When you first started your business, you likely needed to file a mountain of paperwork, choose a telling name, and select your business structure. Although you have the first steps of creating a business behind you, you will need to maintain your progress and push forward. At this stage, aspirations meet reality, and you’ll need to manage several pragmatic and strategic concerns successfully.
Now that you’ve established your business, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure that you reach that dream. ZenBusiness was designed to help businesses flourish, with the right team of professionals to lend their expertise in matters of finance, taxation, compliance, and more. We’ve created a seven-step guide to help you manage your business every step of the way. You will learn a variety of essential steps for running a business, including why you should set up a business bank account and how to maintain state requirements and business compliance. To see what it takes to run a business right, and learn how ZenBusiness can help, dive into the seven steps presented below.
As soon as you begin spending and accepting money as a company, you should open a business bank account. You can open a business account for checking, savings, credit card, and merchant services, which allow your business to accept credit and debit card transactions.
Even if you run a small business, getting a bank account for your business can prove beneficial.
Having a separate, professional bank account enables you to do more than a standard personal account:
ZenBusiness has partnered with LendingClub to provide small business owners with access to discounted banking services. This business bank account was designed with small businesses and startups in mind and comes with free, unlimited transactions, online and mobile banking, a free debit card, and more.
When you set up a business bank account, you’ll need a few important documents to start. Many of the documents are completed when filing your business with the state. Here are some documents that banks may ask for:
The banking resolution is often drafted during initial meetings and can be altered during future meetings.
A business credit card helps ensure that you have access to funds, can build credit, and tack expenses on one account.
Accounting and maintaining bookkeeping records is an essential practice for any business. Although it can be overwhelming, there are many tools to help you manage bookkeeping. With the right tools, bookkeeping can be just another step in your business process.
Bookkeeping is the process of recording and organizing a business’s financial transactions. It’s the primary way that business owners can determine if their business is profitable. As a result, it can help business owners stay on top of their finances and act early to any challenges down the road. Additionally, bookkeeping helps you to identify areas of profit expansion. All in all, clear financial reports can help you find critical areas of improvement.
There are different approaches that businesses can take to maintain their accounting records, including:
When given these options, many small business owners have to choose between paying another employee or using an accounting program and missing out on valuable insights.
Like all businesses, small businesses must stay on top of and monitor their bookkeeping. It’s especially important to stay on top of day-to-day money management. Whether you hire an accountant or choose ZenBusiness’s accounting and bookkeeping services, you will need to ensure that your account is properly managed.
Next, review your costs and find a way to track your business expenses. Once you have that figured out, make financial projections. With clear projections, you can craft a business plan to help you address future issues. In addition, ensure that you’re keeping up with invoicing. Send out invoices as soon as possible after you provide the good or service, and follow up if you must.
From there, to keep pace with your business’s finances, you’ll need to monitor these:
Regardless of how large your business is or its industry, it’s vital to stay on top of your finances.
Starting your own business comes with a lot of paperwork and additional stress you might not have expected. Every moment of your time is valuable, and that doesn’t change when you’re in charge of the payroll.
If you find yourself overwhelmed or without the time to tackle these time-consuming tasks, ZenBusiness’s accounting and bookkeeping services can help you close the books each month.
Once you’ve signed up for this service, an accredited CPA will join your team. Aside from maintaining the monthly reporting and bookkeeping, your CPA will perform a needs analysis. Essentially, your CPA will determine the correct categorizations, dashboards, and reports for your unique business needs. They’ll offer insights so that you can continue to improve your business model and adapt to continue well into the future.
Regardless of how large your business is or its industry, it’s vital to stay on top of your finances.
Business insurance can help protect you from the unexpected. Whether your business deals with natural disasters, accidents, or lawsuits, insurance can help protect your company.
Choosing a business structure like a corporation or an LLC will only protect an individual and their personal property in the event of a lawsuit. Unfortunately, they do not protect your business. In the event of a catastrophe, business insurance can protect your personal and business assets.
The federal government requires every business with employees to have unemployment and disability insurance, and all states but Texas require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. Some states might require additional insurance; however, the laws vary state by state.
We recommend visiting your state’s website to verify if you need additional insurance. Although it’s not always mandatory to obtain multiple forms of insurance coverage, it’s important to protect yourself and the business you fought hard to build.
Some of the more common coverage types include:
The Business Owner’s Policy (BPO) is available to home-based business owners and most small business owners. It combines the owner’s insurance package of typical coverage options into a single bundle, saving you money and simplifying the process.
ZenBusiness and the Commercial Insurance Center offer BOP insurance to protect your business with a bundled option.
Protect your business with:
This is an all-in-one solution that saves you money while customizing your insurance plan based on your needs.
A business name is typically the first thing potential clients learn about your business. Your business name should reflect your brand, creativity, and industry. Once you’ve chosen your business name, it’s important to formally name your business to protect it from competitors.
By trademarking your business name, you can protect it at the state and federal levels. Trademarking your business name prevents other businesses, especially those within your field, from using your name and other aspects of your branding.
Unlike copyright, trademarks do not expire after a certain number of years. That being said, you will need to continue to use the trademark in commerce and file required registration maintenance every five years.
Look up your potential business name here to see if it’s available for federal trademark or look up the office overseeing trademarks in your state here to see if the name is available at the state level.
A business can use a “doing business as” name in addition to its legal name. Using a DBA name allows you to use a different name, other than your legal name, when you’re conducting business. A DBA name can make your business more credible and add additional legal protection.
When you file a DBA name in most states, you’re establishing your use of that business name. Registering a DBA name is a quick and easy process, but exact steps can vary from state to state.
