The Women's Small Business Start-Up Kit: A Step-By-Step Legal Guide [With CDROM] Paperback – May 9 2010
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"This no-nonsense guide is an essential road map for any woman considering entrepreneurship. It's packed with how-to information and real-life examples that will help save significant time and money in getting a venture started. Highly recommended." "Sara Gould, Former President and CEO, Ms. Foundation for Women"
"What a great, practical and readable resource! This is not your typical 'motivational' business start-up book, but a detailed guide to all the steps of actually getting started, including specific tips and resources for women entrepreneurs. Peri's book clearly details all the nuts and bolts of starting a business so often lacking in how-to books. A must-read before you launch." "Lindsey Johnson, Former National Director, SBA Office of Women's Business Ownership "
"Don't even think about starting a business without reading this book. Approachable, easy to understand and totally straightforward, Peri has done a service to all future entrepreneurs by giving solid advice to set you up for sustainable success." "Amy Swift Crosby, Founder, Smarty, A Resource for Entrepreneurial Women"
"This is a detailed resource for business. Instead of reading it like a regular book, go through the table of contents and find the areas where you need the most help. Read through and then take notes of what you remembered in that chapter. You'll be feeling well-versed and confident in business in no time!" "Lisa Fetterman, Co-Founder of Nomiku, Kickstarter-funded cookware company"
"Pakroo, a business author and coach who specializes in strategies for self-employment and small business, offers a legal resource for women wanting to start a small business. She explains how to choose a business, target a profitable market with the right business idea, make the financial transition to self-employment, draft a business plan, understand and choose a legal structure, choose a business location, deal with start-up requirements and hurdles, create marketing, conduct and market the business online, keep books and manage finances, understand taxes, build a business and hire employees and other workers, and work with lawyers and accountants. Forms, worksheets, and calculators are provided, as are quotes from women entrepreneurs sharing their advice. This edition has been updated with new legal and tax rules and strategies for using social media to promote a brand and drive website traffic." "Eithne O'Leyne, Editor, ProtoView" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Peri Pakroo (www.peripakroo.com) is a business author and coach, specializing in creative and smart strategies for self-employment and small business. She has started, participated in, and consulted with start-up businesses for more than 20 years. She is the founder, publisher, and editor of Pyragraph (www.pyragraph.com), an online career magazine for artists, musicians, designers, filmmakers, writers, and other creative workers worldwide. Peri received her law degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law. She is the author of The Women's Small Business Start-Up Kit, The Small Business Start-Up Kit (national and California editions) and Starting & Building a Nonprofit (all from Nolo) and has been featured in numerous national publications including Entrepreneur, Real Simple, Investors Business Daily, and BusinessWeek. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The author is a law-school grad and business consultant who specializes in working with startups. She has written and edited other books for Nolo. All this comes out both the clarity of the writing and the command of the subject matter she clearly has. The book does a good job of covering all of the basics, and starts wisely with the most important topic: picking the right legal structure (which can save you a lot of pain later in the process). She moves on from there and touches on everything from taxes to marketing. Along the way you will find areas where you need to dig deeper, either with professional help or by getting additional guides (which Nolo of course, is happy to sell you). Nolo has been in this business for 40 odd years and stands out as one of the best in these business of "business self-help" books. One I would suggest as a companion to this is their excellent "How to Write a Business Plan" guide. This book has a section on business plans, but if you are going to be pitching your business to potential investors you're going to need more. If you are just writing a plan to clarify your business model to yourself (a good idea) this book alone is enough.
The included software, while handy for things like some basic legal forms, is no replacement for professional software or legal help. It is nice to see what kinds of forms you are going to need and that can focus you on exactly what you need to get out of an attorney. It's amazing how much money you can save when you already know exactly what you want.
All in all a priceless aid to starting up a new business.
After reading through Pakroo's book, I think the answer to this is, "Yes." As she explains in the introduction (paraphrased): "There are business basics that apply to men and women alike: writing a business plan, handling finances, getting a website, etc.. But there are also women-specific topics: government contracts for women, identifying yourself as a woman-owned business and using it to financial advantage, plus interviews (on the CD) with women who've succeeded as entrepreneurs."
She points out that this is not really a book of "inspiration" (although her enthusiasm for women-as-entrepreneurs" is a bit inspiring in itself. She wants readers to know her emphasis is really on successfully starting and running a business--in other words, realistic, factual, practical help, including pros and cons (like health insurance coverage). The discussion of the pros and cons of running a business from home was useful--particularly the reminder of how many things are deductible even if your home office doesn't qualify for federal deduction.
And then there is marketing. Lots of good ideas here, both in the "real" world and using various opportunities online. (The website information, in my opinion, needs work. The nuts and bolts of web authoring are missed--why no mention of Dreamweaver?--and there's a lack of clarity in who would be able to create the website, update it, and maintain it. I really thought this section was a good idea, but poorly executed. The section on financial accountability was better.
There is tax advice at the end, and a CD with some forms that could help new businesses set up a partnership and maintain their books and stay organized. All-in-all, I wouldn't call it a "Step by step legal guide", but there's a lot of good information and it's a very solid overview that would help a new businesswoman know what to prepare for and to troubleshoot some of the problems enough to avoid them--always a good thing.
Here's the content of this book:
1. Choosing legal structure (SoleProp,Partership, LLP, LLC, S Corp, C Corp)
2. How to pick a good business name (including choosing web domain name, and understanding Trademark Law and registration)
3. Pick the right location and complying with zoning laws
4. How to create an effective business plan (describing your business, making financial projection and analysis, raising money, etc)
5. How to price, bid and bill projects
6. How to comply with federal, state and local business start-up requirement
7. Managing risk (Insurance, warranties, risk management strategies, lawsuit)
8. Paying tax (income tax for different legal structures, sales tax, city and county tax)
9. Special condition and restrictions for home based business
10. How to enter into contracts and agreements
11. Keeping the books (Accounting basic and accounting methods)
12. How to market/advertise your business
13. Promoting your business online (e-business)
14. How to deal with changing ownership
15. How to build your business and hire workers
16. How to get and deal with professional help (lawyers, accountant and legal research)
17. Small business resources and state by state contact information
18. Tear out forms (tax forms etc)
19. CD-ROM with more forms and document templates
20. A useful Index
All the best for your Small Business ventures!
That is a deep discussion of the subject matter, and it's thoroughly painless, as is the explanation of how to determine whether people who work for you are employees (for whom you must withhold and pay various taxes) or independent contractors. Again, it's extremely well-written and to the point, with an easy-to-follow structure.
I docked one star from the review for two reasons. One, the book is supposed to have forms, and it does, but they are not particularly helpful forms. Many of them are easily found on web search engines and free to download from government websites. The forms are still helpful, but you do not get much guidance as to when you will need more forms than what you have and where you will be able to find them.
The second reason I did not give this book five stars is that it fils to mention some of the potential pitfalls of the advice it gives. For example, the author advocates for businesses to draft employee handbooks and refers the reader out to another Nolo publication. A sample included on the forms cd-rom would have been helpful, but even more helpful would have been mentioning that using an employee handbook can create, and has created, more problems than it solves for employers who (a) cannot draft clear text and (b) do not always follow their own rules.
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