How to Make Your Business Legal

By Kimberley Borgens

Are you in business or are you just playing around and having an expensive hobby?

The Definition of the word business is the activity of providing goods and services involving financial and commercial and industrial aspects. The principal activity in your life that you do is to earn money.

One of the biggest challenges with starting your own business and becoming an entrepreneur for many is Getting Started! You know the actual getting of a client that pays you money. Until you get a client that lays down some cash you are still in the educational and planning phase of your business. There is nothing wrong with being in this phase but if you are spending money and not bringing in any money then you are a hobby business. The IRS doesn’t see you as a business and you can’t just write off expenses and think you will get a refund when you haven’t brought in any income in your business.

You may already have clients, you may be looking for clients to get you started. No matter where you are in this process you want to take the suggestions from other entrepreneurs that have made the mistakes and have learned what it takes to be successful.

It’s time for you to look at yourself from an honest perspective and ask yourself if you are a serious business owner. If that is your goal then it is time to do something about it.

It’s been said that somewhere between the ages of 40 and 50, most people have given up on their grandest dreams, compromised their deepest values, and have settled for their lowest expectations – or nothing at all.  People succeed in business when they get serious about it! 

If you are feeling overwhelmed by not knowing where to go next in business I am going to walk you through some of the key points to reduce your overwhelm and to guide you in setting your goals to get your business legal and legitimate. I speak to potential clients all the time who say “yes I am making money in my business and I know I need to start calling it a business and do the legal thing, but…” Time to stop the “but” and do the right thing!

You may already know some of this information however I am going to go over this to get you clear on your business.

Starting simple, what is the name of your business? Did you know that the name of your business is less important than how you market the name of your business? Think about Pepsi – you know the product, the logo, and colors. But how much time have you put into researching why they came up with that name? They have marketed it so much you KNOW the name and what it is. But the name is not a descriptor by itself. So don’t get too attached to the name of your business. Get attached to how you market it and how you represent your business with your name.

What is your:

·  Phone Number

·  Physical Address or PO Box

·  Office Hours

·  Email Address

·  Web Page

·  Blog

·  Podcast

(I recommend having a different email address for your business than your personal.  This way you do not overlap the two and are less likely to accidentally send them personal jokes or such that may lose a client’s trust.)

What kind of company do you have? 

·  LLC

·  Sole Proprietorship

·  Partnership

·  Corporation – C Corp or S Corp?

Set up a separate bank account for business. Do not intermingle your money. Trust me on this. You want to put your personal money in your personal account and your business money in your business account. (If you have two different personal accounts and one if for your business side and one is for your household size that is okay to start out but eventually you will want to open a business account.)

Do you have a system for your accounts receivables or payables?

Recommend Quicken, QuickBooks, or Bookkeeper

What is your system for receipts? When I started I used envelopes for each area and put receipts in them for my bookkeeper to verify my receivables and payables. Here are just a few of the many possible items you want to keep receipts for.

·  Expenses

o   Cell Phone

o   Digital

o   Vehicle Maintenance

o   Fuel

o   Rent

·  Insurance

·  Licenses

·  Supplies

·  Travel

·  Meals

·  Training

·  Trade Associations & Memberships

·  Education

·  Advertising

Let me talk a minute about insurance. Liability insurance for your business is a must if you own any assets! If you own a home, car, or anything of value if one client who gets mad at you could take it all!  You can purchase liability insurance for a couple of hundred dollars a year. Connect with your insurance provider to see what options are available in your state. I can not stress this enough!

Let’s talk licenses. Many cities and counties require that you have a business license to do business in your community. There may also be a home base tax that you must pay to have a home-based business. Find out from your licensing office what is needed. Call and ask “I am thinking about starting a home-based business, what is required from your office that I have”. Many areas will say you need nothing. However, I would check to make sure. Many cities have been cracking down on direct sales and home base businesses. If you have an open house or training at your home or anywhere in your city-limits they may want you to have a license. There are people watching social media for invites and sending letters telling you that you have no business license to sell from your home.

You might be thinking right now “Kimberley I do not have the money for all this right now”! Do not panic! I am not saying you need to go get a second mortgage out on your home. Put these items on your priority list and make progress to marking each one off your list.

1. Liability insurance

2. Licenses (City, State, Federal – whatever is needed for you to be a legitimate business.)

3. Memberships … and so on. 

Set a goal to get these things done. This is about your integrity and coming from a higher level of commitment to your business.  These may look like obstacles however as Randy Pausch of the Last Lecture says “obstacles are there to keep the other people out”. You put yourself above the rest in business when you come from integrity and are legit!

What is going to make you different from the other people in your area doing the same kind of business as you?  How will you stand out? Being legal in your business makes you stand out, has integrity, and gives you the truth. You don’t have to lie to cover anything up and most of the time people slip on lies and end up out of business and back in a job they don’t really want to be doing. How to make yourself legal in business – do the steps and get it done and then you go a little deeper and fill in more about what your business is about and who you work with.

