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May 27, 2011 > Surviving the Recession by Starting Your Own Business

Surviving the Recession by Starting Your Own Business

By Alan L. Olsen, Managing Partner, Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen and Co., LLP

Are you an entrepreneur at heart? Many Americans idolize the American Dream; the "get rich quickly" mentality. But, how many make it happen? Starting a business requires hard work; and even then it is not guaranteed that it will succeed. In fact, in the US, only 51% of businesses survive past their first five years of start-up1. So, how do you start a business that will thrive? There is no perfect formula, but the following tips may help you with your start-up:

1. Write a Business Plan. A business plan is a formal document which includes business goals and the plans for reaching those goals. When writing your business plan be sure to include the purpose of your business, operational and financial objectives, and a marketing plan. For more information on how to write your business plan see http://www.groco.com/readingroom/businessplan.aspx.

2. Create a business account. As you start your own business, where will you get funding? Whether financing through a loan or personal resources, once you have the funds to start your business, set up a business account. This will help you to stay organized and start record keeping. Some individuals are great at what they do, but their business fails because of a lack of financial organization.

3. Develop a Marketing Strategy. Have you ever wondered how some of the well-known fast food chains became so popular? Marketing is the answer. If you can get your name in the public eye, odds of your business succeeding will increase. A cheap and easy way to start marketing is through social media. There are several resources when using this method. Simply determine who your target audience is and start branding your name. Developing a marketing strategy will help your business succeed.

4. Be aware of your Tax Obligations. It would be wise to determine what tax bracket you are in and file your tax returns timely. You can approximate business taxes that you will owe by setting aside a percentage of all profits that you bring in. Many business owners overlook their tax obligation and find themselves in a financial bind when tax deadlines come along. To approximate what tax bracket you will be in see http://www.groco.com/tools/taxrateguide11.aspx.

5. Keep track of all start-up expenses. Be sure to track all of your business start-up expenses, as you may be able to deduct many of them. Keeping organized records will benefit you. For more information on determining what expenses are deductible see http://www.groco.com/readingroom/bus_startupexpenses.aspx.

As you venture out on an entrepreneurial limb, remember that speaking with a tax professional can help you as you prepare to start your own business.

Alan L. Olsen is Managing Partner at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP, a leading CPA firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. With more than 25 years of experience in public accounting, Alan works with some of the most successful venture capitalists in the world, developing innovative financial strategies for individuals and businesses.

"What is the Survival Rate for New Firms?" sba.gov. U.S. Small Business Administration, n.d. Web. 23 May 2011.

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