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  • NASE Self Informed Issue Archive
    Employment Tax Calculator Helpful Links ASBDC Member Directory Search My NASE About Me Account Benefits Optional Benefits Payment Details Expert Questions Email Subscriptions Membership Directory SelfInformed Archives January 2016 Read This Issue View PDF December 2015 Read This Issue View PDF November 2015 Read This Issue View PDF October 2015 Read This Issue View PDF September 2015 Read This Issue View PDF August 2015 Read This Issue View PDF July 2015 Read This Issue View PDF June 2015 Read This Issue View PDF May 2015 Read This Issue View PDF April 2015 Read This Issue View PDF March 2015 Read This Issue View PDF February 2015 Read This Issue View PDF January 2015 Read This Issue View PDF December 2014 Read This Issue View PDF November 2014 Read This Issue View PDF October 2014 Read This Issue View PDF September 2014 Read This Issue View PDF August 2014 Read This Issue View PDF July 2014 Read This Issue View PDF June 2014 Read This Issue View PDF May 2014 Read This Issue View PDF April 2014 Read This Issue View PDF March 2014 Read This Issue View PDF February 2014 Read This Issue View PDF January 2014 Read This Issue View PDF December 2013 Read This Issue View PDF November 2013 Read This Issue View PDF October 2013 Read This Issue View PDF September 2013 Read This Issue View PDF August 2013 Read This Issue View PDF July 2013 Read This Issue View PDF June 2013 Read This Issue View PDF May 2013 Read This Issue View PDF April 2013 Read This Issue View PDF March 2013 Read This Issue View PDF February 2013 Read This Issue View PDF January 2013 Read This Issue View PDF December 2012 Read This Issue View PDF November 2012 Read This Issue View PDF

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/selfinformed/selfinformed-archives (2016-02-14)
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  • Think Of Yourself As A Business Owner
    paying and financial reporting Client billing and payment collections Marketing your business Upgrading technology like computers and smartphones and Wi Fi Keeping up with federal state and local regulations Completing and filing tax forms as well as making timely tax payments Hiring and firing and following the legal guidelines that come with those tasks Performing customer service Taking care of administrative tasks like buying office supplies and answering the phone Planning for your eventual retirement Add to all of that your actual work as a graphic designer or landscaper or consultant The demands on your time and knowledge can seem overwhelming As a new business owner you don t have to master every task You can hire help But you have to know enough to ensure that every critical area of your business gets the attention it deserves Develop your business plan Being a successful entrepreneur requires not only being well versed in the particulars of running a business but also seeing the big picture And that means having a business plan As a startup your business plan needs to address Specific descriptions of the products and services you want to offer Your target customers and their needs How you will market your business to reach those customers and the cost of that marketing Your financial projections including how you will finance the startup cash flow projections and a break even analysis How you plan to allocate your time and other resources to get the results you want If you ve never seen a business plan check out more than 500 free ones at bplans com You can choose from different categories Find one closest to your type of business and read it over to see what kinds of information the plan addresses But don t get analysis paralysis Your plan doesn t have to be formal or cumbersome to be effective I m not a big advocate of detailed business plans that go on and on for 50 pages Fairbrother says But I do think you need a good overview that goes out 12 to 18 months Be aware of your surroundings Even if you re a solo entrepreneur you need to know what s going on around you That means keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing It also means understanding what s happening in your city and staying in touch with national policies that could have an impact on your business Pay attention to what is going on in your community in your state and in our nation s capital says Kristie L Arslan executive director of NASE s Washington D C office Decisions and laws that can affect your ability to start manage and grow a successful business are made at all levels of government If you keep abreast of the economic regulatory and political climate around you you can weigh in on debates regarding key issues that could affect your business The NASE can help Visit the NASE Legislative Action Center for up

