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Starting a Business in 2021 - The Resources Your Startup Needs

Maybe you’ve started to sell crafts that used to be a hobby. Maybe you’re done with the nine to five and want to be independent. When you’ve decided it’s time to start a business, there’s a lot to figure out before you can start worrying about the dollars and cents. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered every step of the way.

From the first steps of starting a company and acquiring funding to the tools to jumpstart your business and the terms you will be using day after day, our one stop shop has you covered every part of your journey.

Starting a new business

Tips and comprehensive guides on opening a business

How to Start a Business (12 Steps)
Whether it’s a side hustle or an escape from the Monday to Friday grind, the first steps you take are the same. Our guide will walk you through step-by-step how you can get started.

How to Open a Business Bank Account
Want to save yourself a headache come tax time? A business bank account is the first step you can take to improve your recordkeeping. Learn everything you need to know before you start the process.

The Founder’s Guide to Startup Accounting
When starting a business, you’re probably not thinking about your books. Thankfully, we’ve got a comprehensive guide for founders starting their business. Learn the accounting essentials as a start up.

Business Entity Types: A Simple Guide
When it comes time to make your business official, it’s time to choose a business entity type. This is no easy task. Take a quick look at our summary of each option as well as some pros and cons to guide your choice.

How to Find an Accountant
A CPA is more than just someone who can help with taxes. Getting a CPA on your side at the start of your business can provide you with insights from their observations working with business owners like yourself. An added bonus? Some offer free consultations to get you started.

Business taxes, simplified and optimized

The Big List of U.S. Small Business Tax Credits
Tax credits can mean big savings come tax time. Getting familiar with this list and starting to track them now rather than later will be a massive help come tax time.

What Is Sales Tax? (A Simple Guide)
If you’re going to be selling online, sales tax can be daunting. There are 10 sales tax basics every entrepreneur should know and our friends at TaxJar have them broken down for you.

How to Calculate & Pay Estimated Taxes (Free Calculator)
Want to make tax season easier? Paying estimated quarterly taxes will soften your tax burden. Our guide explains the how’s and the why’s with a free calculator to help you figure out how much tax you owe.

What Is Taxable Income? and How Do You Calculate It?
You have some control over how much you’re taxed. Check out a CPA’s guide on what taxable income is and get some tips on how to reduce your tax bill.

Weird Tax Stories (And What You Can Learn From Them)
Tax isn’t completely dry. These odd stories offer both a laugh and insight into how tax works and opportunities you can take advantage of. Learn more about how ABBA and Al Capone have more to do with tax law then you’d think.

Tax Solutions: The Top 5 Options for Business Tax Filing
Save yourself the tax season scramble and learn about the top tax solutions today. Once tax season comes, hit the ground running with any of these 5 painless products.

What Your Tax Season Looks Like with BenchTax
If you’re ready to make tax filing a thing of your past, learn more about how Bench has you covered from the essential month to month recordkeeping to taking you across the finish line for your best tax return to date.

Pivoting an existing business online

What to know when bringing your business online

How to Start an Online Business (The 6 Models)
Whether it’s starting a new business or taking your business online, there will be unique hurdles you encounter. Beyond the 6 models, we cover everything you need to know before getting your online business running.

Ecommerce Accounting 101
Want a comprehensive overview of what the accounting process looks like when you sell online? From the first sale to filing taxes, this guide has you covered every step of the journey.

6 Challenges of Ecommerce Accounting (& How to Overcome Them)
Sales tax, inventory, and seller fees are just a few challenges an ecommerce business will encounter. But don’t fret! We have the solutions that can make overcoming these obstacles a breeze.

Form 1099-K and Ecommerce Merchant Fees
Businesses need to track gross revenues and this becomes more difficult in a digital environment when the fees paid on your sales are hidden from you. Get everything you need to know on how you can account for any fees and returns to get the most from your recordkeeping.

Funding your new business

All the best funding opportunities to start or grow your business

How to Get a Small Business Loan
The most common form of funding, our simple guide breaks down the essentials about obtaining, maintaining, and using a loan to its fullest potential.

The Very Best Small Business Loans
There’s no perfect, one size fits all loan. With complicated terms, credit score requirements, and extra fees, there’s so much to understand before deciding which loan suits your needs. Fortunately, we have a list of the best options for whatever your business needs are.

SBA Loans: A Complete Guide (Rates, Requirements, and How to Qualify)
The best of the borrowing landscape, an SBA loan often gets you more than just funds. It can provide access to networking and mentorship, as well. But this makes it highly competitive and hard to obtain so equip yourself with our guide.

The Best Business Lines of Credit
A line of credit is a great resource to have in your toolbox. But with so many options, which one is right for you? We’ve compiled the ins and outs of 9 of the top options available to you to help you make a choice.

What is Invoice Factoring and How Does it Work?
Do you have outstanding receivables and want to turn it into cash now? For a cost, you can fast track that money into your bank account and put it to use today.

Are Merchant Cash Advances Worth It?
If you take credit card payments, you may have access to a unique funding opportunity. Getting a cash advance from your processor means no worrying about credit score, but this can come at a cost. Find out more about if it’s a good fit for you.

2021 Ultimate List of U.S Small Business Grants
Free money is a myth unless it’s a grant. These lesser known resources can be hard to find and obtain, so check out our list of the top options and tips to having a successful application.

