10 Easy Steps To Take If Opening A New Business

Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions, and completing a series of legal changes. As prepared by the Small Business Administration (SBA), these 10 easy steps can help you plan, prepare and manage your business:

Step 1: Write a Business Plan. Use the tools and resources that are offered by the SBA to create a business plan. A written guide prepared with help from the SBA will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.

Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training. Take advantage of the SBA’s free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.

Step 3: Choose a Business Location. Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.

Step 4: Finance Your Business. Find government-backed loans, venture capital, and research grants to help you get started.

Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business. Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit, or cooperative. It’s wise to consult an attorney and an accountant before making a final decision on the legal structure of the business you plan to open.

Step 6: Register a Business Name ("Doing Business As"). Register your business name with your state government.

Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number. Learn which tax identification number you'll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.

Step 8: Register for State and Local Taxes. Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers' compensation, and unemployment and disability insurance.

Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits. Get a list of federal, state, and local licenses and permits required for your business.

Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities. Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.

The SBA also points out that a number of programs are available to assist startups, micro businesses, and underserved or disadvantaged groups.

The following resources provide information to help specialized audiences start their own businesses:

  • Environmentally friendly "green" business
  • Home-based business
  • Online business
  • Self-employment
  • Minority-owned business
  • Veteran-owned business
  • Woman-owned business

Finally, you can save money when starting or expanding a business by using government surplus. From commercial real estate and cars, to furniture, computers, and office equipment, find what you need for your business in one place.

Go to SBA.gov for help in following these 10 steps and for gaining access to the resources that are available for small businesses. You also should engage the assistance of an attorney and an accountant up front.

This article was written by a professional financial journalist for G.W. Sherwold and is not intended as legal or investment advice.

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