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1SMALL BUSINESS GUIDEBOOK
How to Start a Business
Small Business Guidebook
1
You have a winning
business idea...
... plus the passion and skills to make it a success. But the process of actually
getting your company off the ground can be overwhelming.
Trust us, you’re not alone.
We created this simple guide with you in mind — to help make the tricky
(and let’s face it, not so fun) aspects of becoming your own boss a little less
daunting. As you perfect your business idea, here are a few things to keep in
mind — complete with checklists — to help you get off to a smart start.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
2
Step 1
Choose your business structure
Step 2
Choose your business name
Step 3
File your articles of organization / incorporation
Step 4
Apply for an Employer Identification Number
Step 5
Open a small business bank account
Step 6
Obtain business licenses, permits, and
insurance policies
Step 7
Create a web and social media presence
Step 8
Pick retirement and health insurance plans for
yourself and/or your employees
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
3
Step 1
Choose your
business structure
First things first, you need to
decide how your business will be
structured. Whether you register as
a sole proprietor, a corporation, or
something in between, the decision
you make now — at the start of
your venture — will have important
legal and tax implications for the
foreseeable future. You should, of
course, consult with a legal or tax
professional to address your
particular circumstances.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
4
Here’s an
overview of
some of the
more popular
business
structures:
Want to go a little more
in depth or see more
options? Visit the U.S.
Government’s Small
Business Administration
(SBA) website for more
detail on the pros and
cons of each structure,
and examples of
applicable industries.
SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP
This is the most
common structure for
solo entrepreneurs, or
“solopreneurs.”
COOPERATIVE
A business or organization
owned by and operated for
the benefit of those using
its services, for example
healthcare, retail, agriculture,
art, and restaurant
businesses.
CORPORATION
Corporations are more
complex from a legal and tax
standpoint and are therefore
more common among larger
companies.
S CORP
Eligible domestic corporations
can avoid double taxation
(once to the corporation and
again to the shareholders) by
electing to be treated as an S
Corporation.
PARTNERSHIP
If you are starting a
business with one or
more individuals, then a
partnership structure may
be for you.
LIMITED LIABILITY
COMPANY
This structure blends the
limited liability features of
a corporation and the tax
efficiencies and operational
flexibility of a partnership.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
So what are your options?
And which one is right for you?
5
Trusted advisors can help.
Even the savviest business owners
sometimes need a helping hand when
it comes to the logistical nitty gritty
of running a company, which is why
you might want to enlist some experts
to help handle your legal, financial,
and tax responsibilities. Nurturing
trusted partnerships now — when
you launch your business — can help
set you up for success in the years to
come. They’ll also be an invaluable
source of guidance when you need a
knowledgeable sounding board, for
the big stuff and the small.
Small Business Accountant
Small Business Lawyer
Financial Advisor
Marketing Professional
Tax preparation and strategy,
growth opportunities, risk
management, bookkeeping,
general financial planning,
organization structure, profit
distribution.
Why You Might Need It
The guidance a small business
accountant provides can
be invaluable, especially if
your personal and business
finances are closely tied.
Assistance to help you start
a business, run a business,
file a trademark application,
create smart contracts / other
business agreements, advise
on best practice for protecting
assets and owners, and a
range of other common legal
matters for small businesses.
Why You Might Need It
Attorneys can help with
many areas of your business,
including incorporation,
protecting your assets, and
compliance.
Advice on investment and
retirement planning.
Why You Might Need It
To make sure you and your
family are financially prepared
for your future.
Help creating your visual
brand and a marketing
strategy that fits your
growth objectives including:
website creation, advertising,
social media and content
recommendations, and more.
Why You Might Need It
To help hone your business
story, market your products
and services, and generate
more leads / sales.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
Step 2
Choose your
business name
Now that you’ve determined your
business structure, it’s time to choose a
name. Here’s a quick checklist of things
to consider.
6
7
Does the name reflect your brand and business values?
Does it say what you do or clearly convey the services you provide or
products you sell?
Would it work as a logo and resonate on social media and other marketing and
advertising platforms?
Is the name already taken? Contact your state filing office or search your state’s
online database to find out.