Tools for jumpstarting your business

Efficiency gains by modernizing your admin work

Accounting Solutions: The Top 7 Ways to Get Your Accounting Done
It can be a manual solution like Excel or something completely hands-off like Bench. Investing time or money into your bookkeeping doesn’t just prepare you for tax season, it means having up-to-date reporting to make informed business decisions.

Virtual Assistant Services: Everything You Need to Know About Hiring One
When the admin work gets to be too much, it’s time to bring in some help. But don’t just hire at the first chance you get. We’ve got everything you need to know about bringing on some virtual help for your business.

The Best Apps for Managing Receipts [2021]
Receipt tracking has evolved beyond a cluttered filing cabinet drawer. While the need to track receipts hasn’t changed, these solutions will have you covered for that next time you need to refer back to a transaction.

Expense Trackers: The Top Six Tools For Small Businesses
Making money is half the battle in running a business. How you use it can be the difference between getting by or growing big month to month. Track your expenses to cut costs and evaluate your spending with these tools today.

Real Business Decisions You Can Make Using Bench Financial Statements
Manage your cash flow like a master. With access to essential financial statements and real time activity, you can plot a course for financial success. Want a second opinion? Message your personal bookkeeper with any questions you might have.

How to Automate Your Small Business in 2021
For almost every other task you have, there’s a way to automate it. Checkout our top recommended tools to minimize the menial work and get you back to focusing on the bigger picture.

Terms you need to know

Don’t just walk the walk, talk the talk

Accounting Dictionary: A Simple Guide to Financial Business Terms
Whether a term is need-to-know or good to have, our Accounting Dictionary is sure to take your understanding of your business to the next level. We’ve picked out some key terms with further reading below.

Cash Basis Accounting vs Accrual Accounting
Cash basis accounting recognizes revenues when they are received and expenses when they are paid. Accrual basis accounting recognizes revenues and expenses when they are earned regardless of whether the money has been received or paid.

Cost of Goods Sold
The total cost associated with making or acquiring any goods sold during the reporting period.

Fixed vs Variable Costs
A fixed cost stays the same month to month and is unaffected by your production or sales volume (e.g. rent). A variable cost is the amount of money you spend to produce and sell your products or services (e.g. coffee beans for a coffee shop). A semi-variable cost will cost you a minimum amount each month, but may cost you more depending on revenue (e.g. compensation for an employee with a salary and commission).

Gross Profit vs. Net Profit
If you’re selling products, your gross profit will be your net sales minus any cost of goods sold. Your net profit is your net sales minus all business expenses (which includes your cost of goods sold).

Liquidity
A measurement of how capable your business is of paying its bills. Or, in more technical terms, how capable a business is of settling its current liabilities with cash or any other current assets it owns.

Operating Expenses
The costs a company generates that don’t relate to the production of a product or service. Also known as Selling, General, and Administrative (SG&A) expenses.

Profit Margin
The percentage of revenue that’s left after all associated expenses have been deducted. The higher the percentage, the more profitable the business.

Who to have on your side

Bench
We’re America’s largest professional bookkeeping service for small businesses and can handle your bookkeeping and tax filing for you while you focus on running your business. Try us for free—we’ll do one month of your bookkeeping and prepare a set of financial statements for you to keep.

Attune
Attune is an insurance agency leveraging technology, data, and analytics to provide you a hassle-free insurance experience so you can focus on your business.

Bluevine
A provider of credit cards for all types of business, but in particular offer cards for start-ups and ecommerce businesses. Their terms are more lenient and offer additional perks unique to new and online businesses.

Brex
A provider of credit cards for all types of business, but in particular offer cards for start-ups and ecommerce businesses. Their terms are more lenient and offer additional perks unique to new and online businesses.

Clearbanc
The biggest ecommerce investor in the world and the funding behind many successful startups. Clearbanc uses a corporate revenue share to fund the growth of the companies they fund so they don’t take equity or dilute investors. There’s also no credit check.

Clio
Manage and grow your law practice with the easy-to-use legal software solutions that Clio provides to manage cases, client intake, billing, and more.

FreshBooks
Easier invoicing, receipt and expense tracking, and payment processing is just the start of what FreshBooks can provide you. Being an incredibly powerful swiss army knife for entrepreneurs, it’s no surprise that 24 million people have used them worldwide.

Fundbox
Fundbox is an online platform that gives approved business owners access to capital. If you’re hoping to grow your business, or you need funds to overcome cash flow gaps and pay your bills, payroll, or buy equipment, then Fundbox may be the answer for you.

Gusto
Once you’re ready to hire an employee or pay yourself through payroll, Gusto has you covered. Their full service payroll means you won’t have to worry about the admin work of labor ever again.

Keap
Staying in contact with your customers is more important than ever before as we become increasingly online. Thankfully, Keap is a strong customer relationship management that makes it easier than ever with their suite of tools.

Lendio
Lendio is the free, easy way to see all your loan options and find the best rate. They make small business loans simple. Get funded in as little as 24 hours.

TaxJar
The way ecommerce has changed business has complicated sales tax like never before. TaxJar leverages technology and exceptional customer service to help you focus on what matters most — growing your business.

What's Bench?

We're an online bookkeeping service powered by real humans. Bench gives you a dedicated bookkeeper supported by a team of knowledgeable small business experts. We’re here to take the guesswork out of running your own business—for good. Your bookkeeping team imports bank statements, categorizes transactions, and prepares financial statements every month. Get started with a free month of bookkeeping.


This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

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