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Steps Entrepreneurs in Columbus, Indiana Should Take to Choose Their Startup's Ideal Business Structure

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December 28, 2022

When starting a new business in Columbus, IN, one of the first things you need to do is choose the right business structure. This can be an enormous task, as there are many different types of business structures to choose from, each with its own set of pros and cons. The type of business you are starting, your goals, and your financial situation will all play a role in determining which business structure is right for you.

Different Types of Business Structures

There are four main types of business structures: sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages that you need to take into consideration.

 
  • Sole Proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most common type of business structure. This type of business is owned and operated by one person. The owner has complete control over the business and makes all decisions regarding operations, finances, and staffing. One of the main advantages of a sole proprietorship is that it is very easy to set up and requires very little paperwork. However, one of the main disadvantages is that the owner is personally liable for all debts and liabilities accumulated by the business.

  • Partnership: A partnership is a type of business that is owned and operated by two or more people. Partnerships can be either general or limited. General partnerships are relatively easy to set up and require very little paperwork. However, like sole proprietorships, the partners are personally liable for all debts and liabilities incurred by the business. Limited partnerships are slightly more complicated to set up than general partnerships because they require more paperwork. However, the advantage of a limited partnership is that only the general partners are liable for the company's debts and liabilities; the limited partners are not personally liable.

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC is a type of business structure that offers its owners limited liability protection. This means that the owners are not personally liable for debts and liabilities of the LLC. LLCs can be either single-member or multi-member. Single-member LLCs are owned by one person, while multi-member LLCs are owned by two or more people. The biggest advantage of an LLC is that it offers its owners limited liability protection, and for a limited time, you can start an LLC in Indiana for free (plus state fees) if you use Zenbusiness as your formation service.

  • Corporation: A corporation is a type of business that offers its shareholders limited liability protection from debts and liabilities of the corporation. Corporations can be either small businesses or large businesses. The biggest advantage of a corporation is that it offers its shareholders limited liability protection; however, one of the disadvantages is that it can be more expensive to set up than other types of businesses due to filing fees and other required paperwork.

 

Depending on which structure you choose, you may need to regularly compile reports for your key stakeholders, like shareholders or investors. These documents will likely include similar information, but with updated information to reflect goals and marketing data. Instead of recreating these documents each year or quarter, use a PDF extraction tool to pull out old content and replace it with updated information. These tools are free and easy to use, and will save you a lot of time in creating your reports.

Factors to Consider When You Choose Your Entity

When choosing a business structure for your startup, there are several factors you need to take into consideration, such as your goals for the business, your financial situation, your liability exposure, and your tax obligations.  Below we will discuss each factor in more detail so that you can make an informed decision about which business structure is right for you.

 
  • Goals for the Business: One important factor to consider when choosing a business structure for your startup is your goals for the business. What do you hope to achieve with your startup? Do you want to grow it into a large corporation, or do you want to keep it small? Answering these questions will help you narrow down which type of business structure is right for you.

  • Financial Situation: Another important factor to consider when choosing a business structure for your startup is your financial situation. How much money do you have available to invest in your startup? Do you have enough money to cover the costs associated with setting up a corporation? If not, then a sole proprietorship or partnership may be a better option for you.

  • Liability Exposure: Another important factor to take into consideration when choosing a business structure for your startup is your liability exposure. How much risk are you willing to take on? If you are starting a high-risk business, then setting up an LLC may be a good idea so that you can limit your personal liability exposure in case something goes wrong with the business.

  • Tax Obligations: Different types of businesses have different tax obligations. Therefore, it’s important to choose a business structure that will minimize your tax burden as much as possible given your specific circumstances. For example, if you expect your startup to generate a lot of income, then setting up an S corporation may be beneficial because it allows you to avoid double taxation.

Decide What’s Best for You

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing a business structure for your startup. It’s important to take all of these factors into consideration so that you can choose the right business structure for your specific circumstances. Once you have made your decision, be sure to keep accurate records for your taxes and annual reports. Then, you can also review whether your current structure is still the best fit for your business and make changes, if necessary.



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