By: Janice Dantes
I recently attended a panel about entrepreneurship hosted by the Small Business Administration (SBA). I could not help but think about how few Filipino entrepreneurs I know. It is also not encouraged as a viable career path like nursing. As a result, I find that there are few resources available to Filipinos wanting to start businesses. Also, many beloved Filipino businesses are not owned by Filipinos (e.g. Jollibee).
Below are my tips for starting a business:
1. Name your Business. Think of a name for your business that is not already taken. Once you have a name, search the Secretary of State’s Illinois Corporation search to make sure it is not already taken. For example, if you are starting an independent coffee shop, you cannot name your business Starbucks unless you want to franchise.
2. Obtain an EIN from the IRS. Once you have a business name, obtain an EIN from the IRS. An EIN is essentially a tax identification number for the business. This way, you will not be using your personal social security number for tax purposes. This also ensures a designation between you and your business.
3. Decide on the business entity you want to create. There are several kinds of business entities including a sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Professional Corporation (PC), S Corporation, and varieties of partnerships. I would recommend speaking with a lawyer and accountant to determine what business entity is right for you.
4. Get Insurance. Whether you are a sole proprietorship or corporation, make sure you get some kind of liability insurance. If you are a professional (lawyer, doctor, dentist), make sure you have malpractice insurance. If you operate a restaurant or other establishment, make sure you have business insurance to protect you if someone is hurt at your business. Again, I recommend speaking to an attorney about protecting your business.
5. Start a separate bank account for your business. Do not mix business with pleasure. Keep all business expenses and income separate from your personal expenses and income. This not only creates more ease when filing taxes, but it also provides protection to ensure that you are not personally liable for expenses of your business (also known as piercing the corporate veil). Once you have an EIN, you can speak with a bank to start a business account.
6. Hustle, Hustle, Hustle. Businesses do not build themselves. When you start your business, you have to actively promote it to ensure you have clients or customers. Be patient. Most businesses close because the owner was not patient enough to weather the storm of little to no income. If you feel that you need help with your business, I recommend working with a business consultant to assist you in creating a plan to promote your business.
If you want to start a business, please contact me at (312) 546-5077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for reading. Until we meet again, love one another.