If you're thinking about starting a business, you likely already have an idea of what you want to sell, or at least the market you want to enter. Do a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what current brand leaders are doing and figure out how you can do it better. If you think your business can deliver something other companies don't (or deliver the same thing, but faster and cheaper), you've got a solid idea and are ready to create a business plan.
Articles of organization are short, simple documents. In fact, you can usually prepare your own in just a few minutes by filling in the blanks and checking the boxes on a form provided by your state's filing office. Typically, you must provide only your LLC's name, its address, and sometimes the names of all of the owners -- called members. Generally, all of the LLC owners may prepare and sign the articles, or they can appoint just one person to do so.
Starting any business has a price, so you need to determine how you're going to cover those costs. Do you have the means to fund your startup, or will you need to borrow money? If you're planning to leave your current job to focus on your business, do you have money put away to support yourself until you start making a profit? Find out how much you're going to need.
An important part of LLC formation is the registered agent. A registered agent must be a person who is located in the state in which you are forming your LLC. This is the person you designate to receive legal service of process, as well as government forms and notices, on behalf of your LLC. He or she must have a physical street address (not a P.O. box).
Your LLC will give you the freedom to choose how your company runs and avoid being subject to the strict compliance laws that other business entities have to deal with. When you form a limited liability company with Rocket Lawyer, your membership includes help from seasoned attorneys and all the documents you need to start your business right and grow it.
In some places, dog walking alone can be a very profitable business. Those working from 9 to 5 either do not have time to walk their dogs before leaving the house or just prefer it if someone comes in to let them out of the house for some exercise. Also, dog walking businesses that offer additional services are becoming increasingly popular. Consider also offering:
Since limited liability companies can be a pass-through entity, owners are taxed on their personal income. S-Corp shareholders are taxed personally. The S-Corp, however, is not. C-Corp income is taxed at the corporate level first, then again at the personal level. This is called "double taxation." Non-Profits are only taxed once and can write off most of their expenses. Sole Proprietors are taxed only on their personal tax return.
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.
Are you the person who all your friends and family call when they're trying to find a good restaurant, lawyer, plumber or gardener? If that's the case and you love referring them to all the lovely businesses you know of in your neighborhood, you could start a business doing just that. You'll be able to work with individuals and businesses, helping customers find what they want, and businesses gain more clients. To get started, you will need to:
Although the number of people wanting to start their own business has grown, many still do not know how to organize themselves financially. Start by getting your Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate to show clients you are credible. On the other hand, if you already have the experience, you can start by advising individuals and then grow your empire to consult for larger organizations.
The governing document of the LLC is called an operating agreement, and it is within this document that the members lay out all important provisions, such as standards for LLC governance, ownership parameters, and rules around member changes (adding or removing members, or what happens in case of death or incapacity of a member). The operating agreement is an internal document and is an agreement amongst the members or owners, which means it is not recorded with the state.
"In the words of Simon Sinek, 'always start with why,'" said Glenn Gutek, CEO of Awake Consulting and Coaching. "It is good to know why you are launching your business. In this process, it may be wise to differentiate between [whether] the business serves a personal why or a marketplace why. When your why is focused on meeting a need in the marketplace, the scope of your business will always be larger than a business that is designed to serve a personal need."
Please note: We believe accurate, plain-English legal information should help you solve many of your own legal problems. But it's not a substitute for personalized advice from a knowledgeable lawyer. If you want the help of a trained professional-- and we'll always point out situations in which we think that's a good idea-- consult an attorney licensed to practice in your state.