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/InDepthGuides/StartupKit/2011/05/12/Think_Of_Yourself_As_A_Business_Owner (2016-02-14)
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  • Choose The Right Business Structure
    Creating a sole proprietorship requires minimal paperwork The owner of a sole proprietorship reports business income and expenses on Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business which is filed with your personal tax return But there is a rather big drawback personal liability The owner of a sole proprietorship is personally liable for all business debts and obligations including litigation Partnership A partnership is a legal entity with more than one owner It offers many of the same benefits and drawbacks as a sole proprietorship Owners can be either General partners with each liable for all debts and actions of the company Limited partners where liability is limited to the extent of the individual s investment in the company Written agreements are a must have for partnerships A partnership agreement will spell out how control is divided among the individual owners A buy sell agreement is necessary for business continuity of the partnership in case one of the partners dies becomes disabled or wants to leave Profits and losses from the business pass through to the partners who report that information on their personal tax returns Corporation Business owners who choose to incorporate cite two main reasons Personal liability for losses is limited Certain tax advantages But there is no guarantee that either of those benefits will apply to you Whether you can take advantage of the benefits offered through incorporation depends on your type of business and your particular facts and circumstances Again consult a tax professional and an attorney If you decide that incorporation is right for your business you must also decide which type of corporation will work best for you C corporation May have an unlimited number of shareholders and may issue various classes of stock e g common preferred S corporation Is limited to 100 shareholders and may issue only one class of stock Shareholders of S corporations report the pass through of income and losses on their personal tax returns This avoids the potential double taxation of C corporations where income is taxed once at the corporate level and again at the individual level when it is passed through to shareholders in the form of dividend income There are other important differences too A tax professional and attorney can help you decide which structure will work best for you When forming a corporation you must follow strict legal formalities such as Preparing and filing articles of incorporation with your state s secretary of state Payment of filing fees to the state Drafting formal bylaws governing the operations of the corporation All shareholders of the corporation even if that s just you must also follow corporate rules and observe corporate formalities such as holding annual meetings of shareholders Limited Liability Company An LLC is a hybrid structure that falls between a sole proprietorship or partnership and a corporation LLCs can have one owner or an unlimited number of owners The owners are called members The LLC structure protects members from personal liability for the company

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/InDepthGuides/StartupKit/2011/05/12/Choose_The_Right_Business_Structure (2016-02-14)
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  • Know The Legalities Of Operating Your Business
    your business But in the meantime here are few startup legal matters that attorney Ferguson says you can probably handle on your own Choose a business name In the business world DBA stands for doing business as It s known in some states as an assumed name certificate A DBA is the official legal recognition of your business You don t necessarily need a DBA to do business under your own name such as Sue Smith But if you want a more descriptive name such as Sue Smith Financial Services then you need a DBA For sole proprietors getting a DBA is the easiest and least expensive way to legally operate under a business name But DBAs are also handy if you operate a legal business entity such as an LLC DBAs permit a single business entity to operate multiple businesses without creating a separate legal entity for each business A DBA can also prevent other businesses from using your name In many instances a DBA is required before you can obtain a state or local business license If you decide that an assumed name is right for your small business here s the process you should follow to register a DBA Choose a name for your business Confirm the name is available In some states DBA registration is handled through the secretary of state In other states you register your assumed name with the county clerk s office Whichever agency conducts the registration can tell you about the procedures that are required File your DBA This usually requires submitting a simple form and paying a nominal fee Filing your DBA gives you legal claim to the business name With a DBA you can use your assumed business name to open a business bank account apply for business credit cards get a telephone listing and handle other legal matters Get a federal employer identification number from the IRS Most small businesses benefit from having a federal employer identification number or EIN Sole proprietors are not required to get an EIN unless they have employees Instead they use their Social Security number as their tax identification number Most other business entities are required to have an EIN Getting one is easy and shouldn t require the help of an attorney You can apply online for an EIN at the IRS website You simply answer a few questions and after validations are completed the IRS will immediately issue you an EIN You can download save and print your EIN confirmation notice This EIN is your permanent number and can be used immediately for most of your business needs including opening a bank account and applying for business licenses Apply for state and local business licenses Local business licenses are usually handled by your city or county But depending upon your business type and location you may be required to get a license through your state Ferguson recommends that you learn about state licenses by visiting the website for your secretary of state