If you plan to have an online presence, you need to register a domain name for your business. Domain names can be purchased from a domain registrar and are offered for a minimum registration period of one year. However, some companies offer up to 10 years of domain name registration.
Since domain names are pretty cheap, it’s a sound investment, especially in the modern age. You’ll want to ensure that you choose a domain name that aligns with your business. It’s essential that you act quickly so that a competitor, or an opportunist hoping to sell that domain name, won’t purchase the name before you.
When purchasing a domain name, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using a reputable service. With ZenBusiness, you can add privacy to your domain name, preventing your personal contact information from becoming public. This secures your information and helps protect you from spam, scams, and blocks unwanted solicitations.
ZenBusiness also offers a domain name registration service. It’s a fast, easy way to secure a domain name for your business without worrying about the technical details when purchasing a domain name.
In the information age, it’s important for businesses to utilize today’s technology and create a web presence. ZenBusiness makes it easy to start a website for your business by automating the website with the business information you provide us. From there, use our easy-to-use website editor to customize your site.
Creating a website is a great step toward building your web presence, but it doesn’t stop there. A blog is a fantastic way of spreading the word about what you do. Make sure to update your blog regularly. Additionally, you’ll want to start engaging on social media.
Some businesses might find that LinkedIn is a great asset in promoting their business, while others might find more success with Instagram or Twitter. Determine your audience and what platform they frequently use and build your business presence there.
A webpage builder can help you build your website presence in no time. A website not only helps improve your business credibility but can also showcase what makes you unique. Share your story and why you are passionate about what you do and promote your work to potential clients.
In the past, making a website meant that you had to hire a coder and spend hundreds of dollars just to create a site that you wouldn’t be able to maintain. ZenBusiness has made it easy to create a webpage for your business for a low annual price.
Setting up a business email that matches the name of your business adds credibility to your company. It shows how professional your business is and proves to potential clients that you pay attention to detail. ZenBusiness’s business email address offering gives you such an email address for a low annual fee. The ZenBusiness business email account also helps block spam and unwanted emails, avoiding the cumbersome task of weeding out potential clients versus spammers.
Social media empowers you to share information about your business and interact with your customers in real time. Setting up a website and professional email is just one step to form a cohesive brand image, but setting up your social media presence is another. In today’s world, it’s important for businesses to use social media as a way to market their services and products on sites like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
However, you must be prepared before you launch your social media presence, as it usually needs planning. Before you jump into using social media, we recommend defining your marketing strategy. Additionally, you’ll need to keep up your business presence and post often.
Unfortunately, your filing requirements didn’t end when you formed your business. You’ll need to maintain consistent compliance to maintain your good standing as a business in your state. Some recurring filings may include: annual report or biennial statement, statement filing fees, franchise tax, and Articles of Amendment. Since annual filing requirements are based on your state and business structure, there isn’t a quick guide to move you through the process.
ZenBusiness knows how ongoing filings work and has a plan to help your business remain compliant.
The annual filing report is required by most states, often with an accompanying fee. Depending on your state, you may have to pay taxes and file the annual report to maintain good standing. If even the slightest piece of compliance material is missed, the state often imposes penalties and fees.
Occasionally, the state can revoke the company’s right to conduct business. Some states will set the due date for this material on the anniversary of the formation date, while other states have a specific date in the year for all businesses to submit this information.
Because requirements and dates differ greatly state to state, we recommend visiting the website for your state and verifying your compliance requirements.
An amendment enables you to change the information in the Articles of Incorporation/Organization and other documents that you had to file with the state. If your business address, name, or a member changes, you will usually need to file an amendment.
Altering the Articles of Incorporation/Organization doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming. Instead, ZenBusiness can handle the necessary paperwork, as we have a team of experienced professionals ready to help you manage amendments with the Secretary of State.
Depending on your location and business nature, you may need to possess several business licenses to operate legally. If one of those lapses without your noticing, your business could be in trouble. With ZenBusiness’s license report service, you can keep an eye on all the permits and licenses you need to stay in business.
Businesses are subject to federal, state, and local taxes. Given that businesses may be subject to multiple types of taxes, it’s important to determine your tax obligations.
General types of business taxes:
Since some tax payments are due throughout the year, it’s important to know your tax obligations. Understanding your tax requirements is essential to the financial health of your business.
Depending on the business structure you’ve chosen, your business can be taxed accordingly. It’s important to understand the implications of your business structure to meet your tax obligations.
Here are common taxation rules:
When it comes time to file your taxes, you’ll want clear financial records. Maintaining complete and accurate records can help you quickly and efficiently file taxes, regardless of your business structure. The IRS conducts tax audits and requires various documents from you, so it’s important to keep complete records.
The IRS usually asks for documents to support the income, credits, or deductions that you claimed on your tax return. Organizing these records will speed up the process and prevent any misunderstandings or missing documents.
When it comes to running a business, no matter how large, you may want to consider a professional’s help. Not only will you want help in the event of a tax audit, annual filings, etc., but you may also benefit from accounting services to help your business grow.
We offer a no-obligation accounting assessment to review your bookkeeping, accounting, and tax needs. Once you hear from a licensed CPA, you can decide if you want to stick with us to blossom.
ZenBusiness is prepared to help you every step of the way when running a business. Although there are many steps to create and maintain your business, rest assured that you are not alone. With the myriad of helpful tools that we offer, we can help your business grow with you.
Starting and maintaining a business can take the fun out of owning a business. With ZenBusiness, we put the power back in your hands.
We use the most modern technology and automation to provide you with fast, low-cost services to get the job done. We’re here to help you grow. Read our Grow Your Business page to move your business forward.
At ZenBusiness, we’re a passionate team dedicated to helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. We strive to make business formation affordable and easy to help owners make the plunge into creating and growing their businesses.