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Idea Cafe's Biz Book Review

Small Time Operator: How To Start Your Own Small Business, Keep Your Books, Pay Your Taxes, And Stay Out Of Trouble

by Bernard B. Kamoroff, CPA

Book Briefs:
Paperback; 200 pages
25th edition, Bell Springs Publishing
Price: $12.56 at

Who Should Order Up this Book?
If you're new to starting and running a business, Small Time Operator is one of the first books you should buy. It does a great job discussing the basics of business taxes, including employment taxes, and many other mundane topics you probably want to understand. So if you're a new or existing small business, self-employed individual, employer, professional, independent contractor or home-based businesses, take a closer look at this book.

The Meat & Potatoes:
Here's a sampling of a few of the topics the book covers:

  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • Sales Tax
  • Insurance
  • Keeping Inventory Records
  • Deducting and Understanding Business Expenses
  • Doing Business As A Sole Proprietorship
  • A Basic Profit & Loss Statement
  • A Basic Cash Flow Prediction Statement

Bookkeeping Bytes
There's also a good discussion of single-entry bookkeeping, which is probably adequate for many new businesses. The author even explains how to balance a checkbook. (If you're unsure how to do that, however, you probably need to learn a bit more about personal finance before you start a business to improve your chances of success.)

As Kamoroff explains, a $200 business mistake and a $20,000 business mistake could be the same mistake. So, it's good to start small and learn. As you learn more, you might want to learn double-entry accounting, which is more robust. Also, you'll probably get one of the computerized accounting programs, such as MYOB or Quicken QuickBooks, to handle your accounting and recordkeeping. But as Kamoroff points out, whether you do your bookkeeping by hand or with a computer program, the basics of bookkeeping are essentially the same.

Pricing Process
Understanding the basics of finance and accounting is important for small business owners. Among a variety of financial advice and tips, Kamoroff gives the example of a bookstore that started-up but then went bankrupt. The owner arbitrarily marked-up the cost of the goods he purchased and wasn't aware of his overhead expenses of running his business. As it turned out, he was pricing his merchandise too low to make a profit.

Overall Taste
Small Time Operator is highly readable and has many entertaining cartoons and blurbs from other entrepreneurs and small business people that make the text fun. Yet, it also forks over serious and essential start-up information. Together, it makes for a well-balanced diet of what it takes to make a start-up strong and to make an existing business run smoother.

rule for small business

Idea Cafe's Rating:
(five light bulbs is our top rating)

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