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1. Start-up costs

This video explains how to track and record business start-up costs. Start-up costs are those costs you incur prior to your business official start date. They are handled a little differently than the costs you incur after your business is operational. 

Start-up cost free spreadsheet

2. Choose form of business

There are many options for your business entity. The right option is the one that is best for you, the business owner. It is important to get legal and tax advice, but first know the options, how they work and that will help you determine what questions to ask. 

Read this blog post to understand the options >>>

Note: Some states, counties, cities, towns require a business license, but many do not. The requirements can vary based on the type of industry and form of business. If you are unsure, search online "business license" and separately search your state, county, city or town names. You can call your local business or zoning office to inquire as well. Home offices may need a permit or permission. 

3. Get an EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a type of Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). A social security number is another type of TIN.

Business owners get an EIN to avoid using the owners social security number, and it is usually required by the IRS or banks. A sole proprietor or individual EIN is linked to the owner themselves. An LLC, S-Corp or C-Corp EIN is tied to the business itself, not the owner. 

Official EIN online application (free)

Don't get scammed

Scam sites have "IRS" or "" in the web address and they will charge a fee for applying for the EIN for you. However, the EIN on the IRS site is free and easy to get. You will spend as much time filling out the form on a scam site as you would getting the EIN itself. Ensure you get a free EIN directly from the official IRS site.

4. Open a business bank account

Keeping business transactions separate from personal transactions is critical to having good books and records for your business. If you have an LLC, entity taxed as an S-Corp or a C-Corp you want your business to own the accounts.

Your bank will expect business to be conducted through a business account. You may also want to consider opening a business savings and a business credit card. 

If you are considering the Profit First you will need more than 3 accounts. There are resources for using Profit First and other cash management methods in the Simple Profit membership. Managing your cash flow is an important part of managing your business.

5. Business Deductions

It can be challenging to know what expenses can count as business deductions. Here are three resources. to help: 


6. Choose an accounting method

There are three methods of accounting: accrual, cash and modified/other. Most small businesses use cash method accounting. Cash method is the simplest, and ensures you won't pay tax until you have actually collected the revenue.

If you are unsure which to choose, it is likely best to choose the cash method because it is the easiest to understand. 

7. Choose an accounting system

An accounting system is a process of tracking and categorizing financial transactions. If you use an electronic health or medical record or client management system, you still need an accounting system. An accounting system links or summarizes information that passed through your business accounts

If you use an accountant or tax preparer, speak with them before choosing an accounting system. They may have a recommendation, offer a discount or want to have remote access so it is best to at get their input. 

For help with bookkeeping, consider joining the Simple Profit membership

8. Determine owner pay

How you pay yourself as a business owner depends on your form of business. Watch the videos below to understand your options. Owners Pay video is a general overview, and Owner Payroll is about establishing a reasonable salary for an S-Corp or C-Corp owner. 

9. Pay estimated taxes

The IRS and states who collect income tax expect self employed individuals to pay estimated tax periodically during the year. 

Get the Estimated Tax tutorial in the membership

10. Explore Simple Profit resources!

Simple Profit has tons of resources to help the small business owner!

Free searchable answers basic business questions!
Simple Guide
Blog posts on business deductions and tax topics!
Affordable education and support for small business owners!
Videos on business deductions, owners pay and more!