Checklist for Starting a Small Business in New York, USA

New York is one of the highly active economies in the United States and so an ideal state to start a small scale business. However, as an economy grows, some things get complex. In the case of New York, a small business startup can be a very lucrative opportunity, but starting it can be full of challenges.

Licensing, obtaining certain permits, acquiring cost effective commercial space for the business activity, finding a good team, affordable insurance and a lot of other tasks cannot just be time-consuming, but can be troublesome as well, especially when you do not have the right information.

You may have been looking for answers to queries like:

  • How to obtain a business license in NYC
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  • Starting a business in NYC checklist
  • NYs small business grants
  • How to register a company in NY
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Well, there are a lot more things to consider when it comes to starting a small business startup in New York. This article will answer all those queries and you can use the steps below as a checklist for starting a business anywhere in New York. Let’s get started:

1- Assess yourself; the first and most important step before your start a business anywhere is to assess yourself for the readiness of being an entrepreneur. Follow your instincts, means knowing your strength and weakness. The field of interest i.e. in which your capabilities of doing those tasks (business) are high. For example, you are good in fashion choice and you know what type of fashion is inn these days and what people need, you have to analyze and think that how you will deliver the need through your business. The weakness is the hurdle in delivering the need. That can be removed by improving your strength (Uniqueness).

2- Choose a business model wisely; unlike other states where starting a business is relatively not that tricky, New York wants you to be wise right from the beginning. This is because, the fast paced technological progress is shifting the buying trends and so, you should offer something that delivers the best value of money. Check out this list of profitable small business ideas for NYC for a reference or you may explore the complete list of small business ideas for US big cities to make a suitable choice.

3- Develop a foolproof business plan; a business plan is the crucial part of any business as it serves as a roadmap for the business owner to carry out the business activities in the most profitable way. You may start with a one page business plan, and get other things done in parallel with developing a detailed business plan that can help you generate funding. Your business plan must discuss clear and achievable goals, proper financial strategy (including fundraising models), an actionable marketing plan, appropriate approach for fast growth, and an emergency funding plan.

4- Identify the company structure; identifying the type of business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, nonprofit etc.) is the first thing to do because next steps would be depending mainly on the type of company. Moreover, you also need to sort out the terms of your lease, contracts with vendors or financing organizations, etc. Yes, you can do all these yourself, but to be very honest, all these are highly time-consuming tasks and involve laborious documentation as well. So, the best way is to get help from an authentic attorney. You may find and contact your nearest NYC Business Solutions Center from this page http://www1.nyc.gov/site/sbs/about/service-locations.page.

5- Name your business; you must register your business in order to do business legally and for this very reason a unique business name is a must. Here are few ideas to name your business correctly:

Once, you have a few business names finalized, do check with the Department of the State to check the business name availability. Follow this link https://www.dos.ny.gov/corps/bus_entity_search.html. And yes, do not forget to register a domain name even if your business website is not a priority. You may also buy a readily available business name with perfect .com.

6- Register your business; whether you are planning to run a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company, partnership business or a nonprofit organization, registering it with the relevant authorities is a must and it involves several steps, i.e.:

  • Obtain the proper form either from the NYS Department of State website http://www.dos.ny.gov/forms/corporations/1338-f-