The Startup Checklist

The Startup Checklist: Building a Strong Foundation for Business

So, you’ve created a startup. Now what? This checklist is designed to help people who have just begun their business and aren’t sure where to proceed from here. There’s a lot of work to be done, but understanding the core aspects of your business strategy can help you make these decisions moving forward. Each item on this list is important for building a client base, producing a quality product and managing your finances.

Know Your Mission Statement

Does your company have a mission statement? If not, it should. The mission statement is a short statement that describes your business’s intentions and goals. Mission statements help set the tone for employees and for customers who want to know why your business exists and what your business can do for its clients.

Have A Business Plan That Fits Your Mission Statement

Your business plan is the key to your business’s success. Without a plan, the actions of your business may become random, ineffective and unproductive. A business plan is an all-encompassing document that describes the nature of your business, the mission of your business, long-term goals, financial information and other important details. An effective business plan is your road map to success. This is where many startups fail.

How do you write a business plan? Work with a business planner consultant or partner with a Small Business Development Center in your area for help and advice.

Develop Your Brand

A remarkable brand identity can help your small business stand out from the competition. Brand identity is what makes your company seem different, special and better than the other businesses in your field. Developing a brand is a multi-step process that continues for the life of your business.

  • Know your customers.
  • Target your advertising.
  • Develop a logo.
  • Choose the colors and style that project the character of your business (yes, this is actually important).
  • Reinforce your brand with all elements of design, from your website to buildings where your business is located.

Market Your Business

Marketing your business is important for growing your customer base. Marketing is done in many ways. Advertisements, blog posts, informational newsletters, emails and signs are all ways that many businesses market their services and attract new customers. Many modern forms of marketing focus on drawing customers to the business by providing quality content and information that customers need. This indirect form of marketing can help develop customer loyalty and trust, while also establishing a good reputation for the business.

Track Your Finances

Running a business is going to be more expensive than you think, and tracking your company’s profits is going to be more difficult than you know. Find out how much money your business is really making, how much you can plan to make in the future, how to track growth and how much you can afford to pay your employees. Be realistic, but don’t be so conservative that you never take any necessary risks.

Don’t Forget Your Taxes

Once your business is up and running, you’ll need to pay taxes and charge sales tax. Many businesses use tax/accounting software to help them stay within legal bounds. For startups, this is often essential. You’re spending your time managing and growing your company—time you spend elsewhere is time that could be used making a sale. Zip2Tax supplies sales and use tax rates by ZIP code to help your business charge the right amount of sales tax for each transaction. Moving forward with the right software can help your company start off business in the right way.

Greg Geilman is a Los Angeles native of over 40 years and owner of South Bay Residential.

Los Angeles County CA – Measure H

Los Angeles County CA – Measure H

Measure H goes into effect October 1, 2017

Los Angeles County CA – Measure H

Measure H, a sales tax measure to fund homeless services and prevention,  was on the ballot for Los Angeles County voters, on March 7, 2017 and was approved by the required two-thirds super majority.

The result is a 0.25% increase in the sales tax rate in Los Angeles County effective October 1st.  This will bring the rate in unincorporated Los Angeles County and incorporated cities lacking a district tax to 9.5%.

Some cities in the county, however, will not increase because they are already at the maximum combined district rate of 10.25%.  Those cities are:

  • Compton
  • Long Beach
  • Lynwood
  • Mirada
  • Pico Rivera
  • Santa Monica
  • South Gate

In the event that a local tax in the above named cities should expire, then the Measure H rate will kick in immediately.

Measure H is set to expire in ten years on September 30, 2027.

 

The result is a 0.25% increase in the sales tax rate in Los Angeles County effective October 1st.  This will bring the rate in unincorporated Los Angeles County and incorporated cities lacking a district tax to 9.5%.The result is a 0.25% increase in the sales tax rate in Los Angeles County effective October 1st.  This will bring the rate in unincorporated Los Angeles County and incorporated cities lacking a district tax to 9.5%.

Are Pumpkins Tax Exempt in the Fall?

pumpkins

In three states, Pumpkins Are Exempt from Sales Tax…Unless They’re For Carving.

Sometimes, sales tax laws just don’t seem to make sense. Like, who in Indiana thought it was so important to make a distinction between marshmallows and marshmallow creme?  Well, in Indiana, you’ll have to pay sales tax on your marshmallows, but your marshmallow creme gets off tax-free.