Even if it isn’t already taken, the name may be protected under trademark. Use
the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) trademark search tool to see if
somebody has already applied for a trademark registration. If so, go back to the
drawing board; if not, consider going ahead and starting that process yourself with
USPTO, or hire a specialized trademark lawyer.
Is the business name — or some recognizable version of it — available as a
domain name?
Apply for your “Doing Business As” name (DBA) with this guide from the SBA.
Claim your business on social media channels (LinkedIn®, Twitter®, Facebook®,
Instagram®, etc.) by opening accounts with your chosen name.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
Checklist
8
Step 3
File Your Articles
of Organization /
Incorporation
Every state has different rules and
requirements, so once you determine
where you want to incorporate, you’ll want
to visit that state government’s website to
follow their process. Once the Articles of
Incorporation are filed with the appropriate
state offices, you can start operating
your business.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
9
Alabama
http://www.sos.alabama.gov/
businessservices/Domestic-
Corps.aspx
Alaska
http://commerce.state.ak.us/
dnn/cbpl/corporations/corp-
formsfees.aspx
Arizona
http://www.azcc.gov/Divi-
sions/Corporations/where-do-
i-start.asp
Arkansas
https://www.ark.org/sos/corp-
filings/index.php?form_id=1
California
http://www.sos.ca.gov/busi-
ness-programs/business-enti-
ties/forms/
Colorado
http://www.sos.state.co.us/
pubs/business/helpFiles/ART-
INC_55_HELP.html
Connecticut
http://www.concord-sots.
ct.gov/CONCORD/NewBusi-
nessFormation/BusinessRegis-
trationTool.jsp?pInquiry=false
Delaware
http://corp.delaware.gov/
Florida
https://efile.sunbiz.org/prof-
it_file.html
Georgia
https://cgov.sos.state.ga.us/
Account.aspx/LogOn?Retur-
nUrl=%2f
Hawaii
http://cca.hawaii.gov/breg/
Idaho
http://www.sos.idaho.gov/
corp/corp_form.html
Illinois
https://www.illinois.gov/busi-
ness/Pages/default.aspx
Indiana
http://www.in.gov/sos/busi-
ness/2426.htm
Iowa
http://sos.iowa.gov/business/
FormsAndFees.html
Kansas
http://www.kssos.org/other/
articles_of_formation.html
Kentucky
http://www.sos.ky.gov/bus/
business-filings/Forms/Pages/
default.aspx
Louisiana
http://www.sos.la.gov/busi-
nessservices/filebusinessdocu-
ments/getformsandfeesched-
ule/pages/default.aspx
Maine
http://www.maine.gov/sos/
cec/corp/nonprofit.html
Maryland
http://www.dat.state.md.us/
sdatweb/charter.html
Massachusetts
http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cor/coridx.
htm
Michigan
http://www.michigan.
gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-
35299_61343_35413_35426-114724--
,00.html
Minnesota
http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index.
aspx?page=172
Mississippi
http://www.sos.ms.gov/BusinessSer-
vices/Pages/default.aspx
Missouri
http://s1.sos.mo.gov/business%5Ccor-
porations%5CstartBusiness.asp
Montana
http://sos.mt.gov/business/Forms/
Click on your state to begin the filing process
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
State-by-State Lookup (A-M)
10
Nebraska
http://www.sos.ne.gov/busi-
ness/corp_serv/corp_form.
html
Nevada
http://nvsos.gov/index.aspx-
?page=129
New Hampshire
http://www.sos.nh.gov/corpo-
rate/Corpforms.html
New Jersey	
http://www.nj.gov/treasury/
revenue/filecerts.shtml
New Mexico
http://www.newmexico.gov/
business/Starting_A_Business.
aspx
New York
http://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/
North Carolina
http://www.secretary.state.
nc.us/corporations/
North Dakota
http://www.nd.gov/category.
