PROTECT YOURSELF: Things to think about when starting your business... When starting your business, think about the ways in which you can and should protect yourself, your personal assets and your family. 1. Make sure you chose the appropriate corporate form. It is essential that you have these protections in place to ensure that someone suing your business cannot reach your personal assets, whether it is an LLC, LLP, Inc. corp. etc. Without a corporate protection in place, someone targeting your business persona will be able to reach your personal assets. 2. Get a tax identification number from www.irs.gov. Then get a separate bank account in your business' name using that tax i.d. number. It is imperative that you keep your personal and business funds separate and avoid co-mingling at all costs. This is true even if you have an existing business and are looking to start a new one-everything must be separate! 2. Gather your advisors such as an accountant/book keeper, lawyer, mentor, insurance agent etc. Meet with them frequently to review your books, your status and needs. 3. Obtain the necessary insurances such as a general commercial liability policy, premises liability policy, errors and omissions/malpractice insurances etc. This is a small price to pay for having another layer of protection between you and your business. 4. Ensure that your record keeping is up to snuff-i.e., chose your software carefully to make sure that it is well suited for your business needs. Not all programs are a perfect fit for your needs and the best way to find out is to ask around. 5. Make sure you have WRITTEN contracts with your customers, vendors, employees, sub-contractors etc. It is essential to have a written RULE BOOK to guide each of these relationships. If you have employees, make sure you have a handbook. If you have customers, make sure they understand the scope of work, the payment terms, the time for payment and what happens if they don't pay. These are some simple tips on getting your business up and running.