Starting a business is a scary but exciting next step in your career. It can provide you the freedom and flexibility of being your own boss while also burdening you with the responsibility and risk of running an organization.
Florida is a great state to start a business in, but the process can be confusing and intimidating. A little bit of research can go a long way in boosting your confidence.
You can start by going through this checklist for starting a business in Florida to get a general idea of the steps to take before you begin operations and reading these five tips for starting your business in Florida.
Have a Solid Concept
Good businesses start with good ideas. Before worrying about paperwork, business structures, locations, or anything else, make sure that your concept is solid. Workshop your ideas with some trusted friends or associates to work out any potential hiccups in your business concept so that you know how to address them before a potential business partner, lender, or investor catches you off guard with a question about your plans.
If your business concept relies on creating a novel product or service, you should research to make sure no one else has already come up with the same idea. Alternatively, if you are starting a new business using a classic concept you should start networking with other business owners in the industry. They will have valuable insight into starting and operating your business and may be able to help you make connections with suppliers or contractors.
Explore Methods to Fund Your Venture
Especially if this is your first business or you are planning to open a small business, your first instinct is probably to save up and invest your own money into the venture. This is a perfectly fine option, but it is worthwhile to explore additional methods to fund your business. Finding a lender, partner, or investor could allow you to invest more from the outset and take advantage of economies of scale. Outside funds could allow you to open your business sooner rather than later. This could enable you to dedicate more time to growing the organization or allow you to leave a bad job earlier.
Find a Beneficial Business Structure
There are many things to keep in mind as you decide how to structure your business. A sole proprietorship is often the easiest to establish with little paperwork required but leaves you personally liable for any damages caused in the course of business operations. Creating a corporation allows you more flexibility in raising capital but that comes at the cost of increased regulation, lots of paperwork, and higher tax rates.
Many business owners choose to set up an LLC to gain asset protection, while still reaping the benefits of pass-through status on taxes, which means that you can include business gain and loss on your personal tax return. You should make sure you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each business structure before you settle on one for your organization.
Get All Your Paperwork in Line
Now that you have some idea how you want to structure your business, you’ll have to deal with the paperwork. If you choose a business structure besides a partnership or sole proprietorship, you will have to file an Articles of Organization for your business with the state of Florida.
For tax purposes will need an Employer Identification Number from the IRS and to register for Florida sales and reemployment taxes as appropriate. This doesn’t even hit upon all the local regulations you may have to comply with and the licensure requirements for regulated professions. You can check out this checklist for starting a business in Florida to make sure you don’t forget any of these steps when you are setting up your organization.
Get the Word Out
Advertising may be the last thing you’re worrying about if you are just starting your business, but it is never too soon to spread the word. Before your business even opens, you can use social media, flyers, or if you have the extra money to spend, paid advertising to let people know about your services.
Failing to publicize the opening of your business will lead to loss of critical income on your opening days or weeks as the community slowly becomes aware of your new services.