Questions to Consider When Establishing a Sole Proprietorship

As the sole owner of a business based in Oregon, you can organize your business as a sole proprietorship. While this is the easiest way to form a business, it is not highly recommended due to the liability placed on the owner of a sole proprietorship.

As a company registered in Oregon, an owner has access to many services. The Oregon Secretary of State can help business owners with:

  • Amendments
  • Apostilles
  • Certified copies of documents
  • Certificates of good standing
  • Dissolution agreements
  • Reinstatement agreements

Considerations for Establishing a Sole Proprietorship

Any time a new business idea is being considered, there are several questions that you need to ask and answer before moving forward:

  • Does the proposed business add value to the community by providing a needed product or service?
  • Does the idea offer significant potential when it comes to future customers?
  • Will your competitors impact your business?
  • Are you well-equipped with the necessary background, education, and experience necessary to run the business?
  • Are you dedicated?
  • Do you have a positive temperament?
  • Where have you chosen as a location for your business? Working capital and startup costs can be significant. Do you have an adequate financial plan?

Another factor to consider is if your chances for success will increase by purchasing an existing business that is already established instead of starting a new business from the ground up.

Once you've answered the above questions, you must consider the financial aspects involved with a new business startup. The first step is to develop a business plan that includes your financial information. This should cover:

  • A one-year expense budget.
  • Your net worth.
  • The dollar amount you have available to invest in the business.
  • An estimate of the startup costs to launch the business.
  • An estimate of business expenses for one year.
  • An estimate of the total cash you must have.
  • An estimate of the amount you may need to borrow and if you're qualified for that amount.
  • An estimate of what it would take to break even.
  • A contingency plan in the event that additional funds are needed.

Financial Considerations

You may find more flexibility in making an arrangement with relatives or friends. If this isn't an option, commercial lenders are available. Getting a loan from a commercial lender isn't easy, though, since many are reluctant to back new ventures unless the owner has invested a generous amount of capital.

Lenders may ask for a detailed written report that describes your character, experience, background, and what level of success you feel the business will achieve. You may also be asked to provide collateral, which may include assets that are not part of the business.

About Sole Proprietorships

Sole proprietorships are the simplest to organize and involve the lowest in startup costs. As a sole proprietor, you make all the operating decisions, retain all profits, and are liable for any debts the business incurs. If you choose to set up your business as a sole proprietorship, you may be limited in terms of growth and success since you are the single source of experience and funding.

Oregon allows sole proprietors to use their own name or a trade name for a business. Things to consider when deciding on a business name include:

  • If you plan to use your name, it may not be available nor workable for the type of business venture you're starting.
  • When choosing a name other than your own, be sure it isn't too similar to a business already registered with the state. This is due to federal and common law protections in place for trademarks.
  • The assumed name you choose must be distinguishable from other registered business names.
  • Always run the name you're considering through the search option at the Oregon Secretary of State website and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • When using an assumed business name, it must be registered with the Secretary of State. Fill out the Online Assumed Business Name Registry form. There is a $50 filing fee.

If you need help with how to get a sole proprietorship in Oregon, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Twillo.