Business name – After
you’ve determined what your business name is going to be, you
are going to want to make it legal by filing a DBA (doing business
as). Check with your
county to see what their requirements are, but generally, you are
going to need to register it there.
Zoning – Whatever
business you go into, you have to run it from a place that allows
you to do so. This
would include your home. Chances
are that your home is either categorized as single family or
multi-family dwelling and those preclude starting a home business
without making a change to a combination zoning that would include
a small business. Call
anonymously to inquire regarding regulations on zoning.
Some municipalities have facility requirements that may
cost money and you will want to know what these are without
officials coming over for a peek.
Business structure – Are
you best off as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, and LLC or a
S or C Corporation? This
is a question that can only be answered by you and your business
anticipate that it is one that will have to be answered before you
go much farther. This of course does not mean that you cannot change it later.
Many small businesses opt for a change in the structure as
Get a business attorney
– Choosing an attorney could be an expensive option, but picking
a cheap one could be even more expensive.
A good business attorney is worth the money when they are
protecting your business.
Business license –
Chances are you will need several types of licenses before you get
going. A common one
is the city business permit.
License fees are generally based on last year’s revenue
or if you are starting up, your anticipated revenue.
Keep your projections small.
No sense paying more than you have to.
Other occupancy permits may also be required.
Check with your local, county and state governments to make
sure you have it all covered.
Tax ID/Sales Tax – You
will need a tax ID number from the IRS and from your state
government. Make sure
you remain legal by doing these immediately.
Contractors may also refuse to pay you if you do not have
this number, particularly if you anticipate collecting more than
$600 from any organization. Sales
tax ID numbers are also important if you happen to be selling a
product. If you do
not collect sales tax, you could be in some very hot water.
– Don’t even think about opening your doors for business if
you don’t have some sort of liability insurance.
This is particularly true in personal and medical services
trades. One wrong
slip, one missed appointment, or even something that isn’t your
fault could put yourself at total risk, particularly if you are