10 Essentials for Starting a New Business in Palm Beach County

At the root of every new business is a good idea. But if that’s all you come equipped with, you will be sorely underprepared for today’s marketplace and all that it demands. To ensure your arsenal is full, be sure to address these 10 essentials for starting a new business in Palm Beach County.

Business Plan. A business plan is a blueprint for your business. Just as you wouldn’t start building your dream home without a blueprint, neither should you start building your dream company without a business plan. Among its many benefits, a solid business plan can help you:

  • Outline goals and objectives
  • Obtain funding
  • Identify potential problems
  • Develop a budget
  • Plan a marketing strategy
  • Minimize potential legal problems

Structure. Choosing a legal structure will have legal and tax implications. Research the different structures and determine the best fit for your new business. Options include:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Cooperative
  • Corporation
  • Partnership
  • S Corporation

Financing. Get a handle on your financing needs and examine the options available to help you start, manage and grow your business. These include:

  • Personal assets
  • A small business loan
  • Venture capital
  • Equity funding

Naming and Registration.

  • Selecting. When choosing a business name, be sure it:
    • Is memorable and has positive connotations.
    • Is not already in use in Florida. You can check the name for availability here.
    • Includes information about what your business does.
    • Has an available associated domain name.
  • Registering.
    • To form a Florida Profit or Non Profit Corporation or Limited Liability Company, you must submit Articles of Incorporation, designate a Registered Agent, and pay the appropriate filing fee to the Division of Corporations.
    • Any business entity that transacts business under a name other than its official name is also required to file afictitious name registration for its DBA (“doing business as”) name and advertise the fictitious name at least once in a newspaper in the county where the business is located.

Legal issues.

  • Investigate the local zoning laws.
  • Find out what license(s) you need to do business.
  • Register for a state sales tax certificate here.

Insurance. Protect the contents of your business against fire, theft and other losses with both required and elective coverage including:

  • Product liability insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Property insurance
  • Business interruption insurance
  • Home office insurance

Location. When choosing a business location, consider the following:

  • Demographics
  • Proximity to suppliers
  • Competition
  • Staying on budget
  • Local labor market
  • Safety

Taxes.

  • Apply for a Federal Tax ID, also known as an employer identification number (EIN)
  • Decide when your tax year starts

Employees. There’s truth in the saying “a company is only as good as its people”, but finding good people is only the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to consider:

  • Classification of employees. Know the difference between classifications and how the various options can impact taxes and legal fees. Types include:
    • Employees
      • Full time or part time
      • Salaried (exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act) or non-exempt (hourly and eligible to earn overtime wages)
      • Temporary or Contract Workers
      • Leased Workers
      • Independent Contractors
  • Benefits.An employee handbook is a critical communication tool between you and your employees.
    • Required benefits include
      • Social security
      • Workers’ compensation
      • Unemployment insurance
      • Disability insurance
      • Optional benefits include
        • Health plans
        • Retirement benefits
        • Employee incentive plans
        • Both required and optional benefits have legal and tax implications for the employer that should be recognized.

Pay practices. Establish and maintain proper pay practices for the company.

Set your pricing. Have a price list or contract available for clients so they are informed upfront as to the what, when and how much issues related to your products or services.

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