Florida has the fourth-largest economy in the USA. 98% of the businesses in Florida are made up of small businesses. We have compiled a step-by-step plan on how to start a business in Florida.
Step 1: Compile a Business Plan
Having a plan in place to follow and setting out the core of the business is an important step when starting a business. A business plan should be short and sweet, detailed and adaptable. There are software tools that can help business owners to write a business plan like LivePlan or BizPlan for as little as $9.95 per month.
Unique Selling Proposition
Have a short phase that hits the mark when it comes to what makes the business different to all the competitors.
Marketing Plan and Target Market
Decide how the business will be marketed as well as who the target market is. Think of age, gender, income class, and customer needs. This will determine what marketing will be needed.
Set out short and long term goals for the company. The goals will change as the company grows, however it is always a good reminder of how far the business has come and where it is going.
Step 2: Register the Florida Business
LLC’s, C Corps and S Corp businesses types have to be registered. Sole Proprietorships need not be registered or filings. Business owners might consider appointing a business formation or incorporation services like ZenBusiness or RocketLawyer to keep the business legally upto date.
Step 3: Determine Business Licensing and Tax Obligations
In most counties of Florida general business licences are required, and some businesses might need special permission on licensing. Make sure the business is legal on the local, state and federal level. For local requirements, visit the chamber of commerce in the area; for state requirements and licensing visit The Florida Department of Revenue’s website and for federal requirements be sure to visit the Small Business Associations website. If the business needs special permits or permissions, the owners might consider appointing business licensing services like Incfile or Incorp.
Step 4: Separate Personal Assets From Business Assets
It is very important to separate the owners assets from the business assets. This limits the owners liability and protects them.
Open a Business Banking Account
To open a business bank account the business would need an EIN number. The business is its own entity and all income and disbursements should flow out of the bank account. TRUiC gives an in-depth explanation on how to choose the best business banking account for small businesses as well as how to get an EIN number.
Business owners could limit liability by appointing a representative to sign all documents on behalf of the company.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Accounting and bookkeeping of a business is really important. Business owners should consider linking business and credit accounts with accounting software like Quickbooks.
Build Business Credit
Good business credit helps with receiving loans, getting a credit card for the business and better interest rates. Businesses could consider a bank account that helps them with credit like America First or The Huntington National Bank.
Step 5: Funding the Business
Funding of a business is dependent on the business structure, owners, products and investors. Florida specific funding opportunities can be found at Florida’s Small Business Development Center, Small Business Association and Florida Finance Network.
Step 6: Branding of the Business
The biggest brand representative is a business logo. When choosing a logo lookout for the following:
Hire a Graphic Designer
Having a professional and good quality logo is important, owners might consider to hire a graphic designer.
Make it memorable
Leave a lasting impression on the customers with the logo. Try to capture the essence of the business so that it portrays the nature and mission of the company.
Differentiate the business
Keep it unique and different from the rest of the competition. Concentrate on colours to ignite the desired feelings and emotions in customers.
Step 7: Marketing
Make sure to spend time on the marketing side of the business. This step will be ongoing and ever changing. Marketing will need to evolve as the business grows.
In step 1 the owner has decided who the target market is. Make sure the marketing strategy and platforms are aligned with the target market or group.
Quality over Quantity
Choose one or two marketing platforms or strategies and be consistent and good in them. Don’t take on too much and only none gets full effort.
There are great software tools to help entrepreneurs with their online and social marketing. Many are free and owners should consider using them.