  • Do you have a vision statement and a mission statement?  What is the vision you see for your business?  What are the core values that would bring out your mission statement?

·  What are your business ethics?  You will want to be clear on how you handle customer complaints and challenges. This is where knowing your core values will help you to define your ethics.

·  When are you available? Every day you must open the doors of your business. No one can go to a closed business. Set office hours or times when you answer your phone. You can have flexibility with this, however, you must set your business hours to be in business. Let people know when you are available to do client presentations, shows, or meetings. Make sure to follow up and stick to these the best you can. Be clear with your calendar. Know your schedule that way you can tell people right away if an appointment will work. The more you say I will have to get back to you the more likely they will find someone who can answer them now. We do live in a right now society so be prepared for it!

·  Do you have your information readily available? Are your contact information on your social media and website? Always carry business cards with you. Have your spouse put some of your cards in their pocket. My husband is really good for this one. He speaks about me and my business all the time and people ask him how they can get ahold of me and he whips out one of my business cards from his wallet. If I go somewhere and do not want to carry a purse I can rely on him to have a couple of cards in his wallet. I have some in my cars, my purse, jacket pocket, and cell phone case, always available to hand them out. People want you to be professional. Yes, you can do digital but then you have to remember their name or business name while searching to use their services. One time a gal wanted to do a “digital business card” to me and she sent me her whole phone contact list! That was a crazy mess to clean up! Having a business card is one way they look to see if you are really in business or just talking about your hobby.

·  Get support from your family. You may have to enroll them. The more serious you are about your business the more serious others will take you. Find a way to have your spouse support you. My husband picked up the kids from school every Wednesday because that is a very busy day for me. One night a week he took care of dinner so I could be on calls and go to networking meetings. Get your kids involved as well. They are great for filing, loading, typing, and doing odd tasks that can help you in your business.

Get committed! No more jumping from one business to another! Decide today that you will work towards business success and stay committed to the success of your business and your success.

A business is like a child. It is born from an idea in our hearts. We birth it and begin letting other people see us in action. We invest time, money, and heart into our business. We build up to it with character, morality and build confidence with our clients. It becomes a toddler, we have patience and experience passion and it begins to do the chores such as paying the bills. It continues to grow and we may have to hire someone to manage different areas for us. (Like going to preschool or school). We watch it grow and build up and become successful. If we turn our back on it, blow it off it will get into trouble! As it matures and builds trust more people want to be around our business, people refer others to enjoy the experience with us. We let our family hang around and we inspire others to raise up their businesses. We may grow up from being a small business and graduate to a large company. This process takes years, dedication, and time to make it reach its potential.

Be committed to your business as this is the inner child of your dreams that you are raising up!

A goal is a dream with a deadline.  Do not be afraid to set goals because you tell your sub-conscience that you should be afraid of your dreams.

A study was conducted on students in the 1979 Harvard MBA program. The students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing, and 84 percent had no specific goals at all.

Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. And what about the three percent who had clear, written goals? They were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.

In spite of such proof of success, most people don’t have clear, measurable, time-bounded goals that they work towards. It might be time for you to get some goals written down!

When you treat your business like a business you consistently set, write down, and go after your goals to be successful!

Small Adjustments Make a Big Difference. 

You do not have to go for the big shifts, start small, and do not allow yourself to get overwhelmed.

Dare to Be Different – What is going to set you apart from anyone else?

I once heard someone ask a health supplement consultant what makes you different from another health supplement company. Her answer was brilliant! She said I will give you great customer service and will follow through with what I say I will do.

Be Great at What You Do – You do not have to be perfect in your business you do want to go for excellence.  Keep striving to be better today than you were yesterday.

Review your business regularly

How was your business today?

On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate your satisfaction with your business?

If you said, ‘Less than 10’, my question would then be, what would a 10 look like to you?

Can you clearly describe what a 10 would look like in your business?

Maybe write down a few ideas.

What is it going to take for you to get to a 10?

What are 2 or 3 action steps that you could take in the next 72 hours that would improve your current score by at least a half or even a full point?

Action Steps: Individual steps that move you closer to your goal. These tactics are the day-to-day things you will be doing toward the achievement of your business goals.

“Your thoughts serve to either support your goals or sabotage them – what are your thoughts doing?”

Head over and join the Wisdom Highlight group on Facebook and share something that you have done to make yourself legal in your business this week.

Randy Pausch – The Last Lecture

Kimberley Borgens

About the author

Kimberley Borgens was married at 18, a mother at 19, and divorced at 20, she has journeyed from being a single mom on welfare to recognizing her strengths, fighting for what she believes in, and successfully building 5 thriving businesses with hundreds of employees and million-dollar budgets. Kimberley is a speaker, business mentor, and coaches her clients to transform their small business into a thriving business. Kimberley is living her own legacy as she inspires and motivates women to be fearless, become more like a CEO of their business and life, and enjoy the freedom they've dreamed of. She knows what it's like to start from nothing and build a strong solid business and she can help you too.

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