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How to set up a legally, taxably sound small business

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You’ve come up with what you think is an excellent service or product, and now you want to turn your idea into a small business. There are a host of steps you must take to make your business legitimate, and one of those steps is determining the legal structure for your business. Your decision will determine how you will report your taxes. Your choice will also establish your legal obligations.

The easy route
If you have a simple service and are not selling highly regulated items like food or cars, just hang out a shingle. You don’t need a fancy legal structure to start in business. But the more complex and successful your business becomes, you will start to need the legal structure.

Of all the legal structures, the sole proprietorship is considered the most common because of the ease in setting it up. Also, the buck stops with you in that you have complete control of the business. On that same note, you are solely responsible for absorbing any, and all losses, that your business may incur. Mark Kalish, who was quoted in Entrepreneur magazine due to his experience in helping startups choose the appropriate legal structure, said sole proprietorships would always be his first option. This is his reasoning: “If you’re the sole proprietor and you own 100 percent of the business, and you’re not in a business where a good umbrella insurance policy couldn’t take care of potential liability problems, I would recommend a sole proprietorship. There’s no real reason to encumber yourself with all the reporting requirements of a corporation unless you’re benefiting from tax implications or protection from liability.”

More difficult structures
Corporations: Of all the structures at your disposal, forming as a corporation is one of the least attractive ways to go for most small business owners. The main reasons relate to the costs and the extensive amount of record keeping involved.


Then there is the issue of double taxation. If you form as a corporation, your corporation is taxed if it makes a profit. And then any dividends that are distributed to shareholders are also taxed.

Mitigating these challenges is that members of the corporation, shareholders, generally have no personal liabilities.

Partnerships: Unless you expect to have many passive investors, limited partnerships are generally not the best choice for a new business because of all the required filings and administrative complexities. If you have two or more partners who want to be actively involved, a general partnership would be much easier to form.

Good alternative
Observers point the S Corp structure as an alternative to the corporation. This formation allows you and your shareholders to pass profits, losses, deductions, and credits through to their shareholders to include on their personal tax returns.

The least liability
As its name states, the designation of being a limited liability company (LLC) means that you, as the owner, can’t be held personally liable for debts, or even court judgements incurred by your business. This is one of the reasons the structure is becoming the structure of choice for small business ow ners. Also, the LLC structure allows any profits and losses to be taxed through your personal federal tax returns, instead of the business itself being taxed.

Keep this in mind about LLCs. The IRS does not consider them to be a distinct separate entity for tax purposes, explains RocketLawyer.com. “This means that, at least initially, the IRS will not tax the LLC directly. Instead, members of the LLC get to determine how they want to be taxed. There are several options,” according to RocketLawyer’s website. These options include single member LLC, partnership, and corporation.

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How to buy a small business

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Business ownership is a dream for many people, and an alternative to starting from scratch is to buy an existing business. But where to begin?

First, with loads of due diligence. The more preparation, the better.

Your prep work starts with an honest look at your own experience, lifestyle, and desires to figure out what type of business you want to buy. It’s helpful to search for a business that aligns with your interests and skills.

Next, make sure you assemble a good team. An accountant will help you decipher financial information, and an attorney will help with negotiations and advice for structuring transactions.


You can search for available businesses in a number of places, from Craigslist to networking events and conferences. The website BizBuySell has thousands of listings.

When you do find one you’re interested in, the seller will likely ask you to sign a nondisclosure form or confidentiality agreement. The reason is that you’ll be privy to a lot of proprietary information that the seller wants to make sure remains private, should you decide not to buy.

You and your team will review financial and business documents to analyze the profitability of the business, as well as whether they’ve remained up-to-date on necessary licensing and forms.

Among others, these may include:

* Business licenses and permits

* Organizational paperwork

* Contracts and leases

* Financials, including tax returns, profit and loss statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, accounts payable and accounts receivable, debts, etc.

* Organizational chart

* Inventory and equipment status

* Insurance documents

* Client or customer lists

* Intellectual property

Finally, if you decide to buy, you’ll have a stack of paper to review before purchase. These include things like a bill of sale, transferring ownership of vehicles and equipment, the lease and more. You might also ask the seller to sign a non-compete agreement, so they don’t start a new business that competes with yours.

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Why you should work for a fast-growing company

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Is there a fast-growing company in your area that’s hiring? If you’re ambitious and love taking on new challenges, applying for a position with a business that’s undergoing major growth could be a great career move.

Environment
It can be exciting to join a company that’s developing quickly. For example, working to establish new products, services, territories, and markets can provide a unique challenge that keeps you on your toes. In addition, the dynamic atmosphere of a fast-growing company typically fosters strong bonds with co-workers and puts your skills to good use.

