The First Steps to Starting a Business

Registering a business is not difficult to do, if you know what you will need to get started. First, you will want to find your state or local ordinances on what is permitted. Then you'll need to get those licenses, permits and other registrations that you'll need to be legally recognized as a business in your state.

 

Legal Structure

 

You will need to figure out what legal structure your business is going to be. Is it a sole proprietorship? A corporation? A partnership? These are just a few of the different legal structures you can make your business.

Review all the options while you consider how much control you want to have over the business, the financial needs the business will have, and the range of responsibility you will want to have financially. Once you read up on all those different types and choose the one best for you, then it's time to file some paperwork.

 

Business Name Registration

 

You will need to file a DBA, or "Doing Business As" name, so that your name is synonymous with the business. If you are going to be doing business under your own name, you will be able to skip this step of the process. If the business is going to be listed as a corporation, a limited liability company, or a limited partnership, many times the paperwork for that registration will also register the business name. If this is the case for your area, then you will not have to refile the DBA paperwork.

 

Tax ID Numbers

 

If you are going to be anything other than a sole proprietor, you will need an EIN, or Federal Employer Identification number. You can get this from the IRS either online or by calling 1-800-829-4933. You will also need a state tax number that will allow you to have sales, income, and pay taxes. These guidelines will be found at your state and local tax office. You also may find quality information about these items at your local small business administration office.

 

License and Permits

 

After you have done all of the above you can then get a business license in the county you are going to be in. This is renewed every year to keep you legal in the state. All business licenses should be displayed in the business and have the correct information. If your license has incorrect information, it should be updated as quickly as possible.

 

Check Locally

 

While this is generally what is needed to register any new business, you may have specific local requirements that may differ or require additional paperwork. Checking with a local commerce center or city government office can save you tremendous time and effort, should this be the case. The small business administration office in your area should have a booklet or class available to those who are interested in starting up a new business in the area. If time permits, these classes are a great idea to get a full idea on what is expected of you.