Required Paperwork [SMB Consulting Best Practices book excerpt]

Hi there – I am Harry Brelsford – the author of the SMB Consulting Best Practices book. Each day – I like to hold a virtual book reading where I post up a few pages ‘da book! Today I speak towards the required paperwork to set-up shop as a SMB consultant.



Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP

PS – did u know I host a technology conference in the New York City area each spring? Save the date for March 6-8, 2009 and watch “voice meet data” in the SMB space!

PPS – my SBS 2008 book will be out in mid-November 2008!

PPPS – my Microsoft Response Point Primer book is here NOW!

Required Paperwork

Part of your SMB business plan should speak to identifying and obtaining the proper business licenses, permits, and certificates necessary to conduct business in your particular area. I can’t hope to identify what those requirements are, given the thousands of distinct and separate municipalities that exist in the United States alone. However, I can cast some general thoughts your way that will guide you in this area.

At the US federal level, you typically need to acquire a tax identification number, which can be an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a social security number. Otherwise, there are few federal permits, licenses, or certificates required to operate as an SMB consultant. One fact of life in the

United States is that you will need to file a federal tax return. In my case, with my SMB consulting activities, this has historically taken the form of a Schedule C filing that is attached to my 1040 federal tax return. However, everyone’s tax situation is different.

Best Practice: It is up to you to research what is required in the way of licenses, permits, and certificates. These requirements can differ by location and change over time. A certified public ac­countant is usually a good source for helping you complete the required paperwork to start as an SMB consultant.

Many states have business licenses and tax assessments. This clearly varies by state, but in Washington State, you need a business license and a registered business name, and you must file a business and occupation tax return.

At the local level, you may need another business license. Some

municipalities also impose occupancy taxes on businesses. One other consideration at the local level is special assessment districts. These are often legally binding organizations of merchants and business people who have banded together and taxed themselves to accomplish some feat. Often, retailers will form a special business improvement district to hire private security details to improve the general atmosphere of the neighborhood (such as driving drug dealers out).

BEST PRACTICE: The SBA site at has tons of discus­sion on permits and licenses. Use it!


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