If you don't plan on raising investment money for your business, think you might need asset protection and need flexible business management and taxes, then an LLC is likely the best choice for your business. Whether you are a sole proprietor, have a partner, or a multi-member corporation, the LLC is a great choice for small business owners, as it can provide the same limited liability protection as a corporation, without many of the complexities and formalities associated with them. At Incfile we see all sizes and verticals of businesses forming an LLC — from LLCs for real estate agents or financial advisors to solopreneurs such as personal trainers or even marijuana businesses. A number of entrepreneurs decide that an LLC is the business structure that fits their needs.
Tasks like naming the business and creating a logo are obvious, but what about the less-heralded, equally important steps? Whether it's determining your business structure or crafting a detailed marketing strategy, the workload can quickly pile up. Rather than spinning your wheels and guessing at where to start, follow this 10-step checklist to transform your business from a lightbulb above your head to a real entity.
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Corp., Inc., Corporation, Incorporated: used to denote corporations (public or otherwise). These are the only terms universally accepted by all 51 corporation chartering jurisdictions in the United States. However, in some states other suffixes may be used to identify a corporation, such as Ltd., Co./Company, or the Italian term S.p.A. (in Connecticut; see under Italy). Some states that allow the use of "Company" prohibit the use of "and Company", "and Co.", "& Company" or "& Co.". In most states sole proprietorships and partnerships may register a fictitious "doing business as" name with the word "Company" in it. For a full list of allowed designations by state, see the table below.
Versatile Tax Status One of the most advantageous aspects of the LLC is that it has the ability to choose how it is treated as a taxable entity. According to the IRS an LLC is, by default, federally taxed as a partnership (in the case of a multi-member LLC) or as a sole proprietor (in the case of a single member LLC). The LLC, however, may elect to be taxed as a C- or S-corporation at any time the members so choose.
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After you've completed the steps described above, your LLC is official. But before you open your doors for business, you need to obtain the licenses and permits that all new businesses must have to operate. These may include a business license (sometimes also referred to as a "tax registration certificate"), a federal employer identification number, a sellers' permit, or a zoning permit. For more on business licenses and permits, see the Licenses & Permits for Your Business area of Nolo's website.
Conducting thorough market research on your field and demographics of potential clientele is an important part of crafting a business plan. This involves conducting surveys, holding focus groups and researching SEO and public data. A guide to conducting market research can be found on our sister site, Business.com. It's also a good idea to consider an exit strategy as you compile your business plan. Generating some of idea of how you'll eventually exit the business forces you to look to the future.
Flexible Profit Distribution For an LLC, if the members choose, the net income/profits of the LLC may be allocated to the members in different proportions to their ownership percentage in the LLC. This is different from a corporation, as corporations are required to distribute profits exactly accordance with the proportion/percentage of ownership of each shareholder.
Partnership (shutafut, שותפות) – created by default, even without registration, when two or more persons run a business together for profit. Personal liability of partners is not limited, unless they are limited partners of a limited partnership. Partnerships are governed by the Partnerships Ordinance [New Form], 5735-1975 (פקודת השותפויות [נוסח חדש], תשל"ה-1975).
Unlimited company (or Welsh (cwmni) anghyfyngedig). There is no limit on the liability of its members. It is not a requirement under company law to add or state the word or designation Unlimited or its abbreviations (Unltd., or Ultd.) at the ending of its legal company name, and most such companies do not do so. Unlimited companies are exempted from filing accounts with the Registrar of Companies for public disclosure, subject to a few exceptions (unless the company was a qualified subsidiary or a parent of a limited company during the accounting period).
obrt: ≈ sole proprietorship; several types: slobodni, vezani, and povlašteni obrt (free, tied, and privileged proprietorship registered according to profession; tied and privileged proprietorships are those only master craftsmen can register,) paušalni obrt, obrt-dohodaš, obrt-dobitaš (flat-rate proprietorship, income tax p., profits tax p.; these are registered according to the type of taxation; first two are obligated to pay income tax and the last one is obligated to pay profits tax), sezonski obrt (seasonal proprietorship, that runs for a limited number of months during a year)