6 steps you need to take to register your business


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Starting a business can evoke emotions like excitement and hope, but can also lead to feelings of overwhelm regarding the process. We’ve created a guide that will discuss how to register a business, the reasons to register, the benefits of registration, and the steps you need to take to help eliminate any sense of dread while going through this process.

How to register a business

Register your business by following this simple, six-step process: choose your business entity and a business location, register your business name, get registered with the IRS and local government agencies, and finally, apply for necessary licenses and permits.

Learn more about the specifics of registering a business by reading the in-depth explanations of each step below.

1. Choose a business structure

Your business structure is the foundation of your business, including how your taxes are filed, how personal assets are handled, and how day-to-day operations are controlled. It also impacts business registration, including how and who you register with. There are many types of business structures, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your organization’s needs.

The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietorship: This is the most common type of business designation. It doesn’t require formal registration, however, you may still need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits which can vary by industry and state. As a sole proprietor, you use your own name to conduct business and use your Social Security number as your tax ID number.

Key takeaway: This is what your business structure will be considered by default if you don’t pick one of the other options.

  • DBA: “Doing business as” simply allows sole proprietors to operate under a name other than their own. For example, if John Smith started a plumbing business, he could file to do business as Smith Plumbing. The DBA designation, like any sole proprietorship, doesn’t offer the liability protection of other business designations, but it’s still valuable for marketing and credibility purposes.

Key takeaway: It’s similar to a sole proprietorship, however, operates under a name other than your own.

  • Partnership: A partnership is a business with two or more owners. The most basic type of partnership is a general partnership, in which owners divide all profits and liabilities equally. In addition to a general partnership, other types of partnerships include:


  • Limited partnership: In this type of partnership, one partner has liability exposure, while the other has limited liability.
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP): In such a partnership, all business owners are safe from the debts of the business.

Key takeaway: If you co-own a business, you’ll likely have a partnership business entity.

  • Limited liability company (LLC): An LLC combines the simplistic tax laws of a partnership with the limited liability protection of a corporation. An LLC can have one or more owners, referred to as “members”. As a member of an LLC, you file taxes as if you were a sole proprietor or partner: All of your business income and deductions pass through to your personal tax return. However, the LLC is a separate entity, so members can’t be held personally responsible for the company’s debts or liabilities.

Key takeaway: LLC status separates personal assets from business liability.

  • C corporation: These are reserved for medium to large businesses. A C-corp’s income is reported on a separate tax return—and owners, or “shareholders,” are taxed separately. Shareholders hold stock in the company, and formal company proceedings (such as electing a board of directors and assigning board duties) are required. C-corps have tax advantages that other entities do not, but they are more expensive to set up and more complicated to run.

Key takeaway: C-corps are more complicated to run and have different tax advantages than other types of business structures, making this a better option for larger businesses.

  • S corporation: Like C-corps, S-corps offer limited liability protections, however, an S-corp is taxed more like a partnership or sole proprietorship. In other words, income passes through to the shareholders’ personal tax returns. However, the IRS is more likely to closely monitor S-corps’ taxes, and tax mistakes can even result in the termination of your S-corp.

Key takeaway: S-corps are taxed in a similar fashion to sole proprietorships and partnerships, with the limited liability protection of a C-corp.

2. Find a location

After choosing the structure, it’s time to settle on a location for your business. Even if your company operates mostly online, you still need to register a location for operations like receiving government documents, filing taxes, and more.

You can use a PO Box to communicate with customers and suppliers, but some government agencies require a street address to do business. Many lenders and suppliers also prefer to work with businesses that have a street address.

When researching potential locations, keep in mind the costs and taxes you’ll have to pay for filing at that address. If you work from home, ensure your business is allowed to register at your home address—some states won’t allow you to use your personal address as your business address.

3. Register your business name

Next, you’ll want to register your business name to prevent other businesses from using it now or in the future. Here’s how to register a business name successfully:


  • A separate entity, like an LLC or corporation: Registering your business name is part of the registration process. These entities can be registered through a lawyer or an online legal service.
  • Operating under a name other than your legal name: You’ll need to file a DBA. In some states, business owners have to file DBA registrations with the state agency in charge of business filings (usually the Secretary of State’s office).


4. Register with the IRS

Registering your business with the Internal Revenue Service will give you a federal EIN, or Employer Identification Number. This is essentially a Social Security number for businesses (sometimes referred to as a federal tax ID). EINs are necessary for things like filing taxes, opening business bank accounts, and hiring employees.

Remember that if you file your business as a sole proprietorship, you’ll use your own Social Security number as the federal ID number. With IRS registration, you’ll be able to report income tax, sales tax, franchise tax, and other business taxes.

5. Register with state and local agencies

You’ll need to register separately with some of your local and state agencies, such as:

  • Department of Revenue
  • Secretary of State
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Franchise Tax Board

Each entity has its own requirements that must be followed, so it’s worth working with an attorney to get things done correctly and in a timely manner.

6. Apply for a business license and permits

Specific licenses and permits are required to run different businesses, and they vary by industry and state. It’s a good idea to have any necessary licenses or permits before you start your business to avoid future problems. If you want to know what licenses and permits are needed for your business, you can contact your local branch of the Small Business Administration.

Do you need to register your business?

Ultimately, this depends on the type of business structure you’ve chosen. Existing businesses that are perhaps expanding should be aware of registration requirements, and new businesses should consider the following:


  • Sole proprietorships: These generally are not required to be registered, though registering would likely be beneficial to you and your business.
  • DBA: You may need to register your business with your state. This does vary state to state, so it is best to check with your state regulations.
  • Partnership: It’s always best to register a partnership with both the IRS and the state.

