It’s the start of a new year and you are finally going to take the big step of starting your own business. Congratulations! According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), you will join over 240,000 small business owners in Arkansas and have a part in employing over half the state’s private workforce. In order to start your new business off on the right foot, you’ll need a team of professionals to assist you.
Most successful startups begin with a strong professional business team in place. The team is comprised of:
- An attorney comfortable with setting up new businesses
- A CPA who is competent and familiar with your field
- A banker willing to get to know you and your business and who is committed to helping you grow
- An experienced insurance agent
All of these professionals play a very important role in guiding you through the ins and outs of starting in a new business endeavor.
Where do you find this team?
Ask trusted friends, family and mentors for recommendations. Sometimes they can offer you sage advice on who NOT to work with. Look in trade publications for advertisements or editorials written by the experts in your field. Geographic proximity is not always the best indicator of a good team member. Look for those who specialize in your industry. Get a feel for how they like to communicate and work. If it doesn’t fit with your personality or business style, keep looking. Seek out people who are willing to explain things to you at the level you need to make sure you understand every detail. Often the language used in explaining a complicated transaction turns off new business owners; be prepared to ask questions and say when you don’t understand.
What will this team do?
Attorneys are key players in the formation and registration of your new business entity with local, state and federal agencies. From formation of the entity and making sure you don’t fall into any licensing traps, legal counsel is much more effective (and less costly) on the front end in preventing problems than having to solve them on the back end.
Your CPA can advise you of the tax ramifications of the different business entities and will help in determining what taxes your small business will be subject to and with what agencies the business will need to register to pay or file those taxes. CPAs can give you timetables, estimates and prepare the forms and statements that are required for you to know how your business is doing and to keep you out of hot water with the various taxing agencies.
A banker will assist the business in setting up checking accounts, lines of credit and/or startup loans.
This team member will recommend and price insurance to protect you and your business from the effect of unexpected and catastrophic events. They will talk with you to determine the level of coverage needed and make sure you have all of the necessary types of insurance for your particular industry.
With your team of professionals in place, you are now ready to implement your business plan and get started. Some additional resources for starting a business include information from the SBA in “10 Steps to Starting a Business.” If your business will be Arkansas based, the Department of Finance and Administration has an informative publication “Starting a New Business.” The IRS also has a publication called “IRS Checklist for Starting a Business." Remember the key to forming, building and maintaining a successful business is to surround yourself with a team of successful and knowledgeable professionals.