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Business Essentials

By Debbie Solomon
Posted Thursday, August 26, 2004

We all know that starting your own business is a reality that is now easier than ever to accomplish. The phenomenon of business on the interent is nothing short of intriguing. More and more people are starting their own businesses from home because of the power the internet provides.

There is so much to choose from and the options are endless. However there are many aspects that many people seem to overlook that is essential to business. The main essentials are the legalities that are involved in starting your own business. I realize how boring this must seem, but in all actuality, once you start putting all these legalities together, you begin to realize the formation your business is taking. To SEE your business on PAPER is one of the most satisfying accomplishments you can make.

I must add that it is imperative for everyone to do this. Whether you are an independent distributor for an affiliate program or you have your own product you are marketing on the internet, it is still YOUR business, and legalities are of the utmost importance if you want to be serious about a successful business of your own. I don't want to damper your parade, but joining a program and promoting it on the internet is NOT a professional business. This is just something you are doing to make a couple extra bucks and no one will ever take you seriously.

So lets get down to it. The big question is What are some of these essentials we need to take into consideration before we can begin to take our business seriously?

1. Think of a NAME for your business. This will be your trademark. And the most FUN part of your business.

2. You need to decide whether you would like your company to be a Corporation, Partnership or a Sole Proprietorship.
Personally I recommend starting off as a Sole Proprietorship. The steps of making your business legal is far less complicated. Taxwise a corporation is more realistic, however, the legal steps and cost of becoming a corporation is very complicated and can be time consuming.

3. You need to register your business as a fictitious name. This is much easier than it sounds. In fact, just go to city hall and tell them you need to register a fictitious name. They will give you the paperwork to do so. It is approximately
$50.00. Then you will have to register your business in your local newspaper, which should only be around $30 to $40.
All details are including in the paperwork when registering your fictitious name.

4. You need to obtain an Occupational License. Most states require you to have your fictitious name information prior to this, so you may want to have that information on hand first. An Occupational license is alittle different in every state, so you may have to do some leg work on this. Some states require a county and a city occupational license. So it is important to ask that question. Normally City Hall takes care of your City Occupational License, then you can inquire about the legalities of a County License at that time and they will tell you where to go. The normal cost for an Occupational License is anywhere from $30 to $50. It is very easy to get the details of obtaining your license. Just call City Hall first and they will tell you what you need to do.

5. Open a Business Account. You will need all the paperwork above in order to open a business account. Many clients will want to make a check out to your business. Plus if you have a merchant account it will go right into your business account for quick reference. It is much easier to keep records of sales with a separate business account.

6. Medical Insurance. This is the biggest bonus of all. Because you go through so much to make your business legal,
now you know there are some perks. There are many health insurance companies that have Group Insurance for 1 person businesses. Normally they call it Group 1 Insurance. If you have a business account, all the above paperwork, you are well on your way to some GOOD health insurance. Some companies require you be in business for one year, but you will find some that do not. Individual insurance is HARD to get and very expensive. Plus there are so many limitations of coverage, it is not worth it. With Group 1 Insurance, it is like having insurance through another company as far as the benefits go. It is not that expensive, and the personal benefits of knowing you have good insurance because you legally registered your business, is well worth some of the aggravation you may have to endure.

7. You may also want to go to these websites to see what is required from the government. This is a lengthy subject and legal requirements change for each type of business. If you still have questions, the IRS provides help by email.
Small Business Info: ( IRS Site: (

8. If you are selling a physical product, it is important to obtain a Tax ID number. You can also inquire about this with City Hall on the steps you will need to take.

9. And the most important of all. Your Taxes. I am not going through all the legalities of this, but here are some important factors to consider. You MUST file taxes every year on your company. Some states require you to file quarterly. Do what you have to do, because it is essential. My suggestion is to get an Accountant at file time. You do not need a CPA. At least not in the beginning. There is too much room for error if you try it by yourself. You would not believe what I learned the first time around with my accountant. I found out I do not have to file Quarterly, because I am a sole proprietorship and I have no employees. One very important aspect....Keep record of ALL YOUR EXPENSES. Even the cost of your ISP each month is a necessity.

NOW, are you still ecstatic about starting your own business? Did you know so much was involved? Or did you think you can have an online business and NOT do this?

Everyone has their own opinion on this, however, if you want a Legal, Professional and Successful Business, put it into writing. Get your proper Licenses, Accounts and Insurance. You will be surprised of the advantages you will incur by becoming a professional businessperson.

About the Author
Debbie Solomon
Debbie is the Founder and originator of The Profit Zone: The source for FREE Marketing Tools. She is also the Creator of The HomeSource Arena, which is The Leading Source in Certified Home Employment, and owner of The Online Exchange Ezine, a Top Rated, world renowned Ezine. Please visit her site at: (


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