Conditions
In many cases, fast-growing companies attract talent by providing a range of employee benefits including competitive salaries, flexible hours, and the opportunity to work remotely. The company may also offer access to health facilities, free food, and other perks.

In short, joining a company that’s quickly growing could be a great opportunity.


If you’re hoping to make a career change, working for a fast-growing company is a great choice. You’ll have the opportunity to build new skills and grow your existing talents.

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Robotics fills bill; workers are hard to find

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Find it, pick it, pack it, ship it.

That is the routine for warehouse work, and robots are coming to the rescue in an industry that just can’t hire enough humans.

Companies are investing millions in warehouse robots to pick up the slack in enormous storage and shipping facilities.

According to the International Federation of Robotics, a single robot saves up to 18 miles of employee walking, increasing picking productivity by two or three times.


In 2018, according to Stord.com, there were 400,000 robots installed per year globally. By 2022, that number will grow to 584,000 units.

In fact, robotics has come to the rescue of North American warehouses, which are struggling to find labor. In the U.S., warehousing companies added about 168,000 jobs between April 2020 and April 2021, a 13.6 percent increase. But sector payrolls contracted by 4,300 jobs from March to April, according to a preliminary report from the Department of Labor. Logistics employers simply can’t find enough staff to keep pace with demand. Logistics staffing firm ProLogistix says the average starting pay for warehouse workers was $16.58 an hour in April 2021. That is up nearly 9 percent from April 2020.

According to the Wall Street Journal, warehousing demand has been driven forward dramatically by the pandemic, which created a surge in online demand while shrinking the supply of available workers. It’s not that robots are taking human jobs so much as there aren’t humans to fill them.

Logistics providers are looking into remotely operated forklifts in warehouses that can be controlled from anywhere in the world using real-time video and audio. This could allow automation companies to find workers in areas of the employment market not usually tapped by warehousing, such as disabled workers.

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4 benefits of working for a family business

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No matter what industry they’re in, family businesses are unique. If you’re looking for a new job, here are some of the advantages of working for one.

1. They offer a sense of belonging. If you don’t want to feel like a number, joining a family-owned business is the right choice. You’ll likely be part of a small, close-knit team that’s truly invested in your well-being.

2. They subscribe to strong values. Family businesses are generally driven by strong values such as reliability, trust, respect, solidarity, and transparency. These values are reflected in the way they treat their customers, suppliers, partners, and employees.

3. They tend to endure for a long time. Since family businesses are passed down from one generation to the next, they continue to develop and grow over the years. This changing of hands keeps things fresh and ensures the company continues to thrive.


4. They have a good reputation. Family businesses have a strong interest in protecting their reputation to encourage pride in the family name. They not only want to present a positive image to their customers, but they also want their employees to speak well of them.

If you want to be part of a company run by a devoted and caring team, consider working for a family business.

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Studies search for causes, solutions to truck driver shortage

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There aren’t enough big rig drivers now, and there haven’t been enough drivers for a long time.

In 2019, the trucking industry was short 61,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Association (ATA). The association estimates a shortage of 160,000 drivers by 2028.

Trucks carry more freight across the country than every other mode of transportation combined, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. About 3.8 million drivers haul 71 percent of U.S. freight.

So there is plenty of work. Driver pay averages $47,000 a year, somewhat higher than the average of $42,000 across all occupations. It works out to about $22 an hour.


According to the ATA, the driving force is older, an average of about 46 years old. The industry is not attracting enough young people. At least one of the reasons is mandatory regular drug testing, something some industry leaders say should be strengthened.

While people who enter the trucking industry can be quite loyal to it, people still have to be 21 to drive. The ATA is working to lower that age to 18. Safety advocacy groups have argued that young truck drivers are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says that wages have not kept up with inflation. The association also cites problematic working conditions, since drivers must spend long hours away from home.

A Loyola University study points the finger at federal regulations for the long periods of downtime away from home. Regulations can make it difficult for drivers to drive at the best times, and drivers can be stranded for days away from home. For example, a driver who stops work on Friday morning may have to wait until Monday rush hour to get back on the road. For drivers paid by the mile, being stuck in traffic can chop $2 an hour off their pay.

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All the kids are doing it: How short videos can help your small business

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It sprang onto the scene with goofy dance trends and questionable dares, but TikTok and other short video platforms have evolved — and can offer an edge to the creative business owner.

The dancing and pranks aren’t going anywhere, but they now share space with more cerebral users. Social media algorithms reward accounts that incorporate video into their feeds, meaning your posts will gain more traction and reach more people than a static image. Instagram and Twitter have each introduced short-form videos into their repertoire this past year.