Pumpkins are exempt from sales tax in Iowa, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, but only if the pumpkins are for food rather than jack-o-lanterns.  Sounds like someone likes Thanksgiving more than Halloween!

To check out more weird tax laws click here.

10 weirdest sales tax laws pumpkins from zip2tax

Tax Changes for September 2017

Tax Changes for September 2017

Tax Rate Changes for September 2017

Only two states have tax changes for September 2017.

Sales Tax Rate changes in West Virginia

Tax rates changes were noted in Wayne and Wardensville counties effective September 1, 2017.

Find more information on West Virginia Sales Tax Rates:

West Virginia Sales Tax Rates 

September Sales Tax Rate Changes in Alabama

In the State of Alabama tax rate changes in September include the counties of Allgood and Greenville.

For the latest sales tax rates by state, visit our interactive sales tax rates by state page.

Find more information on Alabama Sales Tax Rates:

Alabama Sales Tax Rates 

ZIP Code Changes by State

There were 8 states with ZIP code changes effective after August 2017. These states with ZIP code changes include Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Puerto Rico and Texas.

Tax Rate Changes for September 2017

Sales Tax Calculator & Software

To easily calculate sales tax rates by state for your business, visit Zip2Tax.com.  Let Zip2Tax be the tax specialist for your company, freeing you to concentrate on what you are good at – growing your business.

For August’s changes click here.

In the State of Alabama tax rate changes in September include the counties of Allgood and Greenville.

State Sales Tax Holidays in 2017

Tax Holidays in 2017

Tax Holidays in 2017

STATEITEMS INCLUDED / MAXIMUM COSTMONTHDAYSLink to MORE DETAILS
AlabamaHurricane Preparedness
Generators - $1,000
Supplies - $60
February24 - 26Alabama Department of Revenue
AlabamaBack to School
Clothing - $100
Computers - $750
School Supplies - $50
Books - $30
August4 - 6Alabama Department of Revenue
ArkansasBack to School
Clothing - $100
School Supplies
August5 - 6Arkansas Department of Revenue
ConnecticutBack to School
Clothing and Footwear - $100
August20 - 26Connecticut Department of Revenue
IowaBack to School
Clothing - $100
August4 - 5Iowa Department of Revenue
LouisianaAnnual Sales Tax Holiday - $2,500
(2% rate reduction)
August4 - 5Louisiana Department of Revenue
LouisianaHurricane Preparedness - $1,500May27 - 29 Louisiana Department of Revenue
LouisianaFirearms
Ammunition
Hunting Supplies
(2% rate reduction)
September1 - 3Louisiana Department of Revenue
MarylandEnergy Star ProductsFebruary18 - 20Maryland Department of Revenue
MarylandBack to School
Clothing and Footwear - $100
August13 - 19Maryland Department of Revenue
MississippiBack to School
Clothing and Footwear - $100
July28 - 29Mississippi Department of Revenue
MississippiFirearms
Ammunition
Hunting supplies
August25 - 27Mississippi Department of Revenue
MissouriEnergy Star Products - $1,500April19 - 25Missouri Department of Revenue
MissouriBack to School
Clothing - $100
Computers - $1,500
School Supplies - $50
August4 - 6Missouri Department of Revenue
New MexicoBack to School
Clothing - $100
Computers - $1,000
Computer Equipment - $500
School Supplies - $30
August4 - 6New Mexico Department of Revenue
South CarolinaBack to School
Clothing
School Supplies
Computers
Other
August4 - 6South Carolina Department of Revenue
TennesseeBack to School
Clothing - $100
School Supplies - $100
Computers - $1,500
July28 - 30Tennessee Department of Revenue
TexasHurricane Preparedness
Generators - $3,000
Storm devices - 300
Preparedness items - $75
April22 - 24Texas Department of Revenue
TexasEnergy Star Products
Air conditioners - $6,000
Other - $2,000
May27 - 29Texas Department of Revenue
TexasBack to School
Clothing, backpacks and school supplies - $100
August11 - 13Texas Department of Revenue
VirginiaBack to School
Clothing - $100
School Supplies - $20
Energy Star Products - $2,500
Hurricane preparedness items - $60
Generators - $1,000
August4 - 6Virginia Department of Revenue

For further tax holiday information check out this article.

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