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/InDepthGuides/StartupKit/2011/05/12/Know_The_Legalities_Of_Operating_Your_Business (2016-02-14)
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  • Know Your Tax Responsibilities
    have your own business you get to pay the whole share of FICA Estimated taxes If you worked for a boss your employer would withhold part of your wages and send it to Uncle Sam to pay your federal income taxes much like the withholding of FICA taxes But as a self employed business owner you re the boss which means you re responsible for paying those income taxes The government expects those taxes from you every quarter They re called estimated taxes And if you don t pay them on time or if you underpay you ll also owe the government penalties and interest Estimated taxes can be confusing especially for business owners who are new to self employment says Hall But figuring them correctly and paying them on time is critically important Sole proprietors partners LLC members and even S corporation owners who receive pass through profits may be required to pay estimated taxes depending upon their total tax liability for the year Generally if you expect to owe 1 000 or more in taxes for the year you must make quarterly estimated tax payments Whether or not you need to make estimated tax payments is determined by your family s total tax position not just the business explains Hall For example if your spouse works and has enough withholding from that job to cover your tax liability then you would not have to make estimated tax payments Your estimated taxes should reflect your family s total expected tax liability That tax liability will depend on many items including Amount of family income Itemized deductions Withholding from an employer Number of dependents Amount of business profit or loss For more information about calculating estimated taxes download IRS Publication 505 Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax from the IRS website and visit the NASE Tax Resource Center Tax planning There are a host of other taxes your business may be responsible for paying such as Sales tax if you sell taxable goods Business property taxes depending on the tax regulations in your state Federal and state unemployment taxes if you hire employees The sheer number of different taxes can be overwhelming to new business owners The biggest mistake new business owners make with regard to taxes is lack of planning says Hall If you do the planning you won t be surprised by your tax responsibilities By planning you ll be more likely to pay your taxes on time so you can avoid paying penalties and interest Tax planning also makes you aware of credits and deductions that can change each year says Hall If you don t plan you can t take advantage of many tax credits deductions and other opportunities that will save you money Hall recommends that new business owners get these IRS publications for starters Publication 334 Tax Guide for Small Business Publication 463 Travel Entertainment Gift and Car Expenses Publication 505 Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax Publication 587 Business Use of Your Home The NASE

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/InDepthGuides/StartupKit/2011/05/12/Know_Your_Tax_Responsibilities (2016-02-14)
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  • Properly Fund Your Business
    along with less It s a way of funding your business with the cash that your company brings in That means only spending as your cash flow allows And cash can be tight when you re just getting started So rather than bootstrapping Fairbrother recommends trying to acquire a loan to get your new venture started Here are some financing options to consider Traditional lenders A traditional lender should be the first financing source to consider Think banks credit unions and non bank lenders such as finance companies Most lenders have a small business department Some also administer SBA loan programs Start with the bank or credit union where you have your business accounts Venture capitalists Venture capitalists want to make money for their firms and their investors So it makes sense that they look for firms with high fast profit potential If you think that describes your startup a reputable place to begin your information search is at the National Venture Capital Association Government sources Don t forget Uncle Sam when you re looking for cash The federal government offers programs that Assist women minorities and military veterans Provide short term capital needs Help fund exporters Stimulate business development in enterprise zones And more Begin your search for a loan program online at the U S Small Business Administration At the website you ll find information about the different types of loans application requirements and more You can also use the Loans and Grants search tool at Business gov to get a list of financing programs for which you may qualify SBA Microloans The SBA Microloan Program provides small short term loans The SBA makes funds available to specially designated intermediary lenders which are nonprofit community based organizations These intermediaries make loans to eligible borrowers The maximum loan amount is 50 000 but the average microloan is about 13 000 You can use microloan funds for Working capital The purchase of inventory or supplies The purchase of furniture or fixtures The purchase of machinery or equipment Small time cash If your financial needs are so modest that you can t interest a lender or get a microloan you have other financing options For instance you may be able to secure a personal loan from a lender You might also consider borrowing money from family and friends If you opt for this route be sure to put all agreements in writing The document should specifically address the schedule of repayment interest rate and consequences of default Credit cards can be a financing tool too But be careful Only use the cards to purchase materials or equipment that you can pay off quickly so you don t incur enormous interest payments NASE Growth Grants The NASE can help you launch your business with a business development grant worth up to 5 000 These grants can be used for marketing advertising hiring employees and to meet other specific business needs The grants are available to NASE Members in good standing and you

