How to Register Your Business
Registering your new business can be tricky.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to do…
1. Pick an Available Name
It’s so important to pick a company name that is available and isn’t trademarked.
A trademark is the exclusive right to use a company name.
The company that owns the trademark for a name is the only one who can use it. If you use a trademarked name, you could be sued or forced to rebrand.
It doesn’t matter if the LLC name or DBA name is available.
You’ll want to run a trademark search to make sure your name is available. Otherwise, you might be registering a company name that you can’t legally use.
Read More: The Smart Way to Name Your Company
2. Think About Becoming a Company
You may want to register your business as a legal company.
There is one big benefit to becoming an LLC or Corporation: limited liability.
If You Don’t Register
You and your business are the same person.
You’re personally liable for everything that happens in the business.
Your personal assets are considered company property.
You may have to use your house, car, or bank account to pay for business debts, contracts, and lawsuits.
If You Do Register
You and your business are separate people
You aren’t personally liable for business debts or lawsuits.
Your personal assets are considered separate from the business.
You won't need to use personal assets to pay business debts.
Heads up that you’ll have to register in the state where you run your business.
Read More: When to Register Your Business
3. Think About a DBA
You may need to file a DBA or a Doing Business As with your city/county.
You typically need a DBA if you’re not registering your company as an LLC or Corporation AND your business name is different than your personal name.
You also need a DBA if you are registering your company as an LLC or Corporation AND you’re using a different brand name than the registered name.
You'll typically file a DBA with your county or state.
4. Get an EIN
You’ll want to obtain an EIN from the IRS. That’s your Employer Identification Number.
It’s how you’re identified as a business. It’s basically your business’s social security number. You can use it to file your taxes as a business as well.
You can do it online and it’s pretty simple. It should take about 10 minutes and it’s free.
You can do this as a sole proprietorship, partnership, llc, or corporation.
A heads up: if you’re filing an LLC or Corporation, you’ll want to do that first so that your legal company has the EIN.
5. Get a Business License
Many cities and counties will require you to file a business license.
This is the paperwork you need to do business in that city/county.
Some cities require it for everyone. Some only require it for certain industries.
Head to your city or county website to see if you need a business license.
Typically, you can file a business license online or head into their office.
6. Register for Sales Tax
Read your state tax website to see how to register with your State Tax Board.
Typically, not all products and services need a sales tax.
Many states do not tax services, shipping, wholesale, unprepared food, or clothing. In some states, it even matters how purchases are itemized in your online checkout.
Find out your state and local sales tax laws to determine if your products and services even need to be taxed.
7. Open a Business Bank Account
It's so much easier to keep all business income + expenses in one place.
When it’s time to file business taxes, you’ll want to have it separate so you can calculate how much you spent on your business.
Trust me, that gets messy when you keep it all together.
So make things easy on yourself and set up a separate account.
It’s also necessary to keep your limited liability as an LLC or Corporation.
If you want your business to be separate, you have to keep your money separate.
Read More: Girl, You Need a Business Bank Account