There are few places in the United States in which it is more inviting to start a business than Florida. It has miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches, fast-paced and exciting cities, a low tax rate, and a huge population. There is something for everyone, and having your own business is a great way to bring in a great income so that you can enjoy what the state has to offer.
That said, just because Florida is very receptive to startups and small businesses, it doesn’t mean that it will be easy. You need to do the work to position your company to have a strong launch and to find success in the years to come. Laying the groundwork early on is the best way to achieve this. Here are the most important 7 steps to starting a business in Florida.
1. Have an Idea
Every great business started with an idea. It could be anything. You might have an idea for a brand new product, or you might have an idea for how to improve an existing one. Maybe you think that you can market something in a way that will be exciting and fresh, and will bring in customers because of it. Whatever it is, your idea should be unique at the very least to your local area if you are a local business. The last thing you want to do is think you are being original when it already exists in the market.
Once you have your idea in place, then come up with a name for your business. Your name should reflect the personality you want your brand to have, and to also give a sense as to what types of products and services you are selling. Your name must fit with any designs and logos you will end up implementing down the road. Once you have a great idea and a great name, you can move on to step two.
2. Develop Business Plan
Now that you have your idea, you will need to figure out how you are going to run your business. Where are you going to source materials from? How are you going to market it? How much do you expect to spend and to bring in over the first few years? These are all important questions that you need to answer before you try moving forward.
A good business plan will outline everything you will need to do to make your business a success. You need to be honest when you are creating it, because if the numbers don’t add up to a profit for you, then you probably shouldn’t proceed with your idea until you think of ways to either cut costs or bring in more revenue. If you need to look for funding from outside sources, such as investors, government grants, or business loans, then you will need a business plan to state your case that you are viable.
3. Decide on a Business Structure
Your business can be one of several possible business types. For example, it could be a sole-proprietorship, which means that only you own it. You could have a limited liability company, which means that there are several owners, and they individually report their income on their taxes. LLC’s do not pay corporate income tax. You can also be a corporation, which is similar to an LLC but the company pays taxes. The liability is still spread amongst the partners, though. Whatever you decide will have tax implications and special requirements that you must meet, so make sure to choose wisely and have great people to work with if you have partners.
4. Get the Appropriate Licenses and Permits
If you’ve already registered your business structure, you don’t need a general business permit. However, depending on your type of business, you will have to obtain certain licenses and permits. For example, if you operate a business that will be servicing alcohol, you will need a liquor license. If you are handling waste then you will need a permit to handle certain types, such as medical or nuclear. If you don’t have the right licenses and permits in place, your business could find itself in serious trouble and you may have to shut down before you really get off the ground.
5. Obtain the Right Insurance
Not having the right business insurance policy in Florida is just asking for trouble. Any number of things can go wrong that could cost you thousands and thousands of dollars. For example, Florida falls victim to hurricanes every year. If you don’t have a commercial property policy, then you could have to pay out for repairs and rebuilding yourself. You may get sued, for which general liability insurance can provide you protection. Do you have a fleet of vehicles or use your own for business tasks? Then you most likely need commercial automobile insurance. Make sure to talk with your insurance provider so that you have all of the protection you need. You may never have to use your insurance, but just one negative incident could have devastating consequences for your business.
6. Market Your Business
There are a lot of businesses that operate in Florida, and you need to do everything you can to stand out in the crowd. You can market your business in any number of ways, but if you are just starting out, you will need to get the most bang for your buck. Digital marketing offers many options for targeting your marketing to consumers who are most likely to purchase your product or service. Search engine optimization and social media marketing are two powerful methods that will help get your brand in front of motivated buyers that will hopefully love what you have to offer. Whatever you choose, make sure that your marketing matches what is most likely to connect with and engage your target consumers.
When everything is ready, then you can launch your business. If you want to make a big splash, you can pump out your marketing in the days and weeks leading up to your official launch date. You can also get your friends and family to post on social media and get their friends to go to your establishment or visit your website. If you’ve done your marketing well leading up to the launch, then you will set yourself up best to have a great opening boost.
Starting a business is exciting, but it’s also daunting. There are so many things that you need to consider and do before you launch. With this step-by-step guide, you will be all ready to go for your big opening day.