First Steps to Start a Business
To operate a business in the United States, a person must form a business legally, obtain the necessary permits and licenses, establish a system to pay taxes correctly, and follow other required business formalities. The requirements vary from state to state, but are similar in nature. The next steps are essential to start a business legally in Florida, for example:
- Select the best legal entity to form your business and determine if you must register your business with the Florida Department of State (or in the state where the business will operate.)
- Develop the organizational documents and company formalities required under state law.
- Obtain a Federal Employer’s Identification Number” or “EIN” for the business with the United States Internal Revenue Service.
- Evaluate the tax liability for the business at Federal, State and Local levels.
- Determine if you must obtain a professional license with the applicable licensing agency or agencies.
- Obtain an Business Tax Receipt (also known as Occupational License in some jurisdictions) with the county and/or city where the business resides.
- Register the business employees at a state level with the Department of Revenue (required in Florida).
- Determine if your business must pay Sales Tax.
- Register your business to pay Tangible Property Tax.
- Determine if your business must pay Impact Fees.
- Secure the Zoning Permit to operate your business in the selected business location.
- Obtain the proper insurance for the business.
- Write a Business Plan and a Marketing Plan.
- Develop written contracts with key employees, subcontractors and suppliers, as needed.
- Write a Company Policy or Employee Handbook for your business.
- Implement a Performance Measures system to ensure your business objectives are being met. Address this periodically.
- Protect your Intellectual Property (e.g., trademarks, patents, copyrights).
- Before starting business, finalize your due diligence research to ensure that you are informed of all legal requirements in the state, county and locality where your business resides. (e.g., Non-profit businesses require additional filings.)
* This material is an excerpt from the book “Does Your Compass Work? Practical Legal Guide for Florida Businesses.” Copyright © 2008-2015 Yasmin Tirado-Chiodini. All Rights Reserved. This excerpt is provided under a Creative Commons License.