Business Structure | Naming Your Business | Permits and Licences | Location
Now that your business plan, if not finished, is at least underway, you can begin the process of actually building your business: deciding how it will be structured, giving it a name, selecting a location and securing any necessary permits and licenses. Are you ready? Then let’s get started.
Choose Your Structure
One of your first decisions as a business owner is to determine how your company will be structured: as a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability company. Choosing your best fit depends on your personal tax situation, type of business, number of owners and whether or not you plan to have employees.
For information on corporate filing fees and to register your business name online, go to sunbiz.org. Registration must be renewed every five years and re-registered if ownership of the name changes. For questions regarding online registration of fictitious names, call (850) 245-6058.
Naming Your Business
Pick the Perfect Name
Choosing a name is one of the most important business decisions you’ll ever make, and it’s a task you shouldn’t take lightly. Plenty of advice about how to name your business is available online, but here are four tips to get you started:
1. Brainstorm Gather friends and family for a brainstorming session. Come up with keywords that relate to you, your business and the products or services you provide. Look to pop culture and literary devices for ideas.
2. Be concise Many of the business names we know best — Apple, Exxon, Google, Mattel, CitiBank and Starbucks — have just 5-10 letters. They’re easy to spell, easy to pronounce, easy to search and fit in a 144-character Tweet.
3. Keep your options open You might want to one day enlarge your product line or expand into new locations, so give your company a name that allows you the flexibility to do that.
4. Consider trademark The name you ultimately choose is no good if it’s already taken. Before you order signage or letterhead, do an online search (www.uspto.gov or www.trademarkia.com) to see if another company is already using the name.
If you intend to conduct business under a name other than your own, even if the name seems very similar, you must file a Fictitious Name registration application with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. For all the details, see dba FloridaTM.