When it comes to avoiding or ignoring important business decisions like the ones in the following list, I’ve heard every excuse in the book:
I’m a one-wo/man show! I don’t have time to do that.
I didn’t know I needed to.
Just as soon as I [insert unattainable goal], I’ll do it.
No more excuses. These 10 things are ones you absolutely need to put at the top of your list. Today.
1. Choosing a Business Structure. There are well over 3 million sole proprietorships in the US today, but that’s really because it’s the default business structure. Most business owners don’t bother to set up any other type of structure, like an LLC or corporation, but doing so will protect your personal assets and keep you from being personally liable in case of a lawsuit.
2. Applying for Business Licenses. I’m a bit embarrassed to say I operated for years without a business license. Just didn’t realize I needed one. But no matter what type of business you run, you need some sort of business license or tax certificate. Check with your state and city to find out details.
3. Organizing Your Finances. Still entering your accounting details in a spreadsheet? I know, you’re too busy to buy and learn an accounting program. But trust me on this: an hour of learning will save you countless hours down the road. Accounting software makes your life easier, and should you ever be audited, makes it easy to access important financial records.
4. Paying Taxes Throughout the Year. If you’re a sole proprietor, you pay your business taxes when you file your personal taxes. But take it from me, who learned the hard way: waiting to pay them only creates financial strain. It’s better to either pay them throughout the year or set aside funds (estimate what you’ll owe) so you don’t have an eyeball-popping tax bill in April.