This article is dedicated to helping you start your small business as quickly and easily
as possible. In this section, we've listed the specific steps required to start
your business in any State. Once you've formulated your
business idea and
know where you'll
obtain the money to fund your new startup, the next step is following
our instructions for starting your business right the first time!
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Legal Structure Of Your Business
You basically have 4 choices when selecting a legal structure.
Click Here for a
detailed explanation of all 4.
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Corporation or S-Corporation
1 Select Proper Business Naming Resources:
- Business Naming
- Domain Name Search (helps you identify available domain names before you
register which can be helpful in determining general name availability)
2. Write Your
If you haven't already, prepare at least a preliminary
3. Obtain your
Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
If you are setup as a Corporation or an LLC (or a sole
proprietorship with employees), apply for a Federal Employer Identification
Number (FEIN) from the IRS. A FEIN will be necessary to open a bank account or
TIP: If you use our incorporation or
LLC formation services we can prepare this form for you and help
you obtain it instantly over the phone.
4. Open You New
Company Bank Account
Select a bank and open the company bank account.
TIP: Contact the bank
to opening the account to see what their specific requirements are to
open a business checking account; some banks' requirements are fairly simple
whereas some banks' requirements are extremely complex.
5. Lease Office, Warehouse or Retail Space
(if not then home-based)
Depending on your type of business (retail, office or warehouse), arrange for
office space to be leased. Contacting a commercial realtor in your area can be
helpful. Also, make sure to arrange for utilities and office furniture.
6. Obtain Licenses
and Permits for New Business
A. Federal Permits
Depending on the type of business you are in, you may need a Federal license
Most businesses do NOT
require a Federal license or permit.
However, if you are engaged in one of the following activities, you should
contact the responsible Federal agency to determine the requirements for doing
- Investment advising ( http://www.sec.gov )
- Drug manufacturing ( http://www.fda.gov )
- Preparation of meat products ( http://www.fda.gov )
- Broadcasting ( http://www.fcc.gov )
- Ground transportation ( http://www.dot.gov )
- Selling alcohol, tobacco or firearms ( http://www.atf.gov )
B. State Licenses
Some occupations and professions require a
State license or permit. Laws vary from State to State, however, if
you are engaged in one of the following professions, you should contact the
responsible state agency to determine the requirements for your business:
- building contractors
- insurance carriers
- real estate agents
- private investigators
- private security guards
- funeral directors
- bill collectors
State Licenses and Permits based on products sold.
Some state licensing requirements are based on the product sold. Contact your
state licensing authorities to determine the licensing requirements of your
business. For example, most states require special licenses to sell:
- lottery tickets
TIP: Most people engaged in the types of business that require a special
State License or Permit are already aware of the requirements (i.e. an
accountant is familiar with the licensing requirements for accountants).
C. Sales Tax Permit
If your company sells physical products
within the state where it does business, you may have to collect and pay sales
tax. This is usually accomplished by obtaining a State Seller?s Permit or Resale
service businesses that do not sell a physical, tangible product are NOT
required to collect sales tax, ask the State taxation agency for
D. Business License
Most Cities or Counties
require you to obtain a business license, even if you operate a home-based
business. This is a license granting the company the authority to do business in
7. Hire Some New Employees
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of
your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies
or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both).
8. Set up an
Accounting and Record-Keeping System For Your Business
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes
your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including: a
list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial
statements, annual reports, amendments or changes to the company. All Tax and
Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years.
9. Obtain Business
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually
packaged as ?General Business Insurance? or a ?Business Owner?s Policy?. This
can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy
can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection.
10. Systemize and
Organize Work Flow
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you.
This means have a method to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes,
maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the
business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on
growing your business.
View article about "Manage Your Company" for more help with systemizing and
automating your business.
11. Develop a New
Order business cards, letterhead and promotional materials for your
business. A professionally created logo can make your business look professional
TIP: View our "Business Identity" section for help with naming, logos,
trademarks and more.
12. Get the Word
Now that you've set-up the company for success, you need to get the word out.
Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal