Basic Questions and Answers
Learn the basics of starting and running a small business.
Q - What type of professional
or business license do I need?
A - It depends on the type of business. Business tax licenses, 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")
Florida’s Top Growth Industries from 2007 through 2015 will be administrative and support services, social assistance, ambulatory health- care services, water transportation, and specialty trade contractors.
» Will your business have some advantage over existing firms?
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 "Finding Money to Grow")
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 Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-4933. (See "Taxes")
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 MyFloridaMarketPlace at dms.myflorida.com.
Q - How do I register as a
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) 808-3660. The website floridaexporter.com also offers guidance.
(See related story: "Global Business: Playing on the World Stage")