There’s a lot to think about when you’re starting your business. A few of your initial “to dos” include creating your business concept, figuring out your financials, gathering industry data, and so much more! Identifying legal considerations on the Federal, state and local level is a good starting point.
You don’t know what you don’t know and that’s why The Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) is here to help! We want to make sure your small business starts off on the right foot. We want you to be financially and personally protected from the onset with our business assistance. Here’s a checklist to get you going:
- Review your business model to be sure you are comfortable with the readability of your business and the profit you can expect to make. Lenders require a detailed plan. If additional financing is not needed, draft a summary proposal of your business idea which will serve as a business roadmap. Research how you will finance your venture and determine if you can accrue the finance you need.
- Select a business entity; referred to as choosing a legal structure, then register the business name with the state of Connecticut and/or your municipality. Will you need to establish a foreign entity? Address an operating agreement and any other legal documents required for the entity chosen.
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), if needed.
- Register for a Connecticut Tax Registration Number (TRN). Call the CT Department of Revenue Services to inquire about whether your services are taxable. Product sales require a sales tax permit regardless of whether the product is taxable. Answers to tax obligation questions are needed in order to complete the REG-1 application.
- Do you need a professional or occupational license? If so, research and obtain the license you need.
- Understand the difference between employees and contractors. If hiring employees:
- Register with the CT Dept. of Labor (Employer Status Unit)
- Contact your local Social Security office for guidance regarding wage reporting to SSA
- Obtain Worker’s Compensation Insurance
- Obtain business insurance. Speak with an insurance carrier or broker about coverage needed.
- Each municipality sets its own rules for business activity. Some require you register with them, while others have requirements for zoning, building improvements, signage etc. The city/town hall clerk’s office is a good place to start.
- Open a business bank account. You will need to present a copy of your Certificate of Organization/Incorporation or your Trade Name Certificate, as well as your EIN (if you have one). Speak with your lender about establishing a business line of credit.
- Establish an online presence including a website and social media most relevant to your business model to start building brand recognition. List your business on Google. Do you need a logo and/or intellectual property protection
- Set up your business ‘books’. You will need to track business expenses and income. Consider utilizing an accountant.
- Optional: Obtain a D-U-N-S number. This number will be used to identify your business in the Dun & Bradstreet commercial credit database.
This checklist offers a lot of information, and we’re here to help you! CTSBDC provides business advising to small business owners and entrepreneurs to start, grow and thrive in Connecticut. Our Business Advisors offer professional, confidential, and expert business advice for owners to overcome challenges and reach their goals. We have free resources, tools, and online training to support business owners. We also provide geographic-based demographics, consumer spending data, market research, financial projections, industry reports and so much more! We are committed to enhance Connecticut’s economic wellbeing and build thriving communities. Contact us today at www.ctsbdc.com for more information, or to sign up for our free services click on the “Request Business Advising” button on the top right of the page.
Written by Mary Kay Della Camera, Connecticut Small Business Development Center Microenterprise Business Advisor.