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Start-Up Details

biz_startupYou've worked hard on your business. You have a great idea, have come up with a good business plan, and can't wait to get started. But before you do, don't forget to attend to the details. Registering your business name, having the appropriate state licenses and permits, and knowing all there is to know about taxes are integral steps you must take in order for your business to be legal and successful!

Naming Your Business

What's in a name? Everything! Your business name is what potential customers will see first, so it's important to choose the right business name. What should you consider when choosing a name?

- Because your business name will be used in print and verbally, consider it a marketing tool. To that end, it should describe your business. For example, let's say you own a mobile veterinary service. The name Vet2Pet is much more descriptive than, say, Kim's Veterinary Service.
- Keep it short, easy to pronounce, and memorable. If your name is Otto Schniewind, and you repair Audi's for a living, Otto's Audi Repair rolls off the tongue and is much more memorable than Schniewind's Audi Repair. 
- Your name should project your company's image. For example, Budget Bonesetters connotes quite a different image than Performance Orthopedic Services.
- Never, ever order printed material with your business name on it until you have registered your business name!
You are going to have to register your business name with your state before you use it. You should know that no matter how perfect you think your name is, it may be rejected because someone else is already using it. Your business registration fee will most likely include a business name search that will determine if anyone else is using your name. It's always a good idea to come up with three or four alternate names and submit them simultaneously.
Where do you go to register your business name? Well, that depends upon where you live. Check with you local Chamber of Commerce for state-specific information.

Licenses, Permits, and Certificates

The types of licenses, permits, and certificates that are required for you to legally run your business will depend upon what kind of business you are operating, as well as where you are operating it. Never, ever think about overlooking the required licenses and permits. At the very least, businesses operating without the correct licenses and permits have difficulty applying for loans, purchasing goods for resale, and opening bank accounts. They are also subject to fines and closure. Licenses, permits, and certificates you may need include:

- Business License. At the very least, you'll need a business license to legally operate your business. Your local Chamber of Commerce can guide you in obtaining the correct license for your business.
- Building Permit. If you are going to alter a building's mechanical system, or are planning on renovating to better accommodate your business, you'll need a building permit.
- Vendor Permit. If you are reselling goods or services, you'll need this permit. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce for details.
- Sales Tax Permit. Depending upon the type of business you run and its location, you may need a sales tax permit. For all the business taxation information you need, check out the Internal Revenue Service at www.irs.com.
- Professional Certification. If you are a doctor, vet, lawyer, plumber, or any other type of business that requires certification, you'll need proof of this before you hang out your shingle.
Other licenses, permits, and certificates that you might need, depending upon your business, include fire safety inspection permits, hazardous materials handling permits, import/export certificates, police clearance certificates, environmental laws, and laws pertaining to food and drug safety administered through the FDA.


Business taxation is extremely complicated! It makes sense to seek the help of a tax professional when it comes to taxation issues. The IRS also has lots of information on its web site, www.irs.com, as well as free publications that explain business taxation issues. However, there are a few rules of thumb that you should know when setting up your business. We'll break these into categories of business earning tax, employee tax, and sales tax. 

- Business Earning Tax. How you pay your taxes will depend upon whether your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or LLC. Before deciding which business structure you want to use, it makes sense to look at the tax advantages and disadvantages associated with each structure.
- Employee Tax. Any business that hires employees needs to get an employee identification number (EIN), prepare and submit employee tax forms, and withhold and remit the right amount of both the employee's and employer's portions of social security, Medicare, and employment insurance.
- Sales Tax. Most states have a sales tax in place that businesses must charge on consumer purchases. The tax is then remitted back to the appropriate government agency. You can find out how to get your sales tax number by contacting your local SBA or Business Service Center office.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you are a business owner get listed at Best Repair site, part of Localwin Network.
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