Below is a summary checklist of resources for starting a Florida business.
Choose a business concept and idea.
Every business must have a purpose beyond making money. This startup phase aims to identify the problems that people and other companies face and determine how your business could help them solve those problems.
Create a business plan to secure funding.
You’ll need to have a plan to help you stay on track if you will invest time, money, and other resources into this venture. U.S. Small Business Administration offers a resource for writing business plans, including tips on forecasting startup costs and potential profit. After you have your financials figured out, it is time to start looking for funding. This can be done through banks, investors, or friends and family.
Search for business names, trademarks, and branding.
Most states prohibit registering two or more businesses in the same industry using similar or similar names. Check the Florida Business Name Database to see if your business name still exists. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Search Database can be used to check trademark status.
After you have chosen your business name and checked it in these databases, start creating a brand identity. This includes the values, logos, and taglines that define your company. Consider whether trademarking your business name makes sense.
Decide on a business structure.
Next, you must choose the best legal structure for your company.
- A sole proprietorship is the simplest structure to establish, requiring minimal paperwork. This structure offers the least protection as it does not distinguish between your assets and liabilities and your company’s.
- General Partnership: A famous structure when there are more than two owners. Some partnerships combine personal and business assets, while others separate the two.
- Corporation, The most protective structure of all is the corporation. This structure also requires more setup and maintenance. It is therefore preferred by larger companies and less popular with startups.
- Limited Liability Company: The LLC structure is an excellent compromise for small businesses. The formation and maintenance of LLCs is relatively simple. The LLC clearly distinguishes between your assets and liabilities as an individual and the company.
Visit the Division for Corporations to find out the exact requirements.
Employers can apply for an EIN.
Employer Identification numbers are the social security numbers of citizens and Social Security Numbers for businesses. The IRS uses these numbers to track tax and benefit payments in both cases. You can only start a business in Florida or the U.S. with an EIN. Use the IRS’s online free form to apply for one immediately.
Obtaining licenses and permits
In Florida, many businesses and occupations are regulated. Before starting a business, doctors, nurses, massage therapy practitioners, and restaurant owners must obtain a license or certification. Use the search tool to see if your business is subject to the same government regulations.
You’ll also need to set up your payroll and benefit plans if you plan on hiring employees. These obligations may also include OSHA guidelines, workplace regulations, and minimum wages, depending on the nature of your company. Visit the Employment and Labor Guide for an overview of Florida’s employer requirements.
Filing the appropriate federal, State, and Local Taxes
Filing taxes for your company is much more complicated than reporting personal income. If you are not a professional, hire a certified public account (CPA) to file your federal, state, and local paperwork correctly.
Prepare to accept payments.
Before you can begin selling, you need to be able to process payments securely. Clover is the payment solution of choice for many Florida startups.
- Easy setup and 24/7 support
- Data security that is PCI compliant and fraud prevention
- Choose from a wide range of POS Systems as well as eCommerce Solutions
- Other Financial Solutions
- Integrate with business management applications from the Clover App Market
- Reporting and analytics for business.
Schedule a free consultation today with a Clover Business Consultant to learn more.
How to set up a business bank account
It is easier to separate your personal and business finances if you have a bank account. A business account is required if you want to open a Merchant Account, which allows you to accept debit and credit cards and other electronic payments.
Start marketing strategy for continued business development.
In Florida, the final step in starting a new business is to get people into the building.
- You can attract initial sales with your marketing strategy. We’ve also published a piece about creating marketing plans.
- Continued business growth is the key to keeping customers coming back. We offer a range of point-of-sale solutions, including loyalty programs and customer engagement, gift certificates, and more.