What to Consider When Starting Your Florida Business
Florida is a great place to start a business. Compared to other states, there are minimal regulatory requirements and low business taxes. Before jumping into starting a business, it is critical to do the proper planning. Below are four things you should consider when starting a business in Florida.
1. Market Research. Conducting market research is essential to the success of your business. You should think about your target audience and gather information about your potential customers and their needs. There are various ways to conduct market research, including surveys, focus groups, and search engine optimization (SEO) research. You can also study existing market research, like customer reviews.
In addition to researching your target audience, you should analyze the competitors operating in your area. You should understand how they are running their business, their customers, and their pricing strategy. This step is critical so you can take advantage of their mistakes and plan how to differentiate yourself.
2. Business Structure. One of the first decisions you must make is deciding on your business structure. The structure that you choose will impact your business registration requirements, how much you pay in taxes, and your personal liability. There are four basic choices for Florida businesses.
• Sole proprietorship. This option is for individuals who run and own the business by themselves. The taxes of the individual and business are submitted as one, and the owner carries all the legal liability. This structure is the easiest to form, and there is nothing that you need to file with the state unless you filed for a “doing business as” (DBA) name, which allows you to operate under a name different from your own legal name.
• Partnership. A partnership is an unincorporated business with multiple owners. Like a sole proprietorship, there is no personal liability protection, and business income is reported on your personal taxes.
• Limited Liability Company. An LLC limits the liability of its owners. All owners share tax responsibilities and can pass through taxes to the personal income level. It is one of the most popular structures in Florida because it offers protection without double taxation.
• Corporation. A corporation is an independent legal entity. It provides protection from personal liability, and the owners are not taxed personally. The process of creating a corporation in Florida is the most time-consuming and expensive. It requires extensive record-keeping and reporting. Generally, corporations are the best structure for larger businesses.
3. Business Licenses and Permits. You must determine which licenses and permits you will need. What is required will vary by type of business and location. Local Florida counties and municipalities may have their own requirements for new businesses. Ensuring that you are legally compliant will help keep your business running smoothly. A local business attorney can advise you on the licenses, permits, and registrations that you may require.
Funding. You will need to figure out how much money you will need to start your business and where this money will come from. Florida’s Small Business Development Center provides helpful resources and offers free and low-cost financial advising for new entrepreneurs. Some common sources of funding for businesses located in Naples include:
• Bootstrapping. You can decide to use your personal savings. In addition to having the funds available, this method requires solid money management and restraint.
• Friends and Family. You can ask for loans from friends and family. Even though it is coming from a trusted source, it is important to have a written agreement and repayment plan. A business attorney can help you draft these documents.
• Small Business Grants. Small business grants provide funds you do not need to repay but will often come with specific rules and requirements for spending. Typically, grants are industry-specific or targeted towards women, veterans, or minority groups.
• Small Business Loans. Small business loans are typically given by banks or other lending institutions. Unlike grants, they require repayment.
4. Legal Documents. You should strongly consider reaching out to an experienced Naples business planning attorney. There are various legal documents that you may need to draft when starting a business, including an operating agreement, lease, loan agreements, and partnership agreements. A business attorney will ensure that your business opens and operates by local, state, and federal laws.
Call A Naples Business Planning Lawyer
If you have questions about starting a business, you should contact an experienced Naples business planning attorney. Contact our offices today at (239) 449-6150 or use our web form to set up a free consultation.