htm?id=160
Ohio
http://business.ohio.gov/start-
ing/
Oklahoma
http://www.ok.gov/sec-
tion.php?sec_id=4
Oregon
http://www.oregon.gov/busi-
ness/Pages/registrations.aspx
Pennsylvania
http://www.newpa.com/
business/startups/start-
ing-and-growing-business
Rhode Island
http://sos.ri.gov/business/
businessinfo/
South Carolina
http://sc.gov/Business/Pages/
licensePermitsAndRegistra-
tion.aspx
South Dakota
http://sd.gov/business.aspx-
#start
Tennesee
https://tnbear.tn.gov/NewBiz/
Texas
https://texaswideopenforbusi-
ness.com/
Utah
http://www.utah.gov/business/
starting.html
Vermont
http://www.vermont.gov/por-
tal/business/index.php?id=87
Virginia
http://www.bos.virginia.gov/
starting.shtml
Washington
http://business.wa.gov/start-
your-business
West Virginia
http://www.wv.gov/Pages/de-
fault.aspx#business
Wisconsin
https://www.wdfi.org/corpora-
tions/forms/
Wyoming
http://soswy.state.wy.us/busi-
ness/startabusiness.aspx
If only you had a
magic wizard to
do it for you…
Well, now you do. Try
the Start-a-Business
Wizard from our trusted
partners at LegalZoom.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
Click on your state to begin the filing process
State-by-State Lookup (N-Z)
11
Step 4
Apply for an Employer
Identification Number
(EIN) or Tax ID
Employer Identification Numbers are issued
for the purpose of tax administration, which
might sound complicated, but the good
news is, the folks at the IRS have made
this super simple. You can fill out the form
online in just a few clicks. Plus, you’ll get
your EIN immediately after submitting your
information — no need to wait for it to arrive
via snail mail!
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
12
Step 5
Open a small business
bank account
You’re going to need somewhere to deposit
all those hard-earned dollars, but what type
of account best fits your current requirements
and future goals? Given that you’re just
starting out, you most likely need:
A simple checking account with no or low
monthly fees
A bank that offers convenient locations
and hours of operation
Online banking and mobile apps (to help
you manage your money on the go)
Loan products should you need some
growth capital now or in the future
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
13
Once you’ve settled on a bank, you’ll need
to have the following paperwork in place to
successfully open a business account:
Official business documentation, including
filing documents, organizing documents,
articles of incorporation and/or certificate
of resolution
Social Security number or EIN / business
tax ID number
Business name and address
Date the business was established /
incorporated
Business owner’s Social Security number,
address, and date of birth
Apply for financing
Particularly at the start, you may need to
apply for a business line of credit to keep
things moving. These short-term loans
are useful for bridging temporary working
capital needs, such as inventory purchases
or operating expenses.
To apply for a line of credit you will
need to provide the bank with proof of
revenue. They will then set a limit, which
(like a credit card) allows for continuous
borrowing and repayment within the
agreed duration of the loan.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
How to Open a Bank Account
14
Step 6
Obtain Business
Licenses, Permits, and
Insurance Policies
Before you get to work, take a moment
to make sure that you have all the correct
licenses, permits, and insurance policies to
operate legally.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
15
Certain industries (think agriculture, alcohol,
TV and radio broadcasting) require a federal
license, while others (doctors, hairdressers
and dentists) require a specific professional
license. Even if you don’t fall into either of
those categories, chances are you need
some form of permit; even home-based
freelancers and consultants may need a
Home Occupation Permit.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
Which licenses and
permits do you need?
If you’re unsure, take
advantage of the SBA’s
Permit Me tool, which
allows you to search by
location and industry,
as well as for general
licenses required by
all business owners in
your state.
15
16
Which insurance do you need?
This will largely depend on what your business does, but there are some universally applicable
policies, too. Here’s a brief overview to give you some direction:
General Liability
This will cover you for
accidents, injuries and
claims of negligence.
Commercial Property
This covers loss and damage of
company property due to a wide
variety of events such as fire,
smoke, storms, civil disobedience,
and vandalism.
Product Liability
Protects against financial loss as a
result of a defective product that
causes injury or bodily harm — this is
essential for those who manufacture,
Business Owner Policy
Designed for small and medium-sized
businesses, BOP groups general
liability insurance and property
insurance into a single, more cost-
effective policy and can be tailored to
your specific business needs.
Professional Liability
Also known as “errors and omissions
insurance,” this will protect you from
malpractice, errors and negligence with
regard to the services you provide.
