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Starting a business, but have unanswered questions? Just "Ask Jim!" Submit your question about starting a small business and Denver Metro SBDC Business Consultant Jim Olp will answer them for you!


    Past "Ask Jim" Questions      
    

January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013
 June 2013

Jan 2014





Dear Jim:

I am preparing to file the articles of organization for my LLC (a home based business). As I complete the document, I feel uncomfortable entering my home address as the principal place of business. In this day and age, where everything seems to become searchable on Google, I am concerned about my home address coming up in a search of my name or business. I have a box at a UPS store that is NOT a P.O. box. It is a physical address (i.e. 123 Main St. #456). I would prefer to list this as the principal business address and address of the registered agent instead of my home address. I would like to prevent my home address from being out in the open for all to see who search the secretary of state records or do a Google search. Most of the research I have done seems to conclude that a business operating out of a home must list their home address on the articles of organization because that is where the most work is done, records kept, and to where process would be served. I would like your thoughts on this matter. Is it inadvisable to list a UPS store address on this document as the principal place of business and what are the consequences of doing so? Does the address that is entered impact eligibility for a "home office tax deduction.

I understand your concerns about your home address being public information. But I am afraid that I have to agree with the other research you have done on this subject.  The registered agent address, at the very least, should be the place where your business is actually based. One of the primary reasons for these registration rules is so that you can actually be found for legal matters. In prior years, businesses could use fictitious addresses; then run up large bills and not pay them; and then the creditors could not find them. The laws are now designed to eliminate that scam.  Your alternative is to hire an attorney to be your registered agent. Many law firms offer that service.
 

Dear Jim:

I am looking for a startup health/medical company to lease affordable space in my company's medical building in Lone Tree, CO. We are trying to get someone in this class A space by the end of the year. Obviously, we are in a time crunch, but if you know of anybody in a pinch that needs some cheap space and a flexible lease, maybe we can offer some help. Percentage Rent deal available. 

I'm sorry. Although we make hundreds of referrals for goods and services for our clients each year, we have no way of coordinating who is looking for what. And since all of our client contacts are confidential, we cannot refer you directly to them. Nevertheless, if I hear of a client need for space, I will send them to you. In the meantime, have you tried any online services such as Craig's list to see if there might be someone out there?

Dear Jim:

We have been doing pick, pack, ship for books, dvds, and cds. Now we are thinking of expanding into distribution for food products. I have gotten an application from the state as a wholesale food storage facility and will register with the FDA as a food facility. We are looking at a new and separate facility which can be made food-safe with all the regulations. We will be shipping only prepacked cases direct from the manufacturers. What else do you think we might need to do to be compliant and safe on all fronts?

It sounds as if you have done most of the things you need to do. I am assuming that you are just expanding your existing business and already have the normal business permits, licenses, registration, EIN and bank account. However, you did not mention anything about insurance in your letter. Your current product liability insurance will almost certainly not cover food products. Food products are generally considered high risk and you will need to get the insurance to cover this. The fact that you are “shipping only prepacked cases direct from the manufacturers” does not automatically eliminate your potential liability.

Dear Jim:

I just started a sole proprietorship. My intent is to perform Project Management Consulting. What else do I need to get started with C2C contracts? Do I need some type of Fed tax id EIN number, or is that simply my SS number? Do I need to actually form an LLC to do C2C contracts?

Although a sole proprietorship is the easiest form of business to start, there are still several things that need to be considered. Making the best decisions about these for your particular personal and business circumstances actually requires more information than you have given. I will give you the “short version” here but you really need to enroll in one of the “How to Start a Business” classes that are offered at the Denver Metro SBDC every two weeks. There you can get a lot more detailed information.

To start any business you need to investigate the various permits, licenses and registration which may apply to you. For a sole proprietor, at the very least, you need to register your trade name with the Colorado Secretary of State. Other permits depend upon where your business is physically located, the exact nature of your consulting services and whether or not you are offering any products in addition to your services.

Although if your business has no employees, you are not absolutely required to have an EIN, it is strongly recommended that you get one for protection from identity theft. Also, many banks will not allow you to open a business checking account without an EIN.

If you have no significant assets, such as your home, you can probably get along with not being an LLC. But, if you have assets that you do not want to put at risk, you should consider becoming an LLC. There are other reasons for becoming an LLC but that is the most important one.

There are other requirements that you have not mentioned such as having a separate business bank account, getting insurance and paying income taxes. Again, I recommend that you take one of the classes at the SBDC for information about these and related issues. You can also meet privately with a consultant if you would rather do that.

Dear Jim:

I am currently an Air Force Officer and am in the process of establishing an online merchandising business. I need help securing $60K in start-up capital and I was wondering what options/programs/grants were available for Veterans to obtain funds at a reasonable rate.

The SBA Patriot Express Loan program is designed specifically for members of the military, veterans and their families. Most banks handle SBA loans. So just ask about this program at your bank. If you have any problems with this, contact me. In addition you might want to check both of the Colorado micro lenders, ACCION and the Colorado Enterprise Fund. Micro lenders specialize in loans to startup businesses. You can find them on the Internet. Depending upon your location there may be other resources available. For any of these loans you will have to have a business plan. We can help you with that.

 

Jim Olp is a retired business consultant of the Denver Metro SBDC. He assisted clients with financial analysis and funding options. He has a depth of experience derived not just from his many years working with SBDCs, but also from his ownership of more than a dozen small businesses. He has taught virtually every aspect of small business management and operations at the college level for more than two decades. Olp has exceptional expertise in business financing options and can assist clients in structuring their business plans and pro forma projections toward the goal of securing financing. He earned his bachelor’s degree from King’s College with a double major in history and political science with a minor in English. Olp received his master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh with a major in political science and a minor in computer science.

 

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