1. Can I go it alone & if not, what legal arrangements might I need? If you are not going to be a one-person operation, will you need a partner? An equal partner? How will you decide how work/finances are divided? If hiring employees, are you familiar with the laws about hiring, firing, overtime and other workplace issues?
2. Where will my work come from and will my plan get me in trouble? Don’t just assume that you can take your customers with you if you leave your present job. Are you under any type of non-solicitation agreement from a current or former employer? What advertising restrictions, if any, govern your field?
3. Do I need a business entity to be formed? Whether you need to stay a sole proprietorship or set up a formal LLC or other business entity deserves some consideration. A business attorney can consult with you and go over all the benefits of each choice.
4. What are the Federal tax requirements? If you’ve always been an employee, you’ll need to become familiar with a whole new set of laws. You’ll also need to discuss tax considerations when you decide whether or not to set up as an LLC or other entity.
5. What are the state requirements? You’ll need to become familiar with the Texas Workforce Commission, state laws, tax liabilities and reporting requirements for your business, as well as any licensing laws and industry requirements (such as TABC licensing for serving alcohol).
6. What are the local requirements? Do you need a local license for what you do? How about a building permit for renovations or an alarm permit for your security system? Do you need to file an assumed name certificate in your own (and possibly other) counties?
7. What are the industry requirements? Depending on your past experience, you may have this one all figured out. But if you are stepping into a new territory, there may be some things you haven’t even considered. If you are a licensed professional, don’t forget to review rules and regulations published by your licensing board.
8. How can I manage my risk? This may include having contracts drawn up to use with your suppliers or customers, creating a safety program for your workers, and making sure you have an emergency plan written out.
9. How can I keep up with the management requirements? You must be organized if you are going to be successful in your business. What tasks can you do, which tasks can you delegate, and which tasks can you hire out?
10. Where can I get support? Having a business attorney you can trust, an accountant or bookkeeper on your side, and other business people to ask for advice can be a tremendous time and money-saver.