Day 10: OPERATION: Create Your Own Path





It's day ten of our month long event, and today our featured military spouse small business owner hits on one of the unique challenges of owning a small business as a military spouse....PCSing. And anyone who has been through a PCS can tell you that getting organized and knowing the steps you need to follow can help ensure your household goods and your family make it to your next duty on time and without any major issues.


Setting up a business is very much the same. And with each move, many of the steps must be repeated. Jennifer offers some things to think about when you move, and we've followed her words of wisdom with a list of steps, chock full of resources and tools from the Small Business Administration to help you set up and move your business.



Jennifer Speer

Soaring Pride Designs


"Make sure it is something you love and are passionate about doing. It will take a lot of hard work and long hours to get things up and running, perhaps a significant monetary investment, and it may take a while or longer before you see decent returns and profit. You may need to apply for a new business license and rebuild your customer base each time you PCS. I am not only passionate about creating art and designing, but about my military pride subject matter as well. Being in love with what you are doing makes it so much easier to push through all of that, and helps you stay committed, determined, and strive to new heights to build your business."



Caron Beesley

Small Business Owner, Writer, Marketing Communication Consultant


Starting a business? Confused about the planning, legal and regulatory steps you should follow?

Did you know that home-based businesses are required to hold permits to operate legally in most states? What about incorporation? Many new businesses assume they need to incorporate or become an LLC from the get-go – but the truth is, more than 70 percent of small businesses are owned by un-incorporated sole proprietors (although even this group is required to register their businesses).


So, variables aside, there are still some fundamental steps that any business needs to follow to get started. SBA has compiled 10 steps that can help you plan, prepare, and manage your business – while taking care of the startup legalities.  Not all these steps will apply to all businesses, but working through them will give you a sense of what needs your attention and what you can check off.


Step 1 – Write a Business Plan

Yeah, yeah, you know you should write a business plan whether you need to secure a business loan or not. The thing is, a business plan doesn’t have to be encyclopedic and it doesn’t have to have all the answers. A well-prepared plan – revisited often – will help you steer your business all along its growth curve. Try to think of your business plan as a living, breathing project, not a one-time document. Break it down into mini-plans – one for marketing, one for pricing, one for operations, and so on. Take a look at SBA’s Business Planning Guide for more ideas.


Step 2 – Get Help and Training

Starting a business can be a lonely endeavor, but there are lots of free in-person and online resources  that can help advise you as you get started.  Check out what‘s offered at your Small Business Development Centers; SCORE (which offers free mentoring services); Women’s Business Centers, or your local SBA office.


Step 3 – Choose Your Business Location

Where you locate your business may be the single most important decision you make. Many factors come into play such as proximity to suppliers, the competition, transportation access, demographics, and zoning regulations. Check out SBA’s Tips for Choosing a Business Location and this blog: How to Choose the Best Location for your Business.


Step 4 - Understand your Financing Options

You may choose to bootstrap, fall back on savings, or even keep a full-time job until your business is profitable, but if you are looking for an external source of financing, these resources explain your options.


Step 5 – Decide on a Business Structure

Going it alone or forming a partnership? Thinking of incorporating? What about an LLC? How you structure your business can reduce your personal liability for business losses and debts.  Some choices can give you tax benefits. To help you determine the right structure for your business, here’s an overview of your options and some information on how to file the necessary paperwork in your state and the tax implications of your decision. You might also want to read:

LLCs Explained: A 101 for Small Business Owners

Should You Incorporate Your Freelance or Consulting Business?

“Working Together” – How to Start and Formalize a Business Partnership


Step 6 – Register Your Business Name (“Doing Business As”)

Registering a “Doing Business As” name or “trade name” is only needed if you name your business something other than your personal name, the names of your partners, or the officially registered name of your LLC or corporation. Here’s how to register your “Doing Business As” name.


Step 7 – Get a Tax ID

Not every business needs a tax ID from the IRS (also known as an “Employer Identification Number” or EIN), but if you have employees, run a business partnership, a corporation or meet certain IRS criteria, you must obtain an EIN from the IRS. You’ll also need to start paying estimated taxes to the IRS; this blog explains more about this process.


Step 8 – Register with Tax Authorities

Employment taxes, sales taxes, and state income taxes are handled at the state-level. Learn more about your state’s tax requirements and how to comply.


Step 9 - Apply for Permits and Licenses

All businesses, even home-based businesses, need a license or permit to operate. This guide explains more and includes a handy “Permit Me” tool that lets you determine what your permit and licensing needs are, based on your zip code and business type.


Step 10 - Hiring Employees

If you’re hiring employees, follow these 10 steps. If you’re working with a contractor or 1099, read 5 Things to Know About Hiring Independent Contractors.


Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed.

We want to thank the SBA for allowing us to share this outstanding resouce with you. For more great information about how they can help you start and grow your small business. Visit them online at or follow them on twitter



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