KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. This is particularly true if you run a small business. To have any chance of succeeding, it helps greatly to know the "ground rules" you must play by -- including having some understanding of the bewildering, sometimes overwhelming layers of federal and state business laws, taxes, and regulations you must cope with, not to mention accounting rules and cash flow projections and technological challenges -- all of which are in addition to the everyday chores of trying to run your business well enough to make a decent profit.

Since the 1980's, over one million actual or prospective small business owners and business advisors in the U.S. have relied on Starting and Operating a Business in California and the other 50 state and D.C. editions of this book series as their reliable guidebook to the federal and state legal and tax "ground rules" for starting a business or running an existing small business in their state.

This highly acclaimed 50-state and D.C. series formerly was available until 2005 in looseleaf and trade paperback print editions, co-authored by attorney-CPA Michael D. Jenkins and the accounting firm of Ernst & Young. The series has been prominently recommended in FORBES and INC. magazine cover articles on small business guidebooks, and over 1 million print copies were sold in bookstores and at Costco and other warehouse stores, before the (print) publisher ceased operations.

Since 2005, the most state editions in the series have been fully updated annually, by principal author Michael D. Jenkins, in user-friendly electronic versions. As always, the new editions are written in non-legalese, plain English and include numerous helpful examples to illustrate key points. Each also includes many highlighted attention-grabbing "Planning Point" and "Caution!" alerts. (Many of such alerts are customized to alert you to things that apply specifically to your business, in the Windows version that includes our Small Business Advisor software for Windows XP, Vista, and Win 7/8/10).


This e-book and software series is available in two (electronic) formats. We publish the e-books as:
  • Kindle e-books, for most states, for $9.99 each. (Amazon no longer lets us publish editions for every state, since the federal laws content in each is the same, which somehow violates their guidelines.) Each Kindle state edition we still are allowed to publish has been updated for state law changes in 2016, 2017, or in 2018 and for recent federal tax changes. Editions published in 2018 are fully updated for the massive recent tax reform act, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

  • 33 customized e-books in HTML format for each of 32 states and D.C., each assembled instantly on your Windows computer by our unique artificial intelligence software program (for Windows), the Small Business Advisor. The software asks you 11 to 15 questions about your business before assembling your selected state edition, with legal and tax content throughout customized to recognize the specific facts of your business (type of entity, number of employees, number of owners, types of employee plans, type and size of business, etc.). The software then loads the HTML (hypertext) files into Internet Explorer and lets you navigate the e-book (about 500 pages) with its extensive built-in subject index. The combined Small Business Advisor software/e-book package sells for $19.95 (per single-state edition) or $99.00 for the Professional Edition Library, which contains the entire series. The federal portions of the ebooks included with the Small Business Software have all been updated for the sweeping tax changes enacted by Congress in Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 and all tax brackets, credits, exemptions, pension plan limits, etc. that are indexed for inflation have been updated for 2018 in all 2018 or late 2017 editions.

  • Note that the state-specific information for the following 18 states (the state editions that are no longer allowed on Amazon) is no longer being updated after 2013: Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, and those Kindle ebooks are no longer available on

WHAT DO THESE BOOKS PROVIDE THAT WILL HELP YOU, IF YOU ARE STARTING OR RUNNING A SMALL BUSINESS? In addition to roughly 450 pages of fully updated, authoritative text, covering all major federal and state tax, labor, and other business laws and regulations plus federal environmental laws that may apply to your small business (see a sample California edition table of contents), each e-book in this series includes:

  • Easy, helpful worksheets for:
    • projecting cash flow
    • developing your company's personnel policies
    • doing a marketing feasibility analysis for your product or service
  • In the Windows version (only), key federal tax forms your new business may need to file, including IRS Forms SS-4, 8832, 2553, and 8594. You can fill these forms in on your computer and mail them to the IRS, to obtain a taxpayer I.D. number, elect how your business entity will be taxed, elect S corporation status, or report the purchase price allocation for a purchase of an existing business. Also included is a sales/use tax resale certificate form that is approved for use in 37 states and a federal Form I-9 (immigration form) that you must fill out each time you hire a new employee.
  • A number of detailed checklists including:
    • A lengthy (4 to 6 pages) small business tax/legal requirements checklist, customized fully for your business by the Windows software, designed to alert you to your numerous tax and government regulatory responsibilities, to help keep you out of trouble! (View a sample checklist.) (Customized checklist not included in Kindle e-book editions.)
    • Things to consider before signing a lease
    • A franchise evaluation checklist
    • Things to consider before signing up with a mult-level marketing company
    • Internal financial controls checklist
    • Ways to maximize your cash flow
  • An extensive (nearly 100 pages) business plan outline, with detailed step-by-step instructions for creating a business plan -- one that will stand out from the many "canned" business plans that often go straight into the sophisticated venture capitalist's trash can. The outline includes a complete set of sample financial statements and explains what every line item on each of the financials means -- sort of a quick course in Accounting 101, from the bottom up.
  • An entire chapter devoted to selecting the optimum location for your business, a chapter on sources and types of financing that may be available, plus contact information and (current!) web links to dozens of sources of small business information and assistance, nationally and in your state.

