The next steps to starting your own business begin with identification and continue with getting your business properly registered and licensed to operate. You’re getting very close to opening your doors for the first time and welcoming customers to your business!
Once you’ve chosen your preferred business structure, it’s time to choose a business name—this will begin the process of getting your business licensed and identified. Your business name should be something memorable and unique but not complicated.
As you’re choosing a business name, check to see if the online domain name is available. Establishing your online presence is critical for modern businesses, so it’s best to make sure you have access to the domain that makes sense for your business.
You may also need to establish a DBA for your business, which is “Doing Business As.” Your business name may be “Jazzy’s Fish and Aquariums,” but your DBA is “Jazzy’s Fish.” If you do choose to have both a business name and a DBA, you will need to file for both.
The benefits of having a DBA include being able to use it as a “trade name” and obtaining a business license with your DBA.
As you begin filing forms for your business—usually with the Secretary of State—you will also need to choose a registered agent in your state and for any state you plan to operate in. Once you’ve filed the initial paperwork, you will receive a certificate that will allow you to apply for licenses, a tax identification number (TIN), and a business bank account.
Once you have those, you can apply for an employer identification number (EIN). The only businesses that do not need an EIN are sole proprietorships with no employees. If you ever plan to hire employees, however, it’s better to have an EIN so you can bring employees on board more quickly. To get an EIN, you simply need to submit a form to the IRS, and they should have a number assigned to you in just a few short minutes.
The legal requirements of your business depend on its industry and locale, but most businesses will need local, state, and federal licenses in order to operate legally. You can either consult a lawyer or your local government office to get advice and ensure that you have all of the licensing and documentation required.
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