Sole Proprietorship
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A small business needs to be built on a strong foundation of careful preparation and strategy. Although there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for success, choosing a business structure is one of the many crucial choices a small business owner will have to make. Each decision has implications for risk, growth, and simplicity. In the United States, forming a sole proprietorship is one of the most popular ways to launch a small business since it is an easy, affordable, and quick way to get going. In this post, we will examine some characteristics, registration, advantages, and disadvantages of a sole proprietorship.

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What is Sole Proprietorship?

Simply put, a sole proprietorship is a one-person firm. A sole proprietor is also a natural person (not a legal person or corporation) who completely owns and operates this kind of entity. Actually, the company and the owner are one and the same; it is not a separate legal entity.

Additionally, a sole proprietorship is frequently exempt from incorporation and registration requirements. As a result, it is the most straightforward type of corporate structure and the best option for managing a small or medium-sized business. Let’s examine some crucial characteristics of a proprietorship.

Examples of Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship, or business with just one owner, is not set up as a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company. A solo proprietor may work as an independent contractor or run a small firm. Sole proprietorships can be found in a wide range of businesses. One-person businesses frequently run out of their homes. Understanding common sole proprietorship operations can help you determine whether a sole proprietorship is the ideal business structure for you.

#1. Control a Bookkeeping Company

An accounting firm handles the financial needs of other businesses. The bookkeeper inputs revenue, costs, and other financial data into an accounting system. This gives company owners trustworthy financial information about their business. Tax returns for businesses are constructed using the financial information kept by a bookkeeper.

#2. Provide Medical Assistance at Home

When the economy is strong or weak, the healthcare industry frequently does well. In an effort to capitalize on this stability, many sole proprietors start home healthcare businesses. Many of these cater to senior citizens. Assistance with meal preparation, housekeeping, and personal hygiene are a few of the services provided.

#3. Consider Taking Financial Counseling.

Independent financial advisors assist both individuals and small businesses. Families can utilize this support to set up retirement accounts, pay for their children’s education, and make equity investments. Financial consultants who help firms set up their employee retirement plans and other employee incentives may be of use to a business.

#4. Manage a Landscaping Company

A landscaper may work alone or as part of a small group. The trees, plants, and lawns of individuals and businesses are maintained by landscapers. Most commercial landscaping companies employ people to do duties.

#5. Providers of Computer Services

Computer repair shops are frequently owned by lone entrepreneurs. While some business owners run retail establishments, others run offices. Small computer repair shops primarily serve lone clients.

#6. Run a Catering Company

For business events, marriages, religious ceremonies, and social gatherings, catering services are offered. Typically, a sole proprietor operating a catering firm must employ workers.

#7. Offer Housecleaning Services

Housecleaning services usually have low startup expenses. Additionally, some business owners might offer supplementary services like carpet cleaning, window washing, and laundry.

#8. Become a Freelancer

Self-published authors can start their own independent publishing companies or run their own businesses. Content is produced by an individual author and sold to customers or bought by business owners. Press releases, blog posts, sales copy, and website content are routinely contributed by independent writers.

#9. Rendering Tutoring Services

Companies that provide tutoring assist students in mastering a variety of subjects. Students and tutors can communicate in person or online using video chat. Many teachers have backgrounds in academia or have in-depth knowledge of the areas they teach.

#10. Work as a Virtual Assistant

Business owners might benefit from virtual assistants’ assistance with online administrative work. The duties that virtual assistants complete are determined by the demands of their clients. Examples of routine tasks include checking emails, creating Excel spreadsheets, and typing documents.

Sole Proprietorship Advantages & Disadvantages 

Let us look at some advantages and disadvantages of being a sole proprietorship:

Advantages of Sole Proprietorship

Below are some advantages related to a sole proprietorship:

#1. Low-Cost and Easy

A sole proprietorship has the benefits of simplicity and affordability when registering with Ownr. Before you register as a sole owner, though, you must make a few decisions.

#2. You’re Liberated and Versatile.

This business form has the independence and agility of operating your firm as a sole proprietorship. To become an incorporation, a longer, more expensive registration process and a more complicated company activity are required. As a sole proprietor, you are not constrained by onerous and complicated restrictions. Small business owners who lack the labor to continually ensure that these stringent standards are followed and carried out will find this to be especially alluring. Additionally, solo proprietors have complete discretion in making decisions.