Workers’ Compensation
In the case of workplace injury or disease,
this insurance provides wage replacement
and medical benefits to employees in
exchange for mandatory relinquishment of
their right to sue for negligence. This is a
mandatory coverage in many states. Failure
to have it may result in fines and penalties.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
17
Step 7
Create a web and social
media presence
Since most customers use the Internet to
search for goods and services, a helpful
and attractive website can be an integral
piece of your marketing strategy. Though
there are some platforms that facilitate
site building with little or no development
knowledge (Squarespace®, for example),
it may be worth hiring a professional to
do the job if you want to present a truly
polished image to the world.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
18
Who is your audience and what is the most effective way to engage them?
How does your site work in unison with your overall marketing strategy?
Which search terms do you want to place highly for? Use Google® Adwords® to
research the competition and hone your SEO approach.
Do you need a logo to go along with your website?
What creative content (like a blog) if any do you want to
produce for the site?
Which social media platforms will you be active on and
how will you integrate them?
If you decide to go the
route of hiring a professional
designer /developer, look for digital
agencies who specialize in helping
small businesses. They will be more
likely to understand your needs
and meet your budget
requirements.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
Some Things to Consider Before You Build Your Site
19
Step 8
Pick retirement and
health insurance plans
for yourself and/or
your employees
It’s not too early to understand your
options and requirements for retirement,
health insurance and other benefits,
especially if you know that you’ll be
hiring employees and growing your
team in the future. Even if you don’t
— or won’t — have employees, you
still want to consider these things for
yourself as the business owner.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
20
You can’t underestimate good health coverage, but there are myriad
factors to consider before you join a network and choose a provider.
How all-encompassing should coverage be? Will you opt for a
medical discount plan, limited benefit plan, or a full featured plan?
Does the plan offer access to all the services you require, like
specialists, mental health, ER care, preventative measures or 	 	
wellness programs?
What will your responsibilities be in regard to co-pay fees,
out-of-network doctors, deductibles, etc?
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
What to Consider When Choosing a Health Insurance Plan
21
Simplified Employee Pension
Individual Retirement Accounts
(SEP IRA)
Simple IRA
A plan that lets business owners provide
retirement benefits to employees,
including themselves. A SEP IRA only
permits contributions by the employer to
employees’ IRAs, not contributions from
an employee’s own pay. Contributions
have to be made for most employees.
Employer contribution limits are relatively
high, potentially permitting the business
owner to deduct more contributions as
a business expense than for other types
of plans; however, the overall amount of
contributions made by the employer for
employees may be higher. Administration
is usually less time consuming and
complicated than for a SIMPLE IRA or
SEP IRA.
A plan for employers with 100 or fewer
employees that earned at least $5,000 that
encourages employees of small businesses
to start saving for retirement. The plan
must permit contributions by all employees
(except for a few permitted exclusions),
and requires a certain level of employer
matching contribution (that is, a contribution
based on how much the employee elects
to contribute from his or her own paycheck)
or a certain level of payments from the
employer. Employer contribution limits are
lower than those for a SEP IRA or a 401(k)
plan. Administration is usually easier than for
a 401(k) plan.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
What to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Plan
22
A broad-based retirement plan with high
contribution limits for both the employer
and employees. If such a plan is set
up, business owners must offer it to all
employees who worked a certain amount
in the previous year and are eligible to
participate under the terms of the plan,
as the employer designs it. (Note
that your plan can exclude classes
of employees you choose, but if
the plan favors highly-compensated
employees too much, you may have
to add, and make contributions for,
some of your additional non-highly
compensated employees into the plan).
Plan administration can be more time-
consuming and complex than for a
SEP IRA or a SIMPLE IRA.
To determine which plan makes sense
for you, consider your savings goals,
potential desire to access the money
before retirement, and time scale. The IRS
has a full list of benefits and eligibilities
to help you make an informed choice.
And, of course, a small business banker
or financial advisor can help you make the
best decisions for your businesses.
401(k) Plan
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
22
23
If all goes well, your new venture
should be up and running in no
time and gathering momentum.
With any luck, you’ll soon have a
new challenge to grapple with:
growth.
ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
24
ADP helps more than 425,000 small
businesses do their thing.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: ADP publishes this Guidebook free of charge. It is accepted with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged
in the business of rendering legal or accounting services. If legal, tax, accounting, or other professional assistance is required, the service of
an attorney or a certified public accountant should be sought. All insurance products will be offered and sold only through Automatic Data
Processing Insurance Agency, Inc., its licensed agents or its licensed insurance partners
1 ADP Blvd, Roseland, NJ 07068. CA license #0D04044. Licensed in 50 states.
The ADP logo, and ADP are registered trademarks of ADP, LLC. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
Copyright © 2015 ADP, LLC.

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How to Start a Business

  • 1. 1SMALL BUSINESS GUIDEBOOK How to Start a Business Small Business Guidebook
  • 2. 1 You have a winning business idea... ... plus the passion and skills to make it a success. But the process of actually getting your company off the ground can be overwhelming. Trust us, you’re not alone. We created this simple guide with you in mind — to help make the tricky (and let’s face it, not so fun) aspects of becoming your own boss a little less daunting. As you perfect your business idea, here are a few things to keep in mind — complete with checklists — to help you get off to a smart start. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 3. 2 Step 1 Choose your business structure Step 2 Choose your business name Step 3 File your articles of organization / incorporation Step 4 Apply for an Employer Identification Number Step 5 Open a small business bank account Step 6 Obtain business licenses, permits, and insurance policies Step 7 Create a web and social media presence Step 8 Pick retirement and health insurance plans for yourself and/or your employees ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 4. 3 Step 1 Choose your business structure First things first, you need to decide how your business will be structured. Whether you register as a sole proprietor, a corporation, or something in between, the decision you make now — at the start of your venture — will have important legal and tax implications for the foreseeable future. You should, of course, consult with a legal or tax professional to address your particular circumstances. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 5. 4 Here’s an overview of some of the more popular business structures: Want to go a little more in depth or see more options? Visit the U.S. Government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) website for more detail on the pros and cons of each structure, and examples of applicable industries. SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP This is the most common structure for solo entrepreneurs, or “solopreneurs.” COOPERATIVE A business or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services, for example healthcare, retail, agriculture, art, and restaurant businesses. CORPORATION Corporations are more complex from a legal and tax standpoint and are therefore more common among larger companies. S CORP Eligible domestic corporations can avoid double taxation (once to the corporation and again to the shareholders) by electing to be treated as an S Corporation. PARTNERSHIP If you are starting a business with one or more individuals, then a partnership structure may be for you. LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY This structure blends the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business So what are your options? And which one is right for you?
  • 6. 5 Trusted advisors can help. Even the savviest business owners sometimes need a helping hand when it comes to the logistical nitty gritty of running a company, which is why you might want to enlist some experts to help handle your legal, financial, and tax responsibilities. Nurturing trusted partnerships now — when you launch your business — can help set you up for success in the years to come. They’ll also be an invaluable source of guidance when you need a knowledgeable sounding board, for the big stuff and the small. Small Business Accountant Small Business Lawyer Financial Advisor Marketing Professional Tax preparation and strategy, growth opportunities, risk management, bookkeeping, general financial planning, organization structure, profit distribution. Why You Might Need It The guidance a small business accountant provides can be invaluable, especially if your personal and business finances are closely tied. Assistance to help you start a business, run a business, file a trademark application, create smart contracts / other business agreements, advise on best practice for protecting assets and owners, and a range of other common legal matters for small businesses. Why You Might Need It Attorneys can help with many areas of your business, including incorporation, protecting your assets, and compliance. Advice on investment and retirement planning. Why You Might Need It To make sure you and your family are financially prepared for your future. Help creating your visual brand and a marketing strategy that fits your growth objectives including: website creation, advertising, social media and content recommendations, and more. Why You Might Need It To help hone your business story, market your products and services, and generate more leads / sales. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 7. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business Step 2 Choose your business name Now that you’ve determined your business structure, it’s time to choose a name. Here’s a quick checklist of things to consider. 6
