How To Get Your Business Registered

Woman standing against wall with text overlay "How To Get Your Business Registered"

Registering your business might not be the most exciting part of being a business owner, but it’s undeniably essential in order to start a business. Registering your business, or forming your business, is the process of transforming your brainchild into a recognized legal entity within your city or state. This crucial step allows you to obtain the necessary permits and licenses to operate, safeguarding your venture’s legitimacy. It’s also the most important step to legally protect yourself from liability in your business.

It's essential to register your business

But let’s face it, registering a business isn’t exactly a thrilling adventure. In fact, it can often feel like a bureaucratic maze filled with paperwork, rules, and procedures that can leave your head spinning. It’s a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating endeavor that many entrepreneurs would rather avoid. However, here’s the reality: if you want to run a legitimate business and avoid potential legal issues down the road, you need to go through the process of business registration.

But not to worry, I’m here to guide you through the process of getting your business registered with ease and efficiency. Think of me as your legal GPS, helping you navigate the twists and turns of business registration. I’ll break down the steps you need to take, demystify the paperwork, and provide you with practical tips to ensure that you get your business registered in no time. 

How to get your business registered

How To Get Your Business Registered

Registering your business may seem like a daunting task, but breaking it down into manageable steps can make the process much smoother. In this step-by-step guide, I’ll walk you through the essential stages of business registration. From choosing the right business structure to obtaining the necessary permits and licenses, here’s how to get your business officially registered and on the road to success.

Step 1: Choose Your Business Structure

Before you dive into the paperwork, it’s crucial to decide on the right business structure for your venture. Some of the options typically include sole proprietorship, LLC (Limited Liability Company), or corporation. Your choice will have implications for your personal assets, taxation, and personal liability, so it’s essential to select the one that aligns with your goals and needs.

Documents to Prepare:

  • A clear understanding of your business type and structure.
  • Business name and address.
  • Contact info.

Step 2: Obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number)

An EIN, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is like a social security number for your business. It’s required for tax purposes, opening a business bank account, and hiring employees. You can obtain an EIN for free from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Documents to Prepare:

  • Your business structure choice.
  • Personal identification information

Step 3: Business Registration with the Secretary of State

This step is particularly crucial if you’re forming an LLC or a corporation. Registering with the Secretary of State makes your business officially recognized at the state level.

Documents to Prepare:

  • Filing fee.
  • Articles of organization (for forming an LLC) or articles of incorporation (for a corporation).

Step 4: Register Your Business Name as a DBA (Optional)

If want to go by a business name in your marketing other than what you registered your business’s name as, you’ll need to register your business name that you want to go by in your marketing, often referred to as a “Doing Business As” (DBA), alternate name, or a fictitious business name. For example, if you registered your business name as “Sarah’s Wellness Coaching LLC” with your state, but you want to go by “Precision Wellness” on your website, social media, etc. and be known as “Precision Wellness,” you would have to registered “Precision Wellness” as a “DBA” name in your state in order to legally connect the two.

Check with your state’s business office for specific requirements. It typically includes a form and a fee.

Documents to Prepare:

  • Your chosen business name that you want to go by in your marketing.
  • Registration documents from your state when you registered your business
  • Filing fee (if applicable) and any necessary form(s)
  • Filing fee.
  • Articles of organization (for forming an LLC) or articles of incorporation (for a corporation).

Step 5: Obtain Necessary Business Licenses and Permits 

Depending on your type of business and location, you may need various licenses and permits. These can include local business licenses, health permits, and specialized industry licenses. These are more common for in-person businesses or businesses with physical office locations.

Documents to Prepare:

  • A list of required permits and licenses.
  • Completed permit/license applications.
  • Any associated fees.

Step 6: Comply with State and Local Taxes

Register for state and local taxes, including sales tax if applicable. Understanding your tax obligations and compliance is crucial to avoid legal issues. Find an accountant or CPA you trust early and lean on their guidance as to what to do in those early days.

Documents to Prepare:

  • Your business’s tax ID number.
  • Knowledge of your state and local tax requirements.

Step 7: Check Federal Trademark Registration

If protecting your business name or logo is essential, consider applying for a federal trademark through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This step is optional but can safeguard your brand identity.

Documents to Prepare:

  • Trademark application (if desired).
  • Legal counsel (recommended for trademark applications).

Step 8: Stay Informed About Ongoing State or Local Requirements

Business registration isn’t a one-and-done process. Depending on your business type and location, you may need to renew licenses, file annual reports, and comply with ongoing regulations. For example, most states have a required annual renewal process if you have an LLC.

Documents to Prepare:

  • A calendar and reminder to track renewal and reporting deadlines.

By following these step-by-step guidelines and staying organized with your documentation, you’ll be well on your way to successful business registration. Remember that specific requirements may vary depending on your type of business and the state or local government regulations, so always check with the appropriate agencies and seek legal advice if necessary. Getting your business registered is a critical milestone on your journey to becoming a successful business owner, and it sets the foundation for future growth and compliance.

You’ve now gained a solid understanding of the essential steps required to get your business officially registered. But the journey doesn’t end here—it’s just the beginning of your entrepreneurial adventure. To delve deeper into the legal intricacies of running a successful business and gain valuable insights, I invite you to watch my free legal training ‘5 Steps To Legally Protect & Grow Your Online Business‘.

In this free legal training, we’ll address your burning questions, provide expert guidance, and empower you with the knowledge you need to navigate the legal aspects of entrepreneurship confidently.

You’re only 60 minutes away from the peace of mind that comes with having a legally sound business… Grab your spot right here. 👇🏽👇🏽

Before you go, here’s a question for you:

What’s the most significant legal challenge you’ve faced in your entrepreneurial journey, and how did you overcome it?

Share your experiences and insights in the comments below.

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