Nolo has 49 Years of Helping Small Businesses Nolo has 49 Years of Helping Small Businesses

Small Business Resource Center

Get the information you need to start and run a small business.

Nolo's Small Business Resource Center can help you find answers to your business questions. For almost 50 years, Nolo has been helping consumers and small businesses by providing high quality, free legal information developed by our team of attorneys. Whether you are just developing your business idea or ready to open your doors for business, we have resources to help.


Develop a Business Plan

Every new business starts with an idea, but can you turn that idea into a moneymaking business? Learn how to evaluate your idea and develop a solid business plan.


Choose Your Business Structure

Before starting your business, you will need to choose an ownership structure. There are pros and cons that are important to consider so you choose the business structure that’s best for you.


Form Your Business

Once you have decided on your business entity, you will need to take steps to form your business. Whether it’s an LLC, corporation, sole proprietorship, or partnership, learn what you need to do to create your business.


Get Your Business Up and Running

After forming your business, there are additional steps required before you can open your doors for business. These include opening a bank account, leasing space, getting necessary licenses and permits, and making sure you are in compliance with state and federal laws.


Stay Legally Compliant

Once your business is up and running, you will have ongoing responsibilities to stay in legal compliance and protect your brand. At this stage, you might look into trademark registration to keep other businesses from using your name or logo. Be sure to check with your state and licensing agencies to determine if you must file annual or biannual reports to keep your business in good standing. Further, every business owner should plan for unforeseen circumstances by exploring options for insurance.


Managing Your Business

To successfully grow your business, you’ll need to understand some basics about how to properly manage a business. From bookkeeping to taxes to hiring employees, make sure you understand the do’s and don’ts so you develop long-term successful business practices.

  • Bookkeeping and Accounting. Learn the basics about accounting and record keeping for your business.
  • Business Taxes. Make sure you know how to pay your taxes and get the most out of valuable business tax deductions.
  • Sales & Marketing. Create strategies for finding customers and how to market your small business.
  • Business Contracts. Learn how contracts work, common types of contracts, and how to deal with contract disputes.
  • Hiring Employees. Understand the steps required when you hire your first employee.
  • Independent Contractors. Get crucial guidance on how to value your work, collect payment, and manage health and retirement benefits as an IC.

Going Out of Business

If you decide to close up shop or sell your business to a new owner, you have a number of responsibilities to protect yourself, your credit, and your reputation in the community. The steps for closing or transferring your company will depend on a few factors such as the type of business, the number of owners, and whether your company has remaining assets after paying creditors.

  • Dissolving Your Business. Learn about the paperwork you must file to officially close your business and cancel the company’s registrations.
  • Selling Your Business. Get guidance on legal considerations for selling a business, including tax consequences and sales contracts.
  • Liquidating Business Assets. If you have business property you want to turn into cash to pay your creditors or distribute to owners, check out this article to learn about the liquidation process.
  • Steps You Need to Take When Closing Your Business. Understand the steps you will follow to shut down your business, including voting to dissolve, filing paperwork with government agencies, and settling debts.

Resources

Nolo has been making do-it-yourself legal guides since 1971. Here are some additional online and other resources to help you form your business and keep it up and running.

Online Business Formation Services

Starting and Running Your Business -- Books