Starting a business in Florida can be exciting. A popular destination for tourists, Florida offers a range of business ideas whether you want to make the most of the tourism industry or sell a product or service targeting the locals. Begin by taking some time to research and explore different ideas for your business to determine what you’re going to sell. Consider your own skills, interests, resources, and all the reasons you have for wanting to start your own business. It’s also important to consider your likelihood of success and any gaps in the market that you could fill.
Create a Business Plan
After you have decided on a business idea, it’s time to draft your business plan, which will help you get a better idea of your chances of making a profit. This will give you a clearer insight into your competition, startup costs, and the best strategies to use to make money. Most of the time, lenders and investors are going to want to see your business plan before they provide you with any loans or other financial assistance.
Decide on the Legal Structure
There are four common legal structures for small businesses which are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, and corporation. Take the time to research and consider which structure will offer the type of liability protection that you want along with the best financial and tax benefits for your business. Some business structures will also find it easier to get funding compared to others, so it is worth considering the financing benefits on offer.
Choose a Business Name
Choosing your business name is an important step as this is how your Florida business will be known and remembered. If you are running an LLC or corporation, you will need to make sure that the name is different to any other businesses that are registered with the Florida State Department. You will need to register your business name with the State Department in Florida if you are running a partnership or sole proprietorship with a name that is different from your legal name or the surnames of the partners. You’ll also want to register your business name as a domain name if you plan to build a website or do business online. Before finalizing your name, do a trademark search to avoid any trademark infringement issues if your name is the same as, or too similar to a business name that is already in use.
It’s worth thinking about the insurance that your business will need from as early as possible. Business insurance will protect your company and personal assets from the consequences of any unexpected disasters like natural disasters or legal problems like personal injury or product liability lawsuits. Along with getting general liability insurance to provide peace of mind that you’re financially covered if you face these issues, you will also need to get Florida workers’ compensation coverage if you are planning to hire employees to work at your business. This insurance is designed to protect you from personal injury lawsuits by paying out to cover any costs that are involved in an employee becoming injured or sick at work.
Get Licenses and Permits
Before you get set up your business and start trading in Florida, you will also need to check the licenses and permits that you are required to get. Most businesses in Florida will be required to obtain a general business license or business receipt, which is used in association with local business tax. If you are planning to hire employees that are taxed separately from you, you will also need to get a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is obtained from the IRS. However, there are several business reasons to consider getting an EIN even if you are not required to get one; one might be needed by other companies that you do business with to process payments, or you may need to have one to open a business bank account. There is no fee for getting an EIN and you can easily apply online.
Florida is a great state to start a business in with several different markets and audiences to target. But before you get started, make sure that you have these basics covered.