  • 8. 7 Does the name reflect your brand and business values? Does it say what you do or clearly convey the services you provide or products you sell? Would it work as a logo and resonate on social media and other marketing and advertising platforms? Is the name already taken? Contact your state filing office or search your state’s online database to find out. Even if it isn’t already taken, the name may be protected under trademark. Use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) trademark search tool to see if somebody has already applied for a trademark registration. If so, go back to the drawing board; if not, consider going ahead and starting that process yourself with USPTO, or hire a specialized trademark lawyer. Is the business name — or some recognizable version of it — available as a domain name? Apply for your “Doing Business As” name (DBA) with this guide from the SBA. Claim your business on social media channels (LinkedIn®, Twitter®, Facebook®, Instagram®, etc.) by opening accounts with your chosen name. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business Checklist
  • 9. 8 Step 3 File Your Articles of Organization / Incorporation Every state has different rules and requirements, so once you determine where you want to incorporate, you’ll want to visit that state government’s website to follow their process. Once the Articles of Incorporation are filed with the appropriate state offices, you can start operating your business. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 10. 9 Alabama http://www.sos.alabama.gov/ businessservices/Domestic- Corps.aspx Alaska http://commerce.state.ak.us/ dnn/cbpl/corporations/corp- formsfees.aspx Arizona http://www.azcc.gov/Divi- sions/Corporations/where-do- i-start.asp Arkansas https://www.ark.org/sos/corp- filings/index.php?form_id=1 California http://www.sos.ca.gov/busi- ness-programs/business-enti- ties/forms/ Colorado http://www.sos.state.co.us/ pubs/business/helpFiles/ART- INC_55_HELP.html Connecticut http://www.concord-sots. ct.gov/CONCORD/NewBusi- nessFormation/BusinessRegis- trationTool.jsp?pInquiry=false Delaware http://corp.delaware.gov/ Florida https://efile.sunbiz.org/prof- it_file.html Georgia https://cgov.sos.state.ga.us/ Account.aspx/LogOn?Retur- nUrl=%2f Hawaii http://cca.hawaii.gov/breg/ Idaho http://www.sos.idaho.gov/ corp/corp_form.html Illinois https://www.illinois.gov/busi- ness/Pages/default.aspx Indiana http://www.in.gov/sos/busi- ness/2426.htm Iowa http://sos.iowa.gov/business/ FormsAndFees.html Kansas http://www.kssos.org/other/ articles_of_formation.html Kentucky http://www.sos.ky.gov/bus/ business-filings/Forms/Pages/ default.aspx Louisiana http://www.sos.la.gov/busi- nessservices/filebusinessdocu- ments/getformsandfeesched- ule/pages/default.aspx Maine http://www.maine.gov/sos/ cec/corp/nonprofit.html Maryland http://www.dat.state.md.us/ sdatweb/charter.html Massachusetts http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cor/coridx. htm Michigan http://www.michigan. gov/lara/0,4601,7-154- 35299_61343_35413_35426-114724-- ,00.html Minnesota http://www.sos.state.mn.us/index. aspx?page=172 Mississippi http://www.sos.ms.gov/BusinessSer- vices/Pages/default.aspx Missouri http://s1.sos.mo.gov/business%5Ccor- porations%5CstartBusiness.asp Montana http://sos.mt.gov/business/Forms/ Click on your state to begin the filing process ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business State-by-State Lookup (A-M)
  • 11. 10 Nebraska http://www.sos.ne.gov/busi- ness/corp_serv/corp_form. html Nevada http://nvsos.gov/index.aspx- ?page=129 New Hampshire http://www.sos.nh.gov/corpo- rate/Corpforms.html New Jersey http://www.nj.gov/treasury/ revenue/filecerts.shtml New Mexico http://www.newmexico.gov/ business/Starting_A_Business. aspx New York http://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/ North Carolina http://www.secretary.state. nc.us/corporations/ North Dakota http://www.nd.gov/category. htm?id=160 Ohio http://business.ohio.gov/start- ing/ Oklahoma http://www.ok.gov/sec- tion.php?sec_id=4 Oregon http://www.oregon.gov/busi- ness/Pages/registrations.aspx Pennsylvania http://www.newpa.com/ business/startups/start- ing-and-growing-business Rhode Island http://sos.ri.gov/business/ businessinfo/ South Carolina http://sc.gov/Business/Pages/ licensePermitsAndRegistra- tion.aspx South Dakota http://sd.gov/business.aspx- #start Tennesee https://tnbear.tn.gov/NewBiz/ Texas https://texaswideopenforbusi- ness.com/ Utah http://www.utah.gov/business/ starting.html Vermont http://www.vermont.gov/por- tal/business/index.php?id=87 Virginia http://www.bos.virginia.gov/ starting.shtml Washington http://business.wa.gov/start- your-business West Virginia http://www.wv.gov/Pages/de- fault.aspx#business Wisconsin https://www.wdfi.org/corpora- tions/forms/ Wyoming http://soswy.state.wy.us/busi- ness/startabusiness.aspx If only you had a magic wizard to do it for you… Well, now you do. Try the Start-a-Business Wizard from our trusted partners at LegalZoom. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business Click on your state to begin the filing process State-by-State Lookup (N-Z)
