The Small Business Start-Up Kit: A Step-by-Step Legal Guide

Product Description
The best step-by-step guide to starting a business available!

Many people dream of running a business of their own -- but often don't know how to start. Sound familiar? This book can help.

User-friendly and loaded with tips, The Small Business Start-Up Kit shows you how to launch a business quickly, easily and with confidence. It explains in plain English how to:

choose the best business structure
write an effective business pl... More >> The Small Business Start-Up Kit: A Step-by-Step Legal Guide

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7 Responses to “The Small Business Start-Up Kit: A Step-by-Step Legal Guide”

  • Dave says:

    As much as I like this book it is not exactly “everything you need to start a small business.” On the other hand it is a well written and comprehensive guide that really does use plain English to explain a lot of obtuse steps and pitfalls. You will almost certainly need more professional help than you can get from this book, but this book does a pretty good job of guiding you to the help you need and avoiding the help you don’t. That can translate into a lot of saved attorney’s fees right off the bat. One less billed hour from your attorney will pay for this book. In that sense if you are starting a new business this book is pretty much free.

    The author is a law-school grad and business consultant who specializes in working with startups. She has written and edited other books for Nolo. All this comes out both the clarity of the writing and the command of the subject matter she clearly has. The book does a good job of covering all of the basics, and starts wisely with the most important topic: picking the right legal structure (which can save you a lot of pain later in the process). She moves on from there and touches on everything from taxes to marketing. Along the way you will find areas where you need to dig deeper, either with professional help or by getting additional guides (which Nolo of course, is happy to sell you). Nolo has been in this business for 40 odd years and stands out as one of the best in these business of “business self-help” books. One I would suggest as a companion to this is their excellent “How to Write a Business Plan” guide. This book has a section on business plans, but if you are going to be pitching your business to potential investors you’re going to need more. If you are just writing a plan to clarify your business model to yourself (a good idea) this book alone is enough.

    The included software, while handy for things like some basic legal forms, is no replacement for professional software or legal help. It is nice to see what kinds of forms you are going to need and that can focus you on exactly what you need to get out of an attorney. It’s amazing how much money you can save when you already know exactly what you want.

    All in all a priceless aid to starting up a new business.

    Rating: 5 / 5

  • Sidarta Tanu says:

    Nolo’s The Small Business Start-Up Kit – A Step-by Step Legal Guide is a complete guide for Small Business (and Business in general). This book is filled with useful “tips”, “cautions” and “examples” that makes it fun to read and easy to understand. This book doesn’t tell you what business to open, or what product and services to offer, but it pretty much cover everything else that you need to know about operating a small business. It also covers all the important forms and documents (tax forms, contract templates, EIN application, partnership agreement, buy-sell agreement entity classification etc). Many more relevant forms and document templates are in the CD-ROM (CD-ROM included). Some basic business financial planning are also covered such as cash flow projection, profit/loss forecast, break-even analysis, etc. I would recommend this book for current small business owners (who want to manage their business better) and for people who are thinking to open a small business.

    Here’s the content of this book:

    1. Choosing legal structure (SoleProp,Partership, LLP, LLC, S Corp, C Corp)

    2. How to pick a good business name (including choosing web domain name, and understanding Trademark Law and registration)

    3. Pick the right location and complying with zoning laws

    4. How to create an effective business plan (describing your business, making financial projection and analysis, raising money, etc)

    5. How to price, bid and bill projects

    6. How to comply with federal, state and local business start-up requirement

    7. Managing risk (Insurance, warranties, risk management strategies, lawsuit)

    8. Paying tax (income tax for different legal structures, sales tax, city and county tax)

    9. Special condition and restrictions for home based business

    10. How to enter into contracts and agreements

    11. Keeping the books (Accounting basic and accounting methods)

    12. How to market/advertise your business

    13. Promoting your business online (e-business)

    14. How to deal with changing ownership

    15. How to build your business and hire workers

    16. How to get and deal with professional help (lawyers, accountant and legal research)

    17. Small business resources and state by state contact information

    18. Tear out forms (tax forms etc)

    19. CD-ROM with more forms and document templates

    20. A useful Index

    All the best for your Small Business ventures!

    Sidarta Tanu

    Rating: 5 / 5

  • L. Gildart says:

    This is one of the best guides Nolo publishes. It is exquisitely plain-spoken and easy to read, and 99% of the advice is unimpeachable. The framework for deciding what form your business should take is excellent and accurate. The guide contains highly detailed plain English explanations of income, payroll, sales, and state and municipal tax implications, right down to the tax treatment of the sale of a home that was used partly for business.

    That is a deep discussion of the subject matter, and it’s thoroughly painless, as is the explanation of how to determine whether people who work for you are employees (for whom you must withhold and pay various taxes) or independent contractors. Again, it’s extremely well-written and to the point, with an easy-to-follow structure.

    I docked one star from the review for two reasons. One, the book is supposed to have forms, and it does, but they are not particularly helpful forms. Many of them are easily found on web search engines and free to download from government websites. The forms are still helpful, but you do not get much guidance as to when you will need more forms than what you have and where you will be able to find them.

    The second reason I did not give this book five stars is that it fils to mention some of the potential pitfalls of the advice it gives. For example, the author advocates for businesses to draft employee handbooks and refers the reader out to another Nolo publication. A sample included on the forms cd-rom would have been helpful, but even more helpful would have been mentioning that using an employee handbook can create, and has created, more problems than it solves for employers who (a) cannot draft clear text and (b) do not always follow their own rules.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  • George Grella says:

    SImply a great resource and a tremendous bargain. If you’ve made the decision to go into business for yourself, start with this book. The great value it provides is to help you think your way through things.

    The kit provides how-to answers, but mainly it provides the questions for you to think about in order to make the right decisions for yourself. The primary example is in how to organize yourself, as a corporation, an LLC? Pakroo explains what each is about and what they entail, in terms of time, administration, tax status, etc.

    Along with that kind of technical resource (including sets of forms for you to use), the book also guides you through both what a business plan is and how to create one, in detail, including income assumptions and projections that take a lot of the feeling of mystification away. He helps you along beautifully without being patronizing, and goes into detail as well about how to set up a web-based business, or at least a web aspect to your business, if you are considering that and the concept and tools are new to you.

    Excellent in every way; practical, informative, clearly written and a real bargain. The best of its kind.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  • K. Duvall says:

    This covers all legal aspects of getting a business started. Quite overwhelming and scary sometimes. But it brings to light all issues that need consideration before opening a business.

    I have passed this on to my brother in law, he is in the process of opening a business right now. I think it will help him have a profitable journey to running his own place.

    This book does not remove the need for real legal council if needed. But does help get your thoughts and actions going in the right direction.

    This provides a good reality check for folks toying with their own business idea.
    Rating: 4 / 5


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