5 Steps to Set Up your Business

Here are some simple steps to take before opening your doors (or website):

5 Steps to Set up A Business - From a Legal Perspective

1. It’s all in the name. What will your company be called? But before you decide, there are a few diligent steps you have to take. Specifically, you gotta make sure it’s not already taken.

Go to:

a. Mass secretary of state corporations division (http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cor/coridx.htm)

b. Patent and Trademark office (https://www.uspto.gov/)

c. Perform basic google search.

2. Decide what kind of legal entity you are going to be.

Most common of these are sole proprietorship or partnership, LLC or corporation. Most don’t take the last option at the start of a biz, so I’ll only highlight the main steps of a sole proprietor/partnership or LLC.

a. Sole Proprietor/partnership – this isn’t really a legal entity – it's more you and partners if you have them just working for the biz. That means you don’t have anything to set up, in terms of fancy paperwork. If you are operating as a “dba”, you should register with the local town as your “dba".” Other than that, you are good to go.

ib. LLC – a few more steps, but not too many. You’d pick the LLC if you are in a more risky biz, or maybe you have investors. Super simple to file Articles of Organization at the Secretary of state’s office (see link above for Massachusetts); and then you want to get an operating agreement together. Finally, go to the lovely IRS website and get yourself a tax id number. You’ll need this for the next step

3. Open your businesses bank account. It’s really the most efficient way to keep track of the business income and expenses. All earned income goes in this account; all expenses come out of this account. If you're taking the Sole Proprietorship route, you can use your social security number; if you are an LLC, use your newly obtained, fresh of the press employer ID number. See, easy peasy.

4. Check on any licenses, permits and what have you that are required to run your business. I mean, I feel like you would have already done this before even thinking of going into business for yourself, but makes sure that you are following the regulations before you start taking on clients, patients, etc.

5. You gotta get your paperwork in order. Contracts for suppliers, employees, independent contractors, or maybe just the basic contract that you use regularly with clients.