We joke around about the fact that an entrepreneur is someone who works 80 hours a week to avoid working 40. Our practice is working with small business owners and professionals on their business and estate planning needs. We are unique because of the value that we bring to our clients by figuring out the return on investment our clients get from their investment. In some cases, we've provided an ROI greater than 500%. This is different because so many other lawyers and law firms are seen as an expense to their clients. It's an “uh oh, I have to call the lawyer” situation. With Yolofsky Law, our clients consistently tell us that we're a partner of theirs, not just another expense to be added to their balance sheet.
One of our most frequently asked questions we get, indeed almost daily, is about starting a business in South Florida. How is it different? What are the steps I need to take? How do I even begin? So we decided to write an Entrepreneurs Guide to Starting a Business in Florida. Today we begin with part one in which we go through some of the foundational basics. Get these things done before digging into the legal fun stuff.
What are the steps that an entrepreneur should take when deciding to start a business in Florida?
Starting a business in South Florida or anywhere else has to come with an idea, and that idea should genuinely be something other than “hey, I want to make a buck”. One of the things that we have a challenge with here in South Florida is that there are so many dishonest people. Fraud is synonymous with Florida. Actually, we're in the top 4 states in the county for fraud and identity theft.1 Many other attorneys and professionals that I interact with from around the country and around the world usually ask us to help with due diligence on another company. This is to make sure that whoever their client is potentially investing with is well-known or legitimate so that the investment is sound. We can track people down.
This is important because if you're going to start a new business, credibility is going to be a huge issue. Who are you? What are you about? What is it that you're going to do, and how are you going to do it better than someone else that's out there? We see this often.
Let’s pick a business and the industry. Someone wants to start a restaurant, a dog walking service, a car buying service, or just manufacturing widgets…you name it. The difference is that all of these businesses, including lawyers for that matter, can be done better than what exists today. People want better service, better product, better quality. So, when you're brainstorming the idea of what business you want to own, start with what interests you? What are you going to have fun doing? Starting a business just because everyone else is won’t take you far. Your passion and what makes you happy will allow you to put in the work required to make your business successful.
Once you have a solid idea, make sure you do market research. Understanding your market and your niche will be the biggest thing to help you become successful. Take a look at our 8 Point Plan for Success here. It is our list for the 8 fundamental things to do when starting your business.
Why would someone start a business in Florida? What are the benefits?
The largest contributor to the American economy are small businesses. The freedom that people get from producing something with their own efforts, of being in control of their own destiny, of taking advantage of the American dream is what building a business is all about. We see it here particularly in South Florida as we get people from all walks of life, from all over the world, who are looking to make a new start. In fact, the firm has a client who was an attorney in their home country, but once they moved to the US, they couldn't practice law here. First they operated as a consultant and now they own a manufacturing business. They've completely reinvented themselves and are building something new. People start businesses for all sorts of different reasons. People see opportunities in the market place. If you do some reading, you'll see that there are always opportunities to disrupt a market or to disrupt an industry.
There are definitely some advantages of starting a business in Florida. One of my favorites is that we don’t have any state income tax in Florida. In comparison to some other states where the tax rate can get up above 10 or even 13 percent on income, if you're going start your own business here just think about the bottom line difference that 10% might take away from your bottom line.
Another reason people start their own business is because they're able to take tax deductions or deduct regular expenses that they wouldn't otherwise be able to do if they were a W2 employee. It also provides the freedom to be out doing what you want to do, where you want to do it. Of course, with freedom comes responsibility. People want to ensure that they are running their business the correct way. Establishing a solid foundation now makes for less fixing later.
Another reason people want to start a business here is the weather we have which is year around sunny beaches. Florida is one of the fastest growing business locations in the country.
Not only is Florida a great place to start a business and to do business, but best of all no state income tax. That's no personal state income tax.
Stay tuned for Part Two of our series to learn about choosing the right business structure for your business.