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Useful Tips on Starting a Small Business in Chicago

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Do you want to make a living out of your passion?

Well, irrespective of how excited you are about your business plan, it will not be a success unless you come up with a plan for how you’re going to get it up and running small business in Chicago, Illinois.

It does not matter how long your plan is, or how much detail you put into it; it just has to contain a few important points. A majority of successful small businesses need to have a cash-flow analysis, a profit-loss forecast and a breakeven analysis. Particularly important is the cash-flow analysis because you might be making great sales, but if you’re paid after six months, you might go broke and have to fold the business.

A business plan is critical as it lets you test your business strategy on paper before running it in real life.


How Will You Make a Profit?

In the end, profit is the supreme objective of any successful small business. Evaluate your business expenses (employee wages, materials, rent, etc.) and determine how much in sales you will need to make to cover all those expenses and begin making a profit. This is known as the breakeven analysis.


Start Out With as Much of Your Own Money as Possible

Some small business owners rely entirely on loans to cover their startup costs, expecting to start repaying the loans as soon as they begin to generate profits. However, startups can take months, or even years to start generating profits, and loan repayments can hurt the fledgling business.

how to start a small business

You can help ensure that your startup doesn’t sink by saving up as much of the start-up capital as you can; also keep in mind that there’s always the chance that a financier will add unfavorable terms or call a loan in case your business does not succeed as you had planned. By providing as much of the startup capital as possible, you reduce the risk of such nasty surprises that may impede your business’s growth.


Protect Yourself

A majority of small businesses are partnerships or sole proprietorships. Although these types of businesses may not be difficult for you to form, they also expose you and your partner(s) to liability for the business’s judgments or debts. For instance, judgment holders and creditors can come after your assets, such as homes or savings accounts, in case the company goes bankrupt.

Even though insurance can reduce your liability to some extent, you may want to consider forming a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation. These business structures protect you from personal responsibility. Even so, there are more requirements and rules associated with them.

how to start a small business


Start Small

Every small business owner wants their startup to be a success, have numerous branches, hire many employees and earn a lot of revenue, but you need to learn to walk before you can run. In the beginning, don’t take on too many expenses or expand too fast, especially if your earnings might take some time to catch up to your goals.

By starting small, you can be sure to pull through the inevitable slip-ups that come with running a small business. The start-up owners who start out with modest businesses can recover and learn from their mistakes without suffering the burden of huge obligations.


Put It in Writing

Even though it might be nice to seal your business deals with a handshake, there is no substitute for having a well-written contract. Certainly, many contracts are void unless they are in written form, though the precise number of this type of contract depends on the state. Below are some common examples:

  • A transfer of ownership in real estate or copyrights
  • Contacts lasting more than one year
  • Sale of merchandise worth more than $500

Even though a contract can be valid when made orally, it is a lot more difficult to prove and enforce. So, get all your agreements in writing to save you stress down the line, and perhaps save your business.

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Maintain Your Edge

Some ways are available for maintaining a competitive edge in your industry: you could have a better grasp of the ever-shifting market, a more efficient distribution or manufacturing process, a better product, better customer service, or a more convenient location.

The most effective way of holding on to your competitive edge is by never divulging your trade secrets, meaning information that others are not privy to which provides you with a competitive advantage. Trade secrets are of many types and can be legally protected provided you take the necessary steps, including having employees sign nondisclosure agreements and marking confidential documents.

Remaining proactive is another effective means of maintaining your competitive edge. If you’re aware that your business will face encroachment by competitors, plan rather than waiting to react.


Hire the Right People

Instead of hiring the first candidate that comes along with the minimum qualifications you require, seek out someone with the personality, creativity, and motivation needed to succeed in your industry and fit in your company. After that, engage them, treat them well and ensure that you foster an environment in which they will thrive and give their best.


Ensure that You Create the Appropriate Kind of Employee Relationship

Rather than hiring people as fulltime employees, many businesses hire them as independent contractors to save money. The IRS imposes large penalties on business that fail to pay or withhold taxes for workers it considers fulltime employees rather than independent contractors.

Below are some aspects the IRS checks to determine whether a worker is a full-time employee or an independent contractor.

  • The worker only works for your business
  • The worker performs tasks that are essential to your business
  • The worker receives training and instructions from you, and you determine how the worker carries out their job
  • The worker works approximately 40 hours a week

Get Professional Legal Help

Even though you might be familiar with the laws and regulations affecting your business, it’s important to leave the details to the professionals.



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