For WINDOWS users, this e-book, in HTML (hypertext) file format, is bundled with our unique front-end Small Business Advisor software, which guides you through a short interview about your business and then instantly assembles a fully customized edition of the book, including a detailed Small Business Checklist of tax and legal requirements for you, all customized to reflect the facts of your specific business and the applicable state and federal laws. The fully customized book and checklist is set up on your computer as HTML pages or files, which the software then uses your web browser to display for you, to read or print. The software also provides an interactive "entrepreneur self-test" to help you decide how well you are suited to start and run your own business. The easy to use software also contains a "Consultant" module, which uses artificial intelligence to help you unravel the answers to a number of the important and complex tax questions typically faced by small businesses, by leading you through a series of questions, and includes a handy corporate income tax calculator, as well.

Each state edition, with included Small Business Advisor software (for Windows), is available for $19.95. (Order here).

IS A MAC VERSION OR KINDLE E-BOOK ALSO AVAILABLE? No Mac software version of the Small Business Advisor software program is available at this time. However, we do offer 33 state editions as KINDLE e-books (not customized for your specific business, since the software program is not included). To read the Kindle e-book on your Mac, you can simply download the free Kindle Reader app for Macs from Kindle e-books can also be read with free apps on a PC, iPad, or most smartphones (as well as on a Kindle, of course). See our Kindle ordering page if you wish to order the Kindle e-book edition for your state ($9.99). (Sorry -- 18 of our Kindle state editions are no longer available, effective since November 17, 2013, since Amazon decided we had too many state editions.)

(NOTE: Most of the Kindle editions are fully updated annually, as of the publication date, but the federal tax/law information may not be quite as up to date as in the versions bundled with our Small Business Advisor software, which are constantly being updated throughout the year for federal law changes. However, all of our Kindle e-books are recent editions, most of them revised and updated during 2017 or in 2018.)



Not quite. The author of this series since its inception is Michael D. Jenkins, a graduate of Harvard Law School, who, in addition to being the author of this million-seller book series, has practiced as a tax attorney with one of San Francisco's largest law firms, as a CPA with a "Big 4" accounting firm in Los Angeles, and as a consultant with a major national economics and management consulting firm in Washington, D.C. He has spent his entire career, over 30 years, as a lawyer, CPA, business consultant, software developer and publisher, and best-selling business author providing helpful and understandable guidance to small businesses. His "Starting and Operating" books have been picked as the "best of the best" small business guides by both Forbes and Inc. magazines and have been used for much of the last 3 decades as authoritative references by SBA offices and S.C.O.R.E. counselors throughout the United States. See our user comments page for what professionals and small business owners have to say about this series.


  • Portions of the book dealing with state laws and taxes are fully revised and updated annually, with frequent interim updates throughout the year for major law changes. Click here to see when the state information was last fully revised and updated for each state.
  • Federal and general types of information in the remainder of the book (Chapters 1 - 17) are revised all year round, with one or two chapters fully updated and revised each month. Thus, all federal and general information in each state edition has always been updated at least once during each year. Click here to see when the portions of each edition dealing with federal laws and taxes was last fully revised and updated.
  • All software editions in this series, (not including the annual or biennial Kindle e-books), are also updated almost immediately after any new federal tax law changes that occur between the scheduled complete revisions.


ORDERING (ONLINE OR BY MAIL): Starting and Operating a Business in ... (your state) is available as a single-state edition, or as part of our Professional Edition Library that includes 33 state and D.C. editions. Downloadable and also available on CD-ROMs, for Windows. (State information for these 18 states is no longer included in the Professional Edition: ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MS, MT, OH, OK, OR, RI, TN, UT, VA, and WI.) (Mac versions are available only as Kindle e-books.)

For ordering options and prices through SWREG.ORG, the oldest software e-commerce vendor on the Net (now part of the Digital River group of companies), click on the image below:


Or, to select and order a Kindle Edition for your state through's Kindle Store ($9.99), CLICK HERE.



Copyright © 2019 Michael D. Jenkins, Esq. and Ronin Software
Please do not contact us for tax or legal advice.