A Road Map for Success
Building a business is a lot like planning a trip.
You know your starting point and your final destination, but for all those miles in between, you’ll need a road map. So let’s create one, beginning with eight must-do tasks you’ll need to tackle first.
Choose a business structure. Your options are: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability. Choosing the right structure depends on the type of business you envision and whether you intend to have employees or go solo. See dba Florida™ for descriptions of each.
Choose a name. What will you call your business? The easiest choice: your own name. You might also consider keywords that relate to what you do or where you are located. Look to pop culture and to friends for ideas too, keeping in mind that the best names are:
- Concise – fewer than 10 letters for easy recall, log-ins and tweets;
- Flexible – in case you expand to new product lines or locations later on; and
- Original – search uspto.gov or trademarkia.com to be sure no one else is already using the name you’ve chosen.
And one final caveat: If you plan to conduct business under a name other than your own, you must file a Fictitious Name registration application with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. See dba Florida™ for details
Choose a location. Deciding where to site your business can be as important as choosing a name. As you ponder locations, consider these questions:
- Is the area zoned for your type of business?
- Can you afford the monthly rent at this location?
- Is the site occupant-ready or will renovations be needed?
- Are surrounding businesses complementary or competing?
- Is there a readily available labor pool you can draw from?
Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). To pay federal, state and local taxes, you must have an official federal ID number. If you are operating as a sole proprietor with no employees, your Social Security number is enough; otherwise, you will need to obtain an EIN. It’s free at irs.gov/businesses/.