or product...

Business Forms of Organization

Will some types of business organization or entity limit my liability to business creditors?

Yes. Limited liability companies (LLCs), limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and corporations are the most common forms...

How can I avoid the "corporate double tax" and what exactly is it?

A "corporate double tax" happens when a business corporation (or an entity that is treated as a business corporation for tax purposes) pays a federal tax on its income, and then its owners pay another tax as they collect corporate profits...

For tax purposes, what type of business entity is best?

Each business is different, although to save on overall taxes a "passthrough" entity is generally best...

What entities are considered to be "passthrough"?

The leading "passthrough" forms are limited partnerships, LLCs, LLPs, S corps, sole proprietorships and general partnerships...

To avoid double tax and limit my liability, which entity should I choose?

Assuming you don't select to have them function as corporations, the following types will avoid double tax and limit liability...

Why are limited liability companies (LLCs) so great?

Limited liability and passthrough tax treatment are both combined in LLCs...

If my business is a professional practice, what are the special conditions?

A major concern is the limitation of liability, especially malpractice liability...

If I change my form of business organization, what are the federal tax consequences?

A change of entity is an event that may need to be carefully planned and implemented to avoid a taxable event...

Is it necessary for state business entity rules to follow federal tax rules?

Bear in mind the differences between state tax law and state business law...

Incorporating

What is the definition of a corporation?

A legal entity that exists independently of its owners is a corporation...

There is a difference between an "S" corporation and a "C" corporation, what is it?

Every corporation begins as a "C" corporation and must pay income tax on the taxable income made by the corporation...

Is an attorney necessary to incorporate?

Obtaining a lawyer is not a necessity to incorporate (except in South Carolina, where an attorney's signature is required)...

Is there a process for naming my corporation?

Take time to think about a name for your corporation...

Are there benefits to incorporating?

Limiting your liability to the assets of the corporation is the primary advantage of incorporating...

What exactly is a Registered Agent?

In the majority of states, a corporation is required to name a "registered agent"...

Do I need a specific number of Directors or Shareholders?

Most states permit one person to function as director, shareholder, and all officer roles...

Are there a number of shares of stock I should choose and at what par value?

You may select any quantity that you wish...

What does EIN stand for and what is a Federal Tax Identification Number?

A Federal Tax Identification Number, which is also known as a Employer Identification Number (EIN) is required...

After I incorporate, what do I do next?

If your director(s) have yet to be designated in the articles, you will need to hold your first shareholder meeting to select your director(s)...

Limited Liability Companies

Who should establish an LLC?

If you are worried about personal exposure to lawsuits that arise from your company, you should think about forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company)...

Is an LLC or an S corporation better?

Even though the special tax status of the S corporation does away with double taxation, it doesn't have the elasticity of an LLC in distributing income to the owners...

What does an LLC Operating Agreement signify?

It allows you to structure your financial and working relations with your co-owners in a way that best fits your company...

Is it necessary to have an Operating Agreement?

It is possible to have a written operating agreement in most states, but you are not advised to begin a business without one...

Is it necessary to have LLC meetings?

Failure to have shareholder or director meetings can cause the corporation to be subject to alter ego liability...

Are there exceptions to Limited Liability?

Even though LLC owners enjoy the benefits of limited personal liability for many transactions of their business...

     
     
     

 

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