#3. Less Paperwork

Some people elect to register as a sole proprietorship rather than incorporate their business since no business owner enjoys more paperwork. Following incorporation, paperwork must be submitted annually. Less paperwork equates to lower overhead costs for a bookkeeper who is knowledgeable about securities and incorporation law. Simply said, less paperwork frees up your time to focus on creating your individual business strategy and helps you steer clear of potential hazards.

#4. An Easier Tax System

A sole proprietorship has far fewer complicated tax obligations (also known as self-employment taxes). Small business deductions have various tax benefits for a sole proprietor. The cost of internet and other utilities may be partially deductible for a small business operating from a person’s home. When you submit your individual tax return, you can end up with a tax refund or pay less in taxes overall. This benefit is not available to corporations.

#5. Cutting Business Expenses.

One of the most alluring benefits is the fact that single-proprietorship business organizations have significantly cheaper registration costs than corporations. Since you do not have a separate legal personality from your firm as a sole proprietor, you might not always need to register your sole proprietorship. However, you must register if you operate your single proprietorship business under a name other than your legal name. Many sole owners register their business name regardless of local rules in order to present themselves in the best feasible way.

#6. Banking in Simple Terms

Just like paying taxes, navigating the complex world of banking is difficult. The simplicity of banking is what I value most about this type of business. You might regret continuing to use your personal checking account as your company account when it comes time to submit your taxes and you have to split out expenses. It would be wise to open a different company bank account in this situation. It’s so simple and affordable, and you can even complete it online!

#7. Ownership is Simpler

The most fundamental kind of business organization is a sole proprietorship. All business-related decisions, responsibilities, and controls are under sole ownership. For many small business owners, it is excellent because there is no danger of a disagreement arising between partners or shareholders in a company. In other words, a sole proprietor doesn’t have to worry about ceding power.

Disadvantages of a Sole Proprietorship

We have seen the advantages above, now let us go over to see the disadvantages of a sole proprietorship:

#1. No Liability Insurance

Personal liability is a disadvantage of this sort of business corporation. Every facet of your company’s financial operations is exclusively your responsibility. This indicates that all responsibilities and legal issues are under your purview. Your personal assets, including your own money, are in jeopardy. In this case, getting separate company insurance makes sense. One of the most important and challenging differences between a sole proprietorship and an incorporation is this. Only the legal entity of a corporation that incorporates has limited liability.

#2. Obtaining Financing and Business Credit is Challenging.

You might find it more difficult as a business entity than a corporation to get funding and business credit. A company that has been incorporated is entitled to government funding and has relatively easy access to capital. Usually, a sole proprietorship cannot. This is partially due to the legal advantages that an established company has over a single proprietorship.

#3. Dependent Liability

Unlimited liability is one of the main drawbacks of a sole proprietorship. In addition to the assets of the business, this obligation also extends to the owner’s personal holdings. Debt collectors have access to your savings, assets, automobiles, and more in order to collect a debt. It’s prudent to conduct some research on insurance before registering your firm.

#4. Fundraising Could be Difficult.

Even though a sole proprietorship has cheap startup costs, a lack of funding could restrict growth and briefly put you in the red. You are personally liable for all business debts, so you must pay for costs like suppliers, overhead, labor, and other charges. One of the biggest drawbacks of sole proprietorships is that the owner’s personal assets are constrained or connected to the firm.\

#5. Poor Money Management and Trouble Keeping Track of Spending

A solo entrepreneur may find oneself delaying financial company transactions because financial reports aren’t frequently needed as a regular element of running a business and one person serves as the accountant, manager, marketer, and strategist all in one. This makes it more likely that these transactions will be linked to personal income, which makes it harder to keep track of expenses and can result in a significant loss of financial control. Other times, profits and losses might not be revealed, which complicates tax season.

Sole Proprietorship Registration 

There is some registration you must complete in order to obtain your sole proprietorship license as the owner of your company. The registration for sole proprietorship includes:

#1. Name your Business as a Sole Proprietorship in Registration.

Business names should be descriptive and unique. You can name your firm after yourself, your dog, or your dog’s favorite toy, but Corp., Inc., and Ltd. are disallowed. Register your business.

#2. Confirm That the Name of Your Company is not Already in use.

