Chapter 7

Structuring Your Business

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

—William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2

As you begin to build the foundation for your small business, one of the first decisions you will need to make is the legal form that your business will take. You have four options: it can be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company, or some type of corporation. This chapter will help you make that important decision. However, as each business form has its own unique legal and financial ramifications, and although you can theoretically make a choice based on your supposition about what is right for your business, it is better to do so in conjunction with a lawyer and an accountant.

Sole Proprietorships

A sole proprietorship is the cheapest and easiest form of business that you can start. All you need to do is name the business, get a business license from your city or county, publish a fictitious business name statement in a local newspaper, open your doors, and you are, quite literally, in business. It should cost about $100 to start a sole proprietorship.

Self-Employment

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 23 million of the 29 million small businesses in the United States are self-employed, single-person businesses. If this describes you, then you might want to check out my new website just for you—TheSelfEmployed.com. It is chock-full of information and special offers specifically for the solo-business people out there. ...

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