It’s no secret that Florida is a top destination for retirees. It also attracts those who are just starting their careers – including entrepreneurs looking to launch businesses. It’s easy to see why, given that Florida was recently ranked in the top three for the most business-friendly states in the country.
If you’re also interested in starting a venture in the Sunshine State, there are many useful resources to point you in the right direction, including Florida’s:
If you’re looking for a high-level overview of these resources, below is a summarized checklist for starting a business in Florida.
Obviously, every business needs a reason to exist beyond making a profit. At this stage of the startup process, the goal is to determine what kinds of problems people or other businesses are facing – and how your business can help solve these problems.
If you’re going to commit time, money, and other resources to this venture, you’ll need a roadmap to keep you on track. The U.S. Small Business Administration has a great resource on writing business plans – complete with tips on forecasting startup costs and profit potential. With these financials worked out, you can begin shopping for financing from banks, investors, friends, family members, or even crowdfunding websites.
Many states have rules against registering two or more companies in the same niche using the same or similar names. To verify whether your business name is still available, be sure to check the Florida Business Name Database. You can also check the status of trademarks using the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Search Database.
Once you’ve chosen a business name and verified it with these databases, you can start designing a brand identity, including the values, logos, taglines, and color palettes that define your business. You can also consider whether it makes sense to try to trademark your business name.
The next step involves choosing the most appropriate legal structure for your business.
To see the exact filing requirements for whatever legal structure you choose, visit the state’s Division of Corporations.
Social Security numbers are to citizens what Employer Identification Numbers are to businesses. In both cases, the IRS uses these unique numbers to track taxes and benefits. Without an EIN, you can’t open a business in Florida, or in the U.S. in general. Apply for yours as soon as possible using the IRS’s free online form.
Many businesses and occupational fields are regulated in Florida. Doctors, nurses, massage therapists, and restaurant owners, for example, all need a certification or license before they can go into business. To see whether your business is also subject to these types of government regulations, use the license search tool on the Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) website.
If you plan to hire employees, you’ll need to properly set up payroll and benefits. Depending on the nature of your business, these employer obligations might also extend to OSHA guidelines, workplace safety, and minimum wage regulations. For a more comprehensive overview of employer requirements for starting a business in Florida, visit the state’s Employment and Labor Guide.
Filing taxes for your business is a lot more complex than reporting personal income. Unless you’re a trained professional, consider hiring a certified public accountant (CPA) to make sure your federal, state, and local paperwork are all in order and filed properly.
You need a way to securely process payments before you can start making sales. Many Florida startups choose Clover to help with payment acceptance due to our:
To learn more about our suite of payment processing and business management solutions, schedule a free consultation with a Clover Business Consultant today.
Regardless of what legal structure you choose, having a business bank account makes it easier to keep your personal finances separate. You’ll also need a business bank account if you plan to set up a merchant account to accept credit cards, debit cards, and other electronic payments.
The final step when starting a business in Florida involves getting people through the door.
If you’d like to learn more about how our PCI-compliant payment solutions and business management app integrations can help your business thrive, schedule a free consultation with Clover today.
This information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial, or tax advice. Readers should contact their attorneys, financial advisors, or tax professionals to obtain advice with respect to any particular matter.