Avoid trademarked or corporate names for legal and business reasons. A sole proprietorship does not prevent others from using your name, and even if a name is approved by the government, a business could sue you. Get a NUANS report to see if your name is similar to any trademarked or incorporated firms. The NUANS database searches your suggested business name for comparable names that are already taken. Discover NUANS name search.

#3. Register Your Company

Register your business using your name, business/home address, email, and business description. You may need licenses (i.e., permits for food and beverage businesses, health permits, federal licenses, occupational licenses, and operational licenses.). Registration makes you a sole proprietorship!

#4. Renew Business Registration as a Sole Proprietorship

The province where you registered your sole proprietorship may require you to renew your business name and contract. In BC, your contract never expires; in Ontario, it is every five years. Check your province or territory’s requirements and put your renewal date in your calendar—you won’t be reminded. Regardless of province, you must re-register whenever you alter your business name or ownership.

Sole Proprietorship Characteristics 

Here are some characteristics of being a sole proprietorship:

#1. Lacking Legally Necessary Procedures

A sole proprietorship is not subject to a different set of laws. As a result, there aren’t many unique guidelines to follow. Additionally, there is no need for any type of registration or incorporation. A license is typically all that is actually needed to conduct the desired business. There is basically no legal procedure involved in its shutdown, just like when it was formed. Overall, it simplifies and streamlines corporate operations.

#2. Liability

Since the owner and the business are one and the same, there is no limit to the owner’s personal liability. Therefore, payment shall be provided by the owner if the company is unable to fulfill its own obligations. For instance, he might have to liquidate all of his possessions to pay off obligations or debts owed by the company (including his house, car, and other real estate).

#3. Gain and Risk

A sole proprietorship limits risk to the firm owner. provided that he is the only individual with a financial stake in the business. He must therefore bear all responsibility and risk. In other words, he will be impacted if the company fails or suffers losses. He also gets to keep all of the company’s earnings, though. There are no other stakeholders, and he is not required to share his gains with them. He must therefore take all risks in exchange for all rewards.

#4. No Distinct Identity 

According to the law, the owner and the company are considered to be one and the same. The sole proprietorship will not be given a separate legal status. As a result, the owner will be in charge of all corporate operations and transactions.

#5. Consistency

The owner and the company are one and the same, as was already stated. Sole proprietorships only have one income source: its owner. The sole proprietorship will be impacted by a variety of events, such as death, retirement, insolvency, mental illness, and incarceration. In these situations, the proprietorship will end and the business will close.

Sole Proprietorship Liability

The most significant effects of the entity type you select for your company are the ones related to taxes and liabilities. For instance, a sole proprietorship exposes the owner to personal liability for the company’s debts. The main drawback of being a lone proprietor for a firm is the liabilities you run the risk of. You are personally accountable for paying any debts that your company accrues and is unable to pay with its profits.

You could be sued individually by creditors to recover the debt. The inverse is also accurate. If you have unpaid personal debts, a creditor may seize your assets or business revenues to pay off the bill. As a sole owner, you are personally responsible for all debts as well as any torts, or injuries, resulting from your business’s actions or inactions. However, you might be able to get liability insurance for your company that might help get rid of tort responsibility.

What is a Sole Proprietorship vs LLC? 

An LLC is distinct from the members who are its owners. Members are not personally liable for the obligations and liabilities of the company, nevertheless. The LLC is in charge here. A sole proprietorship is a single-person-owned, unincorporated company.

What are 3 Advantages of a Sole Proprietorship? 

One benefit of operating a solo business is that you are in charge:

  • You keep every dollar made.
  • Low startup expenses.
  • You are completely private.
  • It’s easy to start and run your own business.

What is the Main Purpose of a Sole Proprietorship? 

A sole proprietorship enables small business owners to launch a company without going through the state’s formal legal process. A board of directors does not necessarily have to be established. There’s no need for a commercial banking account.

Is a Sole Proprietor a Small Business? 

When it comes to being eligible for a small business health insurance plan, a sole proprietorship is often seen as being the same as its owner because of this.

How Much Tax Will I Pay as a Sole Proprietor?

Due to the fact that they are not legal organizations, sole owners in Nigeria do not have to pay corporate income tax. 

How Do I Pay Myself as a Sole Proprietor?

Partners and sole proprietors compensate themselves by taking money out of the company.


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