Based on the enormous success of Checklists for starting your first business, we are starting a series of 100 practical, how-to small business posts. I stole (or borrowed) this idea from Chris Brogan and his Social Media 100. So let’s call this the Small Biz 100.
Small biz owner Rick Cockrum also suggested that we write “Sole Proprietorship 101 – How to start your business and keep it going while still being able to sleep at night.” Exactly! That is what we want to build with you.
To make this work for you, I need your suggestions. What questions do you have about small business? Here are the first nine ideas from Rick:
1. Setting up a simple, adequate accounting system.
2. Developing relationships with vendors.
3. Remembering the customer is the reason you’re there.
4. How to perform customer surveys simply, and why you would want to.
5. The difference between advertising and marketing, and why they’re both important.
6. The importance of a good relationship with the bank. How to tell a good one from a bad one.
7. Navigating SBA loans.
8. What the SBA has to offer.
9. How to value your business.
Also at Open Mic Nite, Joe Hauckes, Working at Home on the Internet, mentioned:
10. Offering your service for free as good advertisement and getting a good ROI.
Related to that is:
11. How to know who to charge and who gets some things for free
Back to Basics, we’ll have to cover:
12. More steps to startup
13. Declaring your business intent, being enough of a business to take income tax deductions.
14. When to form an LLC or S Corp
15. Converting from a sole proprietorship to get more legal protection
No one likes to talk finance and accounting, but we will do it:
16. Just the basics
17. The level of detail that makes sense for your business
18. Is a spreadsheet enough?
19. Reviewing accounting software
20. Online accounting tools
21. Do you need a comprehensive package or a few tools?
Hiring and employees seem to generate enormous questions, so let’s go over:
22. Employee vs. subcontractor
23. Doing payroll yourself
24. Finding a local payroll service
25. Using online payroll tools
26. Maybe you don’t need to hire at all!
OK, that’s more than 1/4 of the way there. Of course, this is just a list of ideas. There are plenty of important how-to topics left, but I want to leave it open. What topics would help you most? Put your ideas in the comments, and we’ll offer our own best answers, as well as rounding up some terrific experts when we can. Ready? Go!
- About the Author
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.