Does a consumer who is interested in maintaining an existing business need to follow the Self-Employment Start-up Toolkit? What if they are looking to expand an existing business?
The Self-Employment Start-up Toolkit was not developed for existing businesses. How best to proceed with these cases should be determined on a case by case basis by determining if the business is meeting their needs, if it is viable, and what assistance they are requesting.. It may be appropriate in some cases to complete some or all of the steps of the toolkit, while in others where the business is well established and determined viable, it may not be needed. Not all current businesses would require a BP it would depend on what they are looking to do and what they are asking of DVR (expand, take business in a different direction, add new services, etc).
For existing businesses we also need to document that the consumer is reporting their business income to the IRS and that they do the required withholding, payroll and IRS reporting for employees of the business. DVR will not support a cash based business that does not comply with the IRS regulations.
Please note the information below is general information. If you have specific questions about your case with an existing business and the use of the toolkit process, I would recommend discussing it with your supervisor.
Maintaining of Business:
If the goal is to maintain a current business, and the consumer can demonstrate financial viability, a BP is not necessary. We would want to ensure that we are supporting a viable goal for the consumer. Looking at his financials and the history of the business such as the taxes for past three years, and how it is currently functioning- profit/loss will help you answer the question "Is this business financially viable?". It is also important to have a discussion on what the consumers work goals are - does he/she want to work PT or FT, stay on benefits, what is his income need, is this goal appropriate for the consumer, etc. Answering these questions will give you all a good sense of whether or not this business is meeting those needs and the viability of the business.
If it is meeting his/her employment needs, is viable, and following IRS regulations then determine with the consumer what he needs from DVR to maintain his current business and what is necessary and appropriate for DVR to assist with. The DVR purchasing policies would apply.
If it appears that the business is not meeting his/her needs and it appears the business is not financially viable, a full BP should be written to look at the business in more detail and what needs to be addressed to make it viable. The viability of the business is important for us to support the IPE and provide services. We should not support a business that is not viable and not meeting the needs of the consumer.
Expansion of Business:
If the consumer is interested in expanding his/her business then following the steps of the toolkit and the development of a business plan is required. Doing so is very beneficial to the consumer to explore the new services he wants to add and how this expansion could look. As discussed in the BP toolkit, the BP is the business's roadmap and helps layout where they want to be and how to get there. Done properly, the BP will help answer questions of business viability, both past and projected. Will the consumerís needs be met with the expansion? What are the projections for the business over the next couple of years?