Friday, December 16, 2011

How to simply start a business, in logical sequential steps

The first step is to decide which type of business you want to start:

The most basic form of business is a sole proprietorship. We will be outlining the process with the simplest form of a business, the sole proprietorship. The following steps will continue to be modified and updated to the most streamlined and time efficient process as possible.

Step 1: Make sure you have a "physical address" for the place you are doing business. If it is a home business you can use your home address. If you are planning on renting space you will need the address (which may prove to be quite a paradox if you want to officially start the business but don't have the lease yet).

  • Confirm with the Community Development Department of the city your business is located; that your business type is permitted at the location you are planning on leasing. This is important because you don't want to sign a lease and then find out when you apply for a business license that your business type isn't permitted at that location.
  • If you have a medical practice / chiropractic practice make sure that your location is zoned for medical if you are on the first floor many cities require there to be a quota of parking spaces for each medical practice. I have heard if you are on the second floor you  may not need medical classification and there may not be an extra parking requirement but that may vary city to city.  

Step 2:   File for a "fictitious name" if you wish to name your business anything other than "your name" such as Dr. Smith's office. So if you wish to use a made up name such as "Relaxation Health Spa" then you must file for a fictitious name.    

  • File a fictitious name at the office of your County Clerk in the county with which your business is located.
  • Next they will require you to advertise this business name in a local "qualified" paper which they should give you a list. Once this has been done for usually 4 weeks then the paper usually sends the county a certificate that says that requirement is done. 

Step 3:   EIN "Employee Identification Number" aka federal tax identification number. File for your EIN with the IRS, this can be done online or by mail through forms obtained online. link to IRS application for EIN

  • If you have multiple businesses usually you can use the same EIN if they are all sole proprietorships that you own personally.
  • Depending on what and who you sell to you may need to register with the franchise tax board of your state. This sometimes may differ if you are a doctor selling supplements as a convenience to your patient.
Step 4: Open a business bank account. You will need your fictitious name + EIN which is essentially the business equivalent of a social security number.

Step 4:   File for a business license with the city you are doing business in. Most city websites will have a webpage with a PDF of the business license application you can download fill out and submit. 

Step 5:   Get business inspected, this is usually required if you have potentially hazardous materials used in the business such as X-Ray developer, fixer, equipment.

Step 6:   Obtain general liability business insurance. You can often get this insurance through your car or house insurance company.

Step 7: Join the local city Chamber of Commerce

Step 8: Join a local business networking group such as