What steps do I need to take to start a business?
1. Come up with a company name.
2. Get your Employer Identification number (EIN).
3. Register your trade name.
4. Get your business license. (File your Articles with your Secretary of State's office).
5. Complete a business personal-property tax form (if necessary).
6. Ask your locality about other permits.
7. Get a certificate of resale (if necessary) which allows you to collect state sales tax on products sold. (There is no sales tax on services.)
8. Get a business bank account.
What legal matters must I take care of when starting a business?
There are many legal matters people must take care of when starting a business. Some of the most important ones are:
- Choose your legal structure. This is one of the most important decisions you will make, as it affects many issues, including the personal liability of owners, reducing taxes, how easy it will be to bring in investors, and what will happen to the company when the owner dies.
The main business forms are a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company.
- Obtain required licenses and permits from the city, county, state and, in some cases, federal government.
- Register your business's name with the appropriate government entities.
- Obtain insurance to manage and control risks resulting from claims involving customers, suppliers, workers or government agencies.
- Have important contracts, including leases, franchise agreements, loan agreements, purchase and sale contracts and employment agreements drafted by an attorney or, if they have already been drafted, have them reviewed by your attorney before signing them.
What are the differences between a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and limited liability company?
Sole proprietorships are for people who run their business without co-owners. Sole proprietors are personally liable for their own acts and the acts of employees. Liability extends to all the proprietor’s assets.
Partnerships are structures for two or more people who jointly run a business. All partners have potentially unlimited liability for claims against the business (in the case of general partnerships).
There are several options for people who want to be owners yet have limited liability for claims against the business. Limited partnerships offer limited liability and the tax benefits of a partnership. Corporations offer shareholders the benefits of limited liability, a voice in the management of the business, and ease of transferring interests, but they do not offer the same tax benefits as a partnership (an exception is the "S Corporation"). Limited liability companies provide tax benefits of a partnership along with limited liability benefits of a corporation.
What if I want to operate my business under a different name?
People who do business under fictitious names must file and publish a “fictitious business statement” (sometimes called an "assumed name statement") with the county recorder.
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a document that summarizes the operational and financial objectives of a business and contains the detailed plans and budgets showing how the objectives are to be realized. It is the road map to the success of your business.
What is a 501(c)(3) organization?
A 501(c)(3) organization is a corporation, trust, unincorporated association, or other type of organization that is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code. It is the most common type of the 29 types of 501(c) nonprofit organizations in the United States.
Can you assist with setting my company up with merchant services?
What does the corporate kit include?
What is a Registered Agent and do I need one?
A registered agent is a responsible third-party who is registered in the same state in which a business entity was established and who is designated to receive service of process notices, correspondence from the Secretary of State, and other official government notifications, usually tax forms and notice of lawsuits, on behalf of the corporation or LLC. A registered agent accepts tax and legal documents on behalf of your business, making sure you don't miss important information regarding tax payments, lawsuits, or judgments involving your business; a registered agent may or may not have a role in the operation of the business itself. If you do not have a physical location in the state in which your business is registered, you must select a registered agent to accept documents on your behalf. The state in which your business is registered needs to know it has a contact person for your business within the state at all times; accordingly, PO boxes are not acceptable addresses for registered agents.