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September 25, 2018

Basic Questions and Answers

Learn the basics of starting and running a small business.

| 3/2/2009


Ask yourself these questions:

» Will your business have some advantage over existing firms?

» Do you have a product or service that is in demand?

» Are you willing to risk your savings on the business?

» Do you mind investing 50, 60 or 70 hours a week to run a business?

Q What type of professional or business license do I need?

A It depends on the type of business. Local business tax receipts, formerly called 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. (See “Forms, Permits & Licenses”)

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. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, which lists the federal grants, is available online at

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 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 “On the Money Trail”)

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 or; for federal tax information, contact the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-4933 or (See “Taxes”)

Q How do I register as a minority-owned business?

A Florida’s Certified 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 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 MyFloridaMarketPlace at

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) 808-3660 or check for seven Florida field offices. (See “Taking on the World”)

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”)

Hot businesses for the future include:
» senior care
» green living
» personal care
» fitness
» pet products and services
» party and event planning
» children’s products and services
» physical therapy

Business Toolbox
The Basics
Choosing a Legal Structure
Preparing a Business Plan
Fast Money Factoring
Certified Development Cos
SBA Lending
Forms, Permits & Licenses
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Labor Law Basics
Insurance Basics
Selling to the Government

Tags: Florida Small Business

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