Do you have what it takes to start a business and keep it going? There’s only one way to find out, and the journey starts here.
I’m thinking about starting a business, but I don’t know how. Where do I begin?
A well-constructed, written plan is essential to forming any new business. But before you can put a plan on paper, you must first:
Select a Legal Structure. Sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability company. Your choice depends on the type of business you envision and whether you plan to have employees or go it alone. See dba Florida for details.
Register a Fictitious Business Name (FBN). Fictitious Business Name is the legal term for an assumed name that a business uses instead of the name of its owner, also known as a DBA (short for Doing Business As) name. With a registered FBN, individuals or businesses may use trade names without the expense of creating a separate legal entity.
Choose a Location. Factors to consider: zoning for your type of business; affordability; whether the site is occupant-ready or needs renovation; proximity of complementary or competing businesses; availability of a labor pool you can draw from.
Apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Required, unless you are operating as a sole proprietor with no employees, in order to pay federal, state and local taxes. www.irs.gov/businesses/small
Register to Pay Federal, State and Local Taxes. Taxes include Federal Employment Tax (www.irs.gov), Florida Sales & Use Tax (dor.myflorida.com) and local Business Tax Receipt (Occupational License) and Tangible Personal Property Tax.
Secure the Necessary Permits and Licenses. Requirements vary depending on your business and the city/county in which you operate. For guidance and specifics, visit www.myflorida.com/dbpr and www.sunbiz.org.
Answer provided by Gray Poehler
Business Counselor, SCORE, Naples Chapter
How ready are you, really?
So you’ve long dreamed about opening your own business, but what does that mean? What exactly is your dream and how will you pursue it? Now is the time to determine your readiness for business ownership by answering these questions:
- Why do I want to start a business?
- What makes me think I can succeed in a business of my own?
- What kind of business will this be — retail, service, manufacturing?
- Will it be a brick-and-mortar operation or strictly online?
- Will I operate from home, a storefront or office space I rent?
- Will my customers come to me or will I go to them?
- Do I have the skill/talent/experience to run this business, and if not, how will I acquire it?
- Will I hire employees or go it alone?
- How will I pay for this?
- Where can I find help to get started and, later, to expand?
Register your business name online.
Registrations must be renewed every five years and re-registered if ownership of the name changes.