Not sure what content to publish? Remember the philosophy of ‘show, don’t tell.’ Brainstorm visual ways to show off your business and company.

Here are some ideas:


* Behind the scenes videos, showing viewers your office or desk, taking them into the kitchen or the factory, under the hood of the car.

* Consider a series of tips, offering snippets of bite-sized advice.

* Summarize an event with scenes from the day.

* Tease an upcoming sale, event, or expansion.

* Show the progress of a renovation, whether that’s a remodel of your home office, a new fire pit or a commercial building.

* Answer questions. Ask viewers to submit questions and answer them via video.

* Feeling brave? Go ahead and jump on a dance trend! You can easily find the latest trending videos and songs and add your own take to it. Or you can do a split-screen video in which you dance along or react to someone else.

* Speaking of reactions, reaction videos are big. They don’t have to be dances. You can react to a short news clip or speech snippet, visually and/or with your own comments.

* Remember to use captions. Studies show that up to 80 percent of people scroll through their phones without the sound on. Most videos incorporate easy text graphics to display words and titles, and you can also use closed captions.

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Upcoming Events

Sep
23
Thu
6:00 pm Monument to Mosby’s Men Ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery
Monument to Mosby’s Men Ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery
Sep 23 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Monument to Mosby’s Men Ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery
The Col. John S. Mosby Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, will lead the annual “Monument to Mosby’s Men Ceremony” commemorating the fallen of Mosby’s command at 6 pm on Thursday, September 23rd, at Front Royal’s[...]
Sep
25
Sat
10:00 am 3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
Sep 25 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
3rd Annual French & Indian War Weekend @ Abram's Delight
Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26, from 10 am to 5 pm. 18th Century Colonial encampments with historical interpretation of British, French and Native Americans on the Western frontier of the Virginia Colony during[...]
10:00 am National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 25 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
National Public Lands Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. A blight decimated American Chestnut trees in North America in the 1920s. One hundred years later, Sky Meadows State Park has teamed up with the Virginia Chapter of the[...]
11:00 am Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sep 25 @ 11:00 am – 3:00 pm
Friends of Sky Meadows Farm Market @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Stop by the Friends of Sky Meadows Farmer’s Market for tasty preserved products, heirloom vegetables, eggs and more. Pick from seasonal vegetables grown in Sky Meadows’ authentic Kitchen Garden, July through September. Grab[...]
Sep
26
Sun
10:00 am 3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
3rd Annual French & Indian War W... @ Abram's Delight
Sep 26 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
3rd Annual French & Indian War Weekend @ Abram's Delight
Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26, from 10 am to 5 pm. 18th Century Colonial encampments with historical interpretation of British, French and Native Americans on the Western frontier of the Virginia Colony during[...]
Sep
27
Mon
2:00 pm Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
Sep 27 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Trauma-Informed Training @ ONLINE
WARREN COALITION OFFERS FREE TRAUMA-INFORMED TRAINING IN SEPTEMBER Have you ever felt alone? Do you wonder why you react the way you do? Do you work with children? If you answered yes to any of[...]
Sep
28
Tue
7:00 pm Community Parent Night @ Dominion Ridge Academy
Community Parent Night @ Dominion Ridge Academy
Sep 28 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Community Parent Night @ Dominion Ridge Academy
Dominion Ridge Academy is proud to host this free community event for parents featuring international speaker, author, and comedian Christopher O’Shaughnessy. Come enjoy an evening of laughter and inspiration as Chris addresses the themes of[...]
Oct
2
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4:00 pm Oktoberfest: Family Fun Day @ Wakefield Country Day School
Oktoberfest: Family Fun Day @ Wakefield Country Day School
Oct 2 @ 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Oktoberfest: Family Fun Day @ Wakefield Country Day School
October 2, 2021 from 4pm-8pm All are welcome to attend the 2nd Annual Oktoberfest at Wakefield Country Day School. Loosen your Leiderhosen and get ready for Oktoberfest! This year, the Edelweiss Band is coming to[...]
Oct
14
Thu
5:00 pm 6th Annual Wine Pull @ Front Royal Golf Club
6th Annual Wine Pull @ Front Royal Golf Club
Oct 14 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
6th Annual Wine Pull @ Front Royal Golf Club
Last year we did not get to hold our annual Wine Pull due to COVID. We are so excited that we are able to have this fun fundraising event this year, so be sure to[...]
Nov
6
Sat
9:00 am Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth C... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Nov 6 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Fall Wild Edible Plants: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Carriage Barn. Sky Meadows State Park provides a unique opportunity to explore the rich natural diversity of the region. Join professional outdoor instructor Tim MacWelch to learn about the remarkable fall wild[...]