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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

 

If you don't see your question addressed here please contact us and ask your question.

 

We can't tell you if your idea will work, but

 

We can make it easier for YOU to figure out if your idea will work. We can give you the tools to explore what it will take to reach your goals and what kind of activity would be involved with generating the money needed to support yourself.

 

We can support you with educational and technical resources as YOU work to figure it out, but unfortunately we can't tell you what will or wont work. People spend money on crazy things and we will gladly help you design a plan to get their money into your pocket but that's about the best any software can do.  If you want to talk with someone to bounce ideas off of and hear their thoughts or perspectives we have seen people get great results from attending a few 1 Million Cups meetings and talking with entrepreneurs there that are familiar with your local markets.

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How long it takes to finish your business plan,

 

depends on a variety of factors many you control, but some you may not.  We have found that these variables are usually key contributors to how long it takes to finish a business plan.

 

1) How much time you put in to working on your plan.

 

2) How complex your plan is, which often correlates to if you are a new or established business.

 

3) What you know when you start.

 

4) How quickly you learn new things along the way.

 

5) If you are working alone or as part of a team (sometimes you may have wait for input from others).

 

There are other factors as well but these are the ones most likely to affect how quickly you can finish.

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Who can you talk to about starting a business:

 

 

  • Small business development centers (SBDC) are a network of free small business consulting centers that are available to discuss business ideas with an get help from.   

 

  • Most SBDCs are connected to a college or university, you can find the nearest SBDC to you here.

 

  • You can use the Pebble Plan business planning software in combination with the individual consulting you get at the SBDC.   In fact it was designed so you can work on your own as much as you want to, then when you need help you can talk to a consultant about the items you want help with.

  • If you don't live close to an SBDC or you would prefer to work with a private consultant, you can contact Pebble Plan and if we know of a qualified small business consult in your area we will be glad to make an introduction.

The type of business entity you choose to start has legal & financial implications.

 

Two of the most commonly asked about topics with legal implications are: 

 

1.  Ownership & control of the business:

 

  • Sole Proprietorship:  As a sole proprietor you have 100% control & ownership of the business.

  • Married couple as a Sole Proprietorship:  

    • If you are in a community property state you jointly have 100% control & ownership of the business - like a joint checking account
    • If you are not in a community property state this type of business formation may not be allowed - if it is, check with your state's laws on how ownership is divided  

  • General Partnership:  Unless you have a contract saying otherwise you each own 50% of the business and share control of the business equally.

 

 

2.  Personal liability of the owner:

  • Sole Proprietorship:   As a sole proprietor you are 100% personally liable for the activities of your business.  Insurance can help reduce what you may have to pay out if there is a situation, but you own the liability.

  • Married couple as a Sole Proprietorship:  

    • If you are in a community property state you jointly have 100% of the liability for business activities

    • If you are not in a community property state this type of business formation may not be allowed - if it is, check with your state's laws on liability

  • General Partnership:  Unless you have a contract saying otherwise you each jointly share 100% of the liability for business activities.  Yes, even though you only each own 50% of the company.  

 

 

Two of the most commonly asked about topics with financial implications are:

 

1.  Taxes:

 

  • Sole Proprietorship:  The business will not file it's own federal income tax return; it is considered a pass-through entity.  When you file your personal federal income tax return you will include the businesses earnings or losses along with your personal income and file one federal tax return.  State income taxes laws vary from state to state and it is recommended that you seek professional help with filing your businesses taxes.

 

Sales taxes (if your business is required to collect sales tax) are filed separately from income taxes and are paid to the state and or local taxing authorities.  Consult your state comptrollers office or state tax office for your states rules.

 

  • Married couple as a Sole Proprietorship:  Income tax laws vary from state to state and it is recommended that you seek professional help with filing your businesses taxes.  Your choice of how you file (Jointly, separately etc.) can have an impact on the advice your tax professional gives you - make you sure you tell her/him everything they need to know to help you file accurately.

 

Sales taxes (if your business is required to collect sales tax) are filed separately from income taxes and are paid to the state and or local taxing authorities.  Consult your state comptrollers office or state tax office for your states rules.  

 

 

  • General Partnership:  The business will not file it's own federal income tax return; it is considered a pass-through entity. When each partner files their personal federal income tax return each will include the appropriate portion of the businesses earnings or losses along with their personal income and file one federal tax return each.  State income taxes laws vary from state to state and it is recommended that you and your partner seek professional help with filing your businesses taxes.

 

Sales taxes (if your business is required to collect sales tax) are filed separately from income taxes and are paid to the state and or local taxing authorities.  Consult your state comptrollers office or state tax office for your states rules. 

 

 

2.  How much it costs to get started:

  • Your city or county clerk will charge a fee to record your DBA.  This is usually between $15 - $50 but some some counties and cities charge more.

 

  • Minimum deposits for a business bank account are usually between $50 - $100 and will often cost about $10 per month to maintain.

 

  • Getting and EIN from the IRS is free.  This is like your businesses federal ID#. You don't need to pay someone to get it for you

 

  • Getting DUNS # is free.  This is an ID used by many governmental entities to track their venders.  You don't need to pay someone to get it for you.

 

  • Business liability insurance will cost more or less depending on the type of risks your business has and the amount of coverage you need.  Talk to a few local insurance brokers or agents with a good reputation to get quotes from and choose the one you like best.

 

  • Not all businesses can afford a lawyer early on and some businesses do fine for a while without an lawyer.  But like insurance, lawyers help reduce risk so as your business grows finding a layer you trust and get along with is a good idea.  If you have legal concerns because of specific issues related to your business it is better to talk to a lawyer sooner than later.  Legal matters typically don't get better with age.

 

 ** Reminder:  This information is not legal or professional financial advice.  This is educational material provided for educational purposes only.  This information has not been reviewed by an attorney or licensed financial services provider.

 

The information provided above are simple explanations for potentially complex issues, questions about your specific situation should be asked to qualified professionals.