Business Structure – Market Research for Trade Area

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Dear M & M:

I am uncertain as to which type of business structure to choose. Any thoughts to help me out would be appreciated.

– Dennis

Dear Dennis:

There are many possible choices one could make in regards to a legal entity for a business. Tax considerations and legal considerations should be examined to best fit your organizational needs. As always it is strongly advised that an attorney with knowledge in this area and tax consultant should be consulted. Sole Proprietor, Partnership and Corporations are the general categories to consider. Each form has distinct advantages and disadvantages depending on the nature, size and other distinct characteristics of your business. Generally a sole proprietorship has low start-up costs, owner keeps direct control and all profits go to the owner.  A sole proprietorship has a lack of continuity, if the owner dies or goes bankrupt the business ends. In a sole proprietorship all the debts of the business are debts of the owner. The owner has unlimited liability in a sole proprietorship. In a partnership the owners are wholly responsible for the company’s debts (it is strongly recommended a partnership agreement is drawn up to mitigate some of these responsibilities). Generally partnerships have a broader management base and provide additional access to more than one individual’s assets. Divided authority, conflicts with personality clashes and unlimited liability exists as the debts of the business become the debts of each partner. A corporation is a distinct entity which the liability can be limited to the extent of the owner’s investment in the company. Corporations are closely regulated, most expensive to organize and record keeping can be more difficult. A corporation has several advantages such as transfer of ownership, continuous existence, some limitations on liability and is sometimes considered as having the least difficulty in raising additional capital.


Dear M & M:

Where can I go to get market research to see how my business stands up to similar businesses in my trade area and elsewhere?

– June

Dear June:

In today’s challenging economic environment, where small businesses create two out of every three net new jobs in the U.S., help for small businesses is more critical than ever before. A key foundation of success in business is to leverage data analysis to discover insights and make smarter decisions. Delivering these types of services online provides the greatest opportunity to reach the most businesses. That’s why SBA has made available SizeUp, an online small business support service that can deliver customized business analysis to an unlimited number of businesses. SizeUP provides data analysis in three key ways: Benchmarking an existing business to see how it sizes up by comparing performance to all other competitors in the same industry; Mapping competition to see where competitors, customers, and suppliers are located; and Finding the best places to advertise by choosing from pre-set reports to discover areas with the highest industry revenue and the most underserved markets. Custom demographic reports can also be created. When starting or managing your small business, defining your market using data analysis is an essential part of developing your business plan. The SizeUp tool is available at for free.-SBA


To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation(EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email


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