How to Register a Business. (US)

Starting a business is a huge accomplishment, but the work isn’t quite done. In order to operate legally, businesses must be registered with the state in which they plan to do business. The process of registering a business may vary slightly from state to state, but there are some common elements. To register a business, you will need to choose a business structure and file the appropriate paperwork with your state government. You will also need to obtain any licenses or permits required for your business type and location. Here is an overview of what you will need to do to register your business:
  • Choose a business structure
  • File paperwork with the state
  • Obtain licenses and permits
Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps:
1. Choose a business structure
The first step in registering your business is to choose a business structure. The most common business structures are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Each type of business structure has its own advantages and disadvantages. You will need to consider things like how much control you want over the business, your liability exposure, and tax implications when choosing a business structure.
2. File paperwork with the state
Once you have chosen a business structure, you will need to file the appropriate paperwork with your state government. This usually involves filing articles of incorporation (for corporations) or a certificate of formation (for LLCs). You will also need to obtain a federal employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS. This is used for tax purposes and will be required when you file your annual tax return.
3. Obtain licenses and permits
Depending on the type of business you are operating, you may need to obtain certain licenses and permits. For example, if you are opening a restaurant, you will need to obtain a food license from your local health department. You can usually find out which licenses and permits are required for your business by contacting your city or county government office.
Registering your business is an important step in ensuring that your business is operating legally. Taking the time to choose the right business structure and file the necessary paperwork, you can avoid any legal problems down the road.

General Business discussion and advice on starting and running a business.