Learn the basics of starting and running a small business
A. It depends on the type of business. Occupational licenses are required for most businesses and are issued by counties and cities. Check with the county tax collector or city clerk. Also, a state license may be required for certain businesses or professions. (See Forms, Permits & Licenses) Q. What are the basic skills I need to run a business?
A. Basic survival skills include a working knowledge of record keeping and financial and personnel management; an understanding of federal, state and local tax laws and legal structures; communication skills; and a good understanding of your product or service and the market for it. Q. How do I get a grant to start my business?
A. Generally speaking, grants given to business startups are very rare. An exception may be for high-tech type businesses or businesses producing products that can be used by certain agencies involved in our nation's defense. Most libraries have a Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, which lists the federal grants. The catalog also can be accessed at www.cfda.gov. Q. How do I get a loan for my new or growing business?
A. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a variety of loan programs. Your local SBDC can help you put together a loan proposal. (See Money & Pensions) Q. Where do I get information on state and federal taxes?
A. For state tax information, contact the Florida Department of Revenue at (800) 352-3671; for federal tax information, contact the IRS at (800) 829-4933. (See The IRS, Florida Department of Revenue and You) Q. What form of legal structure do you suggest for a new business?
A. Each form of business structure: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company or corporation, has its advantages and disadvantages. The one you should choose depends on your specific circumstances. Discuss this with your tax adviser. (See Choosing a Legal Structure) Q. How do I sell my product to the state?
A. The Florida Department of Management Services, Division of Purchasing, coordinates the purchase of goods and services for state agencies. To be placed on the vendors list, call (866) 352-3776 or click on MyFlorida-MarketPlace at dms.myflorida.com. Q. How do I register as a minority-owned business?
A. Florida's Minority Business Enterprise Program is operated by the Office of Supplier Diversity. For information, contact OSD at (850) 487-0915. Q. How do I sell my products or services outside the U.S.?
A. Enterprise Florida has an Office of International Trade & Business Development that provides direction and export advice. For information, call (305) 569-2650. The website floridaexporter.com also offers guidance. (See Global Business) Professional and business services companies added the most Florida jobs in early 2006. Second in job growth was the trade, transportation and utilities sector, with retail trade the sector leader.