Resource Guide for Small Businesses
Small businesses make up more than 99% of all businesses in the United States. A small business is defined as an independently owned and operated company. The term covers businesses with a wide variety of sizes and revenue. The person operating a social media agency from their computer in their dining room is a small business, as is the local boutique employing 11 people, and so is an independent manufacturing plant employing 60 people. The Small Business Administration says that a small business must make less than between $750,000 and $38.5 million a year in revenue and employ no more than 1,500 people, depending on the industry. Micro businesses are defined as those employing fewer than ten people. These businesses employ 10% of all people working in the private sector.
The owners of small and micro businesses wear many hats. Often, they are instrumental in providing the business’s primary good or service. They also usually operate or oversee human resources, purchasing, bookkeeping, operations, and marketing functions. Striking an appropriate work-life balance is a struggle for many small-business owners. However, there are a plethora of resources available to assist small businesses in the planning and operation of their enterprises.
Writing out a business plan is an important first step in opening your own small business. The Small Business Administration offers advice and templates for writing a successful plan.
This website offers a variety of new stories daily, ranging from ideas on improving customer service to keeping up on new laws and regulations that might impact businesses.
Finding local resources, mentors, and other avenues for assistance is an important part of opening and maintaining a small business. The Small Business Administration hosts a website where people can find resources organized by location.
The magazine Entrepreneur offers a variety of business forms and templates small businesses can either use as-is or adapt for their individual needs. The forms offered include profit and loss spreadsheets, non-disclosure agreements, and purchase order templates.
The Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business organization, representing more than 3 million businesses ranging from micro businesses to global enterprises. Their website offers information about business activism, programming, and issues facing the business community.
This website is designed for small-business owners and people considering opening a business as an online portal where they can find answers to their questions regarding funding and operating a small business. The educational resources include information about business credit, retirement plans, and expanding an existing business.
Podcasts are a popular way to learn new information and keep up to date regarding trends, forecasts, and arising issues in the business world. Entrepreneur curated a list of the best podcasts for entrepreneurs and small-business owners so getting stuck in traffic can become an enjoyable educational experience.
A cohesive business plan is a vital part of crafting a new business. SCORE is a partner of the Small Business Administration and offers a variety of templates and educational materials for small-business owners and operators.
An official website of the United States government offers a variety of information and resources for people considering opening their own business. Established business owners will appreciate the information about taxes, employment, and veteran-owned businesses.
Most businesses chose to form a legal entity for tax and legal reasons. Small-business owners have to carefully choose between forming a limited liability company or incorporating the business. These guidelines will help inform the decision.
Business owners who choose to form a limited liability company will find these guidelines helpful in navigating the process. Information about how the process varies by state is also provided.
Businesses that decide to incorporate can use this guide to follow the steps to legally incorporate their business. The article also provides links to the various types of corporations businesses can incorporate as.
The Internal Revenue Service provides a comprehensive guide to the tax issues small businesses will encounter. The checklist for new businesses and advice on recordkeeping are especially useful.
Inc. published this in-depth article examining the various kinds of taxes a small business might have to pay, including valuable information on how to lessen tax debt. Ideas are provided on structuring your business to minimize the tax load, and the reference list gives valuable additional resources.
Many small businesses will have to collect sales tax from their customers and remit the taxes to their local governments. Debt.org offers tips on dealing with sales tax scenarios.
Obtaining a business license is an important first step in establishing a business. The process varies by area and can be confusing. Helpful information outlining the process and clear-cut directions are provided in this guide.
Forbes delves into the various types of insurance small-business owners need to protect themselves and their businesses. Along with well-known policies like general liability, it also examines more niche policies like data breach coverage and explains why certain businesses should invest in coverage.
Credit card processing is a must for many businesses. However, it also can be quite expensive. This list of the best processing services will help businesses find a reliable, trustworthy, and affordable processor.
Hiring your first employee is very exciting but also overwhelming. There are many legal and financial implications of hiring other people. The information in this guide will help business owners move into employing others while avoiding potential issues.
An employee handbook that lays out the policies and procedures of your business will help sidestep many issues with your current and future employees. As always, there are legal and practical considerations in writing the handbook. Reading this guide with help the business owner prepare a functional and helpful handbook.
Networking is a vital part of sustaining and growing a business. USA Today writes about easy ways to network with potential customers and local stakeholders to grow a business here.
Marketing doesn’t come naturally to many business owners, but it is an important component of maintaining and expanding a business’s customer base. Reading this marketing cheat sheet will offer a variety of simple marketing ideas and strategies to small business owners.
Social media is an ever more important part of business marketing plans. However, the various platforms can be confusing. This article provides information for optimizing and streamlining social media marketing for small businesses.
A mass email system allows business owners to quickly send targeted messages to their customer database. Setting up a system isn’t intuitive, and there are many providers at a variety of price points. The New York Times provides a breakdown of what is needed to set up a successful mass emailing system here.
Business owners need to save for retirement, and offering a retirement plan is a great benefit for wooing potential employees. The retirement plans available for small businesses are examined in this article.
Health insurance is a major concern for entrepreneurs and small-business owners. There are many questions, and the answers can change with the political climate. However, this overview provides important information regarding obtaining coverage.
Small businesses watch expenses closely, and banking fees are one area that can impact profit margins. Finding an inexpensive business account can be difficult; this article provides information on free checking accounts available to businesses.
Establishing credit for the business that is separate from the credit of the owner is an important step in ensuring the financial soundness of the business. However, figuring out how to establish business credit is not an intuitive process. The steps for establishing credit are outlined in this article.
A business credit card gives business owners great control over cash flow and can help establish the business’s credit rating. Consulting this guide can help business owners find a card to fit their particular needs.
The federal government has some grants available for small businesses; Grants.gov lists these grants and gives information about the application process.