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 attorney. However, 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 they mature.
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.Insurance – 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