Why should you register your business?

Registering a business isn’t difficult, and the benefits far outweigh the time and effort it may take to do so. Registering your business separates your personal assets from your business assets, so they’re protected if you’re sued or encounter financial difficulties. You’ll also be protected from personal liability, which means you won’t risk losing your personal assets if something goes wrong with your company. Furthermore, if you intend to open a business bank account, you’ll need to provide proof that your business is properly registered with the state.
There are plenty of legal and tax reasons to officially register your business, but there are some real benefits for business owners as well:

Registering helps you build your brand’s reputation because potential customers will see you as a legitimate organization.
You can hire employees and pay them per your state’s laws. When you register your business with the state, you’ll receive a state EIN that allows you to collect state taxes for your employees.
Registering comes with its share of financial benefits, including tax benefits and the ability to officially apply for loans and other funding. Investors prefer to work with registered businesses. Finally, registered businesses earn insurance premium deductions, deferred tax payments, and more.

What to do next

Now that you’ve followed the tips for how to register a business and you’ve successfully registered your new business, it’s time to get your operations off the ground. Get out there and bring your business to life!

At this point, you’ll want to ensure you have digital and physical copies of your registration information. Work with a lawyer to collect all the information you need so that you can draw up contracts, begin marketing, and prepare for tax filings. For tax filing, work with a CPA and track your expenses and general bookkeeping with software.


This article originally appeared on the Quickbooks Resource Center and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


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5 tips for organic business growth


It’s no secret that startups have a prodigious failure rate. In fact, according to a recent Entrepreneur.com study, the four-year survival rate for a startup is just 49%.

With demoralizing stats like this in mind, entrepreneurs may be tempted to grow their profits through any means necessary, including inorganic strategies like acquisitions or mergers. However, the truth is that business owners can achieve impressive growth through organic strategies as well, allowing them to retain control of the companies they built from the ground up.




Also known as “true growth,” organic growth refers to the process of growing a business by reducing costs and increasing sales, either by finding more customers or enhancing output to current clients. On the other hand, inorganic growth occurs when a company merges with or is acquired by a second business. Entrepreneurs should take the time to familiarize themselves with the advantages of organic and inorganic growth, as well as some of the top strategies for execution, so they can decide which is the best choice for their business.

As a new business owner, you’ll likely want to increase profits as quickly as possible. By employing inorganic strategies like mergers and acquisitions, startups can grow their businesses more quickly while taking advantage of resources such as stronger credit lines and expanded market resources. Additionally, joining with another company lets you take advantage of its expertise and experience in the industry to develop your own brand.




By merging with another business, you agree to hand over some of your control and equity to another company. Not only can your initial vision become diluted, but you may also be forced to take on new business and managerial challenges before you’re truly ready. In some cases, you may have to rush to grow your staff and production capabilities to keep up with demand.

On the other hand, organic growth techniques allow you to grow your business on your own timeline. Because you aren’t sharing control with another company, you can hire employees and expand sales at your own pace. Additionally, entrepreneurs who maintain their autonomy now can sell for a larger profit later when the company is fully developed.

While retaining control of your company offers many advantages over the long haul, it can make business growth challenging in the short term. Some entrepreneurs struggle to grow beyond their current marketplace, while others find themselves cut down by the competition. Additionally, new businesses must often fight to make ends meet from month to month. Fortunately, strategies exist to help startups grow their profits without handing over control to partners or investors.

Here are just a few of those strategies to help you grow your business organically:




Want to grow a business that will feed your family and employees for years to come? The first step on the road to entrepreneurial success is starting the right kind of company.

With home-based and e-commerce businesses, you can avoid expenses like rent and commuting during the early, lean years of your company. As an added bonus, working out of the home lets you write off parts of your mortgage and electric bill. You can then invest these savings back into the business to help you grow in the long term.




A common conundrum for new business owners is whether to take your full cut of the profits or invest the money back into your company. While you may be tempted to keep some of those hard-earned dollars for yourself, you should aim to reinvest gross profits whenever possible to help your business grow. Investing your own money shows prospective clients and lenders that you are confident in your company’s long-term potential.

Not sure where to put profits? When in doubt, invest in marketing, SEO and other tactics likely to generate more business for your startup. If your income permits it, you may also want to invest in employee training and technological improvements, as these can yield large profits down the line for your company.




No matter how happy your current clients are with your offerings, you will have trouble growing your business organically if you don’t put effort into finding new sales channels. If you don’t currently sell your goods online, you should definitely consider starting a website to expand your reach to other regions. Additionally, you can introduce new products, cross-market services to your existing clients and expand to different markets. For example, a company that specializes in SEO may want to expand its services to include social media and search engine marketing.

Finally, business owners should employ market segmentation to customize their strategies according to the specific channels they are leveraging and the specific markets they are trying to reach. This way, you can create unique campaigns based on customer location and demographics and watch your sales rates skyrocket.




As a new business owner, you may feel the urge to micromanage everything that happens at your company. However, the truth is that macro-management is a far more effective way of enabling organic growth for your startup.

To keep your company moving forward, you should train top employees to take over some of your daily responsibilities. While you may be tempted to keep costs down by hiring employees who will work for less, in the long run these staff members could end up costing you more if their efforts aren’t up to par. Find people you can trust to get the job done—even when you’re not around—so you can focus on growing and developing your business in the years to come.




From minimizing spending, to reinvesting profits back into the business, organic growth strategies help ensure that you will retain control of the company you worked so hard to build. Do your research, and consider all the growth strategies available in order to give your business the best shot at success.

Do you know how sales taxes are impacting your bottom line? Check out our sales tax calculator.

This article originally appeared in the QuickBooks Resource Center and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.




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