  • 12. 11 Step 4 Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Tax ID Employer Identification Numbers are issued for the purpose of tax administration, which might sound complicated, but the good news is, the folks at the IRS have made this super simple. You can fill out the form online in just a few clicks. Plus, you’ll get your EIN immediately after submitting your information — no need to wait for it to arrive via snail mail! ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 13. 12 Step 5 Open a small business bank account You’re going to need somewhere to deposit all those hard-earned dollars, but what type of account best fits your current requirements and future goals? Given that you’re just starting out, you most likely need: A simple checking account with no or low monthly fees A bank that offers convenient locations and hours of operation Online banking and mobile apps (to help you manage your money on the go) Loan products should you need some growth capital now or in the future ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 14. 13 Once you’ve settled on a bank, you’ll need to have the following paperwork in place to successfully open a business account: Official business documentation, including filing documents, organizing documents, articles of incorporation and/or certificate of resolution Social Security number or EIN / business tax ID number Business name and address Date the business was established / incorporated Business owner’s Social Security number, address, and date of birth Apply for financing Particularly at the start, you may need to apply for a business line of credit to keep things moving. These short-term loans are useful for bridging temporary working capital needs, such as inventory purchases or operating expenses. To apply for a line of credit you will need to provide the bank with proof of revenue. They will then set a limit, which (like a credit card) allows for continuous borrowing and repayment within the agreed duration of the loan. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business How to Open a Bank Account
  • 15. 14 Step 6 Obtain Business Licenses, Permits, and Insurance Policies Before you get to work, take a moment to make sure that you have all the correct licenses, permits, and insurance policies to operate legally. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 16. 15 Certain industries (think agriculture, alcohol, TV and radio broadcasting) require a federal license, while others (doctors, hairdressers and dentists) require a specific professional license. Even if you don’t fall into either of those categories, chances are you need some form of permit; even home-based freelancers and consultants may need a Home Occupation Permit. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business Which licenses and permits do you need? If you’re unsure, take advantage of the SBA’s Permit Me tool, which allows you to search by location and industry, as well as for general licenses required by all business owners in your state. 15
  • 17. 16 Which insurance do you need? This will largely depend on what your business does, but there are some universally applicable policies, too. Here’s a brief overview to give you some direction: General Liability This will cover you for accidents, injuries and claims of negligence. Commercial Property This covers loss and damage of company property due to a wide variety of events such as fire, smoke, storms, civil disobedience, and vandalism. Product Liability Protects against financial loss as a result of a defective product that causes injury or bodily harm — this is essential for those who manufacture, Business Owner Policy Designed for small and medium-sized businesses, BOP groups general liability insurance and property insurance into a single, more cost- effective policy and can be tailored to your specific business needs. Professional Liability Also known as “errors and omissions insurance,” this will protect you from malpractice, errors and negligence with regard to the services you provide. Workers’ Compensation In the case of workplace injury or disease, this insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of their right to sue for negligence. This is a mandatory coverage in many states. Failure to have it may result in fines and penalties. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 18. 17 Step 7 Create a web and social media presence Since most customers use the Internet to search for goods and services, a helpful and attractive website can be an integral piece of your marketing strategy. Though there are some platforms that facilitate site building with little or no development knowledge (Squarespace®, for example), it may be worth hiring a professional to do the job if you want to present a truly polished image to the world. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 19. 18 Who is your audience and what is the most effective way to engage them? How does your site work in unison with your overall marketing strategy? Which search terms do you want to place highly for? Use Google® Adwords® to research the competition and hone your SEO approach. Do you need a logo to go along with your website? What creative content (like a blog) if any do you want to produce for the site? Which social media platforms will you be active on and how will you integrate them? If you decide to go the route of hiring a professional designer /developer, look for digital agencies who specialize in helping small businesses. They will be more likely to understand your needs and meet your budget requirements. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business Some Things to Consider Before You Build Your Site
