50+ Entrepreneurs

The selection of a business entity (form) will affect your exposure to personal liability, how you draw profits and pay taxes, your ability to raise capital, how you run your business, and how difficult it is for business reporting.

Generally, all businesses fall into one of these broad categories: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Corporation, or Corporation.

A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business owned by one individual. A partnership is a legal entity existing between two or more persons who join to carry on a trade or business.

If financial problems have overwhelmed your finances, Bankruptcy may be an option.  Read some of the basics here.

http:// http://www.nhbar.org/for-the-public/bankruptypamphlet.asp

IRS Tax Center:  Employee vs Independent Contractor

It is important you understand the rules for an employee versus who may be an Independent Contractor.  The IRS defines it on this site.

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=99921,00.html

IRS Tax Center:  Frequent Questions

This page has a lot of the key questions we hear.  Check it out.

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/index.html

IRS Tax Center:  Forms & Publications

You no longer need to visit the IRS to find the forms you need!

http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/index.html

IRS Tax Center:  Key Business Taxes

Here are the main types of taxes you need to think about.   Some depend on what business structure you choose.

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98966,00.html

IRS Tax Center:  Starting a Business

Taxes are an important part of your new business.  The IRS works hard to help.  If you do the right things, you'll save money and hassles.

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=110417,00.html

Provides easy and comprehensive access to small business legal information. Business Law, Intellectual Property Law, Bankruptcy Law, and other areas are covered. Also section on forms and contracts.

http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/

This template can be used to calculate the projected profit of 3 years. 

A long term forecast is not a necessary part of a basic business plan. However, it is an excellent tool to help you open up your thinking about the company's future. Furthermore, venture capitalists will almost always want a long term forecast to get a feel for growth prospects.

The further out you forecast, the less accuracy you can maintain, so use round numbers, except where you know exact amounts; e.g.: rent expense if you have a long term lease.

This template can be used to calculate the opening day balance sheet.

This template is for the loan amortization schedule.

SCORE Mentors Service West Delivery Express to Success

There was a time when Sandra Lowe, self-described “owner, operator, manager, president, CEO, floor sweeper and toilet cleaner” of Service West Delivery Express just threw up her hands, unsure of what to do next. Just a few years after purchasing her new business, Sandra faced the reality of a rise in gas prices and interest rates, and to her knowledge, the “first-ever truck-driver shortage in the history of the United States.”

Owner/Founder
Sandra Lowe
My Location
Phoenix AZ
United States
My Successes

After coming out of retirement to purchase Service West about 10 years ago, Sandra, now 65, quickly realized that the delivery industry was more than just picking up, dropping off and driving trucks—all of which she knew how to do. The company’s annual revenue dropped, increased, then dropped again, and Sandra was basically stumped on what to do next. “My biggest mistake was to think I knew what I was doing,” she says.

The economy has certainly taken its toll on Sandra and Service West, but with her crucial blend of energy, business knowledge and dependable employees, they are forging ahead. In fact, Sandra stresses the motivation to provide her loyal employees with an environment where they can continue to be productive and in which she can keep rewarding their loyalty are two of the things that keep her going, day in and day out.  

Sandra still works 12-hour days, and hopes to soon take her business to the point where she can either pass it on to her family or sell it. She also still meets with two members of SCORE at least twice a year, and acknowledges with gratitude their guidance and encouragement.

How SCORE Helped

Based on the recommendation of a close friend, Sandra came to the Greater Phoenix SCORE. As so often happens when SCORE becomes involved, the resulting plans and goals have provided invaluable clarity and direction. SCORE immediately set Sandra up with their SMART group, designed to look at every aspect of her business and makes recommendations on what to do next. Soon, seven members from SCORE came in and analyzed everything from Service West’s financial records and marketing to the company’s trucks, and came up with the report that would eventually stabilize them.

With the help of SCORE, Sandra was able to make a number of tough decisions and keep her business intact. She relegated almost all aspects of the courier service to focus more on the other facets of her business. She also now leases trucks instead of owning them, a move that helps to combat the constant cost of maintenance and the associated loss of delivery capability, as well as the loss of customer trust.

“Everybody who asks, I say, ‘You’ve gotta go to SCORE,’” she says.

Form 22         Model for Chapter Bylaws Form

Sylvan Learning Center Franchise

Taking early retirement after more than three decades of working in the Lawton, OK, public school system didn’t mean that Howard and Jo Jean Johnson were ready to slow down.   They dreamed of starting a business that would fill a need in the community and provide them with a successful career change.  The ideal solution was to open a franchise of Sylvan Learning Centers, the world’s leading provider of supplemental education services to primary and secondary school students.

Owner/Founder
Howard and Jo Jean Johnson
My Location
Lawton OK
United States
Employees
35
Year Company Formed
1998
My Successes

The first task for the Johnsons was convince Sylvan’s corporate officials in Baltimore that Oklahoma’s third largest city qualified for a franchise. “Sylvan’s demographic review indicated that Lawton was indeed a viable location for its third Oklahoma Learning Center,” Howard says. “It was up to Jo Jean and me to make it happen.”

Having worked with community education during his years as a school administrator, Howard knew all about SCORE and the valuable services the organization provides to new entrepreneurs.  But he was in for a surprised when he called SCORE’s Lawton Chapter. “The man who picked up the phone turned out to be Vic Yarborough, my family’s next-door neighbor when I was growing up,” Howard says with a smile. “He and his colleagues would a tremendous help in getting us started.”

More than four years after contacting SCORE, the Lawton Sylvan Learning Center serves approximately 150 students each month with after-school help reading and math, as well as other academic needs.  In terms of revenue, the Johnsons’ franchise ranks among the leading 35 percent of Sylvan’s more than 900 Learning Centers in North America, putting the couple more than halfway on the road to repaying their bank loan.  They also purchased a new building that gives them an additional 1,500 square feet of much-needed space for their growing business.

What's Great About My Mentor?

Vic Yarborough, a retired executive with Halliburton Services, immediately enrolled the Johnsons in several seminars that provided advice on banking, legal issues and zoning.  As with most of new enterprises, though, the big issue was money.  “Vic put us in touch with a bank and helped us prepare the business plan for the loan application,” Howard says.  “That led to an SBA-backed loan that we used to pay the franchise fee, lease a building, do the build-out, purchase equipment, meet city zoning requirements and meet our other start-up costs.”

How SCORE Helped

The Johnson’s still call on SCORE occasionally when a question arises about management or finances.  Howard is also pleased that his search for a new business advisor reconnected him with an old family friend.  “I was so happy when Vic stopped by recently to tour our new building,” he says.  “The expert, caring help he and his colleagues at SCORE provided was absolutely essential to our success.  They have been helpful from the get-go.”

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