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/InDepthGuides/StartupKit/2011/05/12/Properly_Fund_Your_Business (2016-02-14)
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  • Develop Good Financial Habits
    financial rule for new business owners Don t co mingle your personal accounts and your business accounts There is no formal IRS requirement that your business maintain a separate bank account says NASE National Tax Advisor Keith Hall a certified public accountant However keeping your personal activity and the activity of the business separate is critical to maintaining accurate accounting and tax records Keep good records Timely and accurate record keeping is the only way to know how your new business is performing financially For that reason a shoebox is not the appropriate place to store your business receipts You need a filing method that lets you keep all receipts in an organized fashion If your accountant or the IRS asks you to produce a receipt to prove income or expenses you need to be able to find that piece of paper A software accounting program is an excellent way to track the financial progress of your new firm And there are dozens of reasonably priced programs to choose from Be sure to get a program that lets you Input income and expenses Produce reports and financial statements Manage accounts receivable and payable Create a budget for your business Understand financial statements The foundation of good financial habits is learning to understand the basics of financial statements They consist of three main components Balance sheet Income statement also known as the profit and loss statement Cash flow statement Think of a balance sheet as a snapshot of your business financial position at a particular time such as the first of every month or the end of every quarter It shows what your company owns assets and what you owe liabilities Current assets include such items as cash reserves and accounts receivable Current liabilities are the short term expenses necessary to finance the operation of your business such as payroll and accounts payable The income statement tells you how much money you made or lost during a given period of time such as a month or quarter It subtracts all your expenses and taxes from your revenue to show you your net income The cash flow statement ties the balance sheet and income statement together It shows the changes in your balance sheet from the beginning to the end of the period being measured such as a month or a year The cash flow statement shows how and when your business produced inventory made sales and received payments Be vigilant with cash flow Cash flow is the life blood of a small business If you make hundreds of sales to customers but you don t collect the money you re owed for those sales then you have no cash And you need cash to pay business expenses You can and should take steps to optimize your cash flow Try these Bill customers as soon as possible such as when you deliver a product or complete a project Develop strict payment policies such as payment due within 30 days Make your customers

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/InDepthGuides/StartupKit/2011/05/12/Develop_Good_Financial_Habits (2016-02-14)
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  • What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
    have done when starting their own businesses Look for books written by people who have already made the mistakes and learned how to succeed he says Another training aid high on Fairbrother s list is your local college Just about every college has continuing education courses for budding entrepreneurs that offer street savvy knowledge Fairbrother says That knowledge will put you light years ahead of the also rans who think they can figure it out as they go Sales training Communications Business management Financing a business Accounting and bookkeeping Marketing Human resources and personnel Government training The federal government also reaches out to help new entrepreneurs The training services are usually available for free or at low cost U S Small Business Administration The SBA offers free online courses that teach you the basics of starting and running a small business You ll find self paced easy to use courses dedicated to Starting a business Managing a business Financing a business Contracting with the federal government Disaster assistance Exporting your products And many more topics The SBA website also features SBA Direct an interactive tool that lets you personalize the type of information you get on the site You can customize your browsing of the SBA site according to your company s geography industry and needs Using that information SBA Direct delivers search results that are relevant to your business The resulting information covers all aspects of operating a business such as the steps involved in getting started or how to stay compliant with current regulations The SBA Direct feature gives you one click access to the information you need It even integrates content from Business gov to include a variety of guides and tools that collate information from across government agencies This integration not only helps you comply with laws and regulations but also helps you take advantage of government programs You ll also find interactive location based maps that help you quickly locate small business resources in your area including local SBA offices and other sources of training and support Small Business Development Centers Small Business Development Centers SBDCs provide management assistance and educational services for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs The centers are administered by the SBA and are partnerships between the government and colleges universities SBDCs offer one stop assistance at branch locations in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia Services include assisting small business owners with Marketing Financial Feasibility studies Production Organization Technical issues Public Seminars Many private for profit groups offer seminars and workshops for business owners The seminars address topics from communications and marketing to startup financing and networking You ll find the seminars in major cities across the country Fees range from under 100 for a half day workshop to thousands of dollars for a multiple day seminar Here are a few places to look for workshops and seminars National Seminars Training Find seminars geared for many different industries and professions You can search by your ZIP

    Original URL path: http://selfemployed.nase.org/about-us/nase-publications/InDepthGuides/StartupKit/2011/05/12/What_You_Don%E2%80%99t_Know_Can_Hurt_You (2016-02-14)
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