  • 20. 19 Step 8 Pick retirement and health insurance plans for yourself and/or your employees It’s not too early to understand your options and requirements for retirement, health insurance and other benefits, especially if you know that you’ll be hiring employees and growing your team in the future. Even if you don’t — or won’t — have employees, you still want to consider these things for yourself as the business owner. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 21. 20 You can’t underestimate good health coverage, but there are myriad factors to consider before you join a network and choose a provider. How all-encompassing should coverage be? Will you opt for a medical discount plan, limited benefit plan, or a full featured plan? Does the plan offer access to all the services you require, like specialists, mental health, ER care, preventative measures or wellness programs? What will your responsibilities be in regard to co-pay fees, out-of-network doctors, deductibles, etc? ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business What to Consider When Choosing a Health Insurance Plan
  • 22. 21 Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Accounts (SEP IRA) Simple IRA A plan that lets business owners provide retirement benefits to employees, including themselves. A SEP IRA only permits contributions by the employer to employees’ IRAs, not contributions from an employee’s own pay. Contributions have to be made for most employees. Employer contribution limits are relatively high, potentially permitting the business owner to deduct more contributions as a business expense than for other types of plans; however, the overall amount of contributions made by the employer for employees may be higher. Administration is usually less time consuming and complicated than for a SIMPLE IRA or SEP IRA. A plan for employers with 100 or fewer employees that earned at least $5,000 that encourages employees of small businesses to start saving for retirement. The plan must permit contributions by all employees (except for a few permitted exclusions), and requires a certain level of employer matching contribution (that is, a contribution based on how much the employee elects to contribute from his or her own paycheck) or a certain level of payments from the employer. Employer contribution limits are lower than those for a SEP IRA or a 401(k) plan. Administration is usually easier than for a 401(k) plan. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business What to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Plan
  • 23. 22 A broad-based retirement plan with high contribution limits for both the employer and employees. If such a plan is set up, business owners must offer it to all employees who worked a certain amount in the previous year and are eligible to participate under the terms of the plan, as the employer designs it. (Note that your plan can exclude classes of employees you choose, but if the plan favors highly-compensated employees too much, you may have to add, and make contributions for, some of your additional non-highly compensated employees into the plan). Plan administration can be more time- consuming and complex than for a SEP IRA or a SIMPLE IRA. To determine which plan makes sense for you, consider your savings goals, potential desire to access the money before retirement, and time scale. The IRS has a full list of benefits and eligibilities to help you make an informed choice. And, of course, a small business banker or financial advisor can help you make the best decisions for your businesses. 401(k) Plan ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business 22
  • 24. 23 If all goes well, your new venture should be up and running in no time and gathering momentum. With any luck, you’ll soon have a new challenge to grapple with: growth. ADP Small Business Guidebook | How to Start a Business
  • 25. 24 ADP helps more than 425,000 small businesses do their thing. IMPORTANT NOTICE: ADP publishes this Guidebook free of charge. It is accepted with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the business of rendering legal or accounting services. If legal, tax, accounting, or other professional assistance is required, the service of an attorney or a certified public accountant should be sought. All insurance products will be offered and sold only through Automatic Data Processing Insurance Agency, Inc., its licensed agents or its licensed insurance partners 1 ADP Blvd, Roseland, NJ 07068. CA license #0D04044. Licensed in 50 states. The ADP logo, and ADP are registered trademarks of ADP, LLC. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. Copyright © 2015 ADP, LLC.