The military has produced many acronyms, one of which is RHIP, which stands for, “Rank Has Its Privileges.”
RHIP is the unofficial way to point out when a person accrues some benefit by virtue of their position. Mel Brooks’ character said it another way in his comedy “History of the World” with, “It’s good to be the king.”
In that spirit, here’s a new acronym for small business owners: OHIP, which stands for “Ownership Has Its Privileges.” Let’s look – sometimes with tongue-in-cheek – at a few business ownership privileges.
By virtue of being the owner, you have the privilege of working all you want. That means you’ve earned the right to work half-days. And as an added bonus, you get to choose which 12 of the 24.
If you so choose, you can brand the company with your name, which can be pretty rich ego food. But it also helps a plaintiff’s attorney – the one who represents the customer who “slipped and fell” in your business – to identify at least two of the co-defendants in the lawsuit: the legal entity and its founder.
When getting a bank loan, almost all small business owners are afforded the high honor of signing their name twice on loan documents. Having perfected the belt-and-suspenders approach, banks provide you with this special moment to acquire not only the business assets as loan collateral, but also your personal estate as a double guarantee.
But seriously folks, as Mel Brooks might say, here are a few real ownership privileges.
Structure your small business as a Sub Chapter S Corporation (S Corp) or a Limited Liability Company (LLC), both non-tax-paying entities, and accrue the benefit of having business income or losses pass through to shareholders or members, respectively. These two legal entities are handy because personal tax rates are typically lower than corporate rates, plus you avoid double taxation of dividends. Additionally, S Corps and LLCs allow owners the privilege of sheltering personal assets from liabilities that may befall the business.
Finally, there is something I call the stealth benefit of business ownership: owning the real estate your business operates in and leases from you.
For example: John Jones owns the property at 21 Enterprise Blvd. and leases it to John Jones, Inc. John receives rental income, tax advantages and asset appreciation. Plus, as long as it can be justified, John can raise the rent instead of giving himself a pay raise because, as passive income, it avoids payroll tax.
So are you taking advantage of all of the “privileges” of business ownership?
Write this on a rock....It’s good to be the owner.
Jim Blasingame is one of the world's leading experts on small business and entrepreneurship. He is the creator and award-winning host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate® Show. In addition to his weekly columns, Jim is the author of two books; Small Business is like a Bunch of Bananas and Three Minutes to Success.