If you’ve ever dreamed of starting your business in the Empire State, it’s important to understand how to navigate this terrain legally. Otherwise, your new venture could be sidelined before it even gets off the ground.
This article provides a brief overview of how to start a small business in New York.
Every business exists to solve a problem. One of the first steps in starting a small business is to determine what challenges your products or services will solve – and for whom. This means:
After working through the above action items, you should be able to develop a general idea of your short-term and long-term growth potential. Although everything is speculative at this stage, if the numbers make sense, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
At this next stage, it’s time to choose a brand identity – complete with a business name, relevant trademarks, business website URL, logo, and even a color scheme. For many budding entrepreneurs, designing a brand identity can be one of the most enjoyable steps in the startup process.
There are still some requirements involved, such as checking whether the name you want is available to use. In most cases, you should be OK if no other business in New York (and in your niche or industry) is using the same name.
In other words, it’s acceptable to have two Acme LLCs operating in the same state if one sells stereo speakers and the other provides landscaping services. You can easily verify the availability of any potential names using the New York Business Name Database. If you plan on filing for patents or trademarks, check the Federal Trademark Database.
Unlike most of the steps on this list, writing a business plan is optional, though it’s a good idea to have one for long-term planning. A business plan is especially important if you decide to bring on team members.
Keep in mind that business plans are basically required if you plan to secure outside financing. Investors, loan officers, and even friends and family members will expect to see a detailed plan before giving you money. The same is true if applying for small business grants in New York through the state’s Grant Library.
For legal and tax purposes, you must choose a corporate structure for your business:
You can always convert to a different corporate structure later if you feel your business might benefit from greater legal protection.
An EIN is essentially a Social Security number for your business. It’s what the IRS uses for tax purposes. Having an EIN is required for most of the steps below.
The IRS allows you to apply for an EIN online in the language you feel most comfortable.
Starting a business in New York often requires securing certain licenses and permits. The exact requirements depend on the nature of the business. For example, freelance graphic designers may not be heavily regulated in the state, however:
To see whether your business might be subject to licensing requirements, click here.
The term “employer obligations” refers to the payroll, taxes, and benefits you’re legally required to take on once you begin hiring employees. Depending on your business, these obligations might also include offering medical insurance, OSHA compliance, and mandatory industry-specific training.
Regardless of which corporate structure you choose, having a dedicated business banking account can make your life much easier. In addition to keeping your business and personal finances separate, this approach allows your business to access credit and make large-ticket purchases.
Once you have a business bank account, it’s time to start looking into payment acceptance. At Clover, small business owners often choose our payment processing solutions, since we:
In addition, we provide seamless integration with many third-party applications from the Clover App Market.
You’re just about ready to make that first sale. Before opening your doors, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy and business development plan.
We hope this guide offers you some insight on how to start a business in New York. As with any roadmap, there will be unexpected twists and turns along the way. Fortunately, countless resources exist to help you navigate this terrain, including the:
If you need help accepting payments, managing employees, tracking inventory, or running your business, you have us on your side. To start, schedule a free consultation with a Clover Business Consultant 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.
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