Today’s The Solopreneur’s Guide Vendor Series focuses on one aspect of starting a solo entrepreneurial business that is easily and often overlooked – determining the proper legal structure for your business along with filing the necessary business forms with the city, county and state government offices.
Before I go further, let me say that I am neither a lawyer nor a CPA. And if you aren’t either, then you should seek professional help to protect your business – and ultimately you.
Chances are that as a solopreneur, you will operate your business as a sole proprietor as I do. This is the quickest and least expensive method for opening your doors. However, did you know that you have the option of operating as a Single Member Limited Liability Company? Do you know what are the pros and cons of this structure as compared to a sole proprietorship?
And once you decide on the appropriate legal structure, you still have additional paperwork to submit to the local, county and state government offices. The necessary paperwork will vary based upon the type of business and the location.
For example, in my case, I operate under the name The Solopreneur’s Guide providing consulting and copywriting services and in the near future selling information products online. Based upon this type of business and the fact that I am located in the city of Prescott, county of Yavapai and state of Arizona, I am required to submit an Application for Registration of Trade Name (as a DBA) to the state, submit a local newspaper article introducing my fictitious business (DBA), send a copy of compliance to the state, and submit a Home Occupation Form to the city to verify that it is acceptable to operate my business out of my home.
Do you know what is required for your business?
I could have contacted the city, county and state offices (and in some cases federal agencies), been passed around from extension to extension until I found the right people that could answer my questions and hopefully cover my bases. Instead, I decided to go with BizFilings.com.
With BizFilings.com all I had to do was take about 10 minutes to fill out information about my business online. For $99, I turned the work over to them to research what forms were necessary. Within 2-3 days, they sent me the applicable forms in an interactive PDF document via email. For me, the piece of mind and the time savings were well worth the money.
BizFilings.com offers additional products and services, including articles of incorporation (if you decided to operate as an LLC), a Business Type Comparison Table to compare the pros and cons of these legal structures, a Business Startup Checklist, and Business Plan Software.
Why risk fines and a possible interruption of your business? Take the time to establish the appropriate business structure and file the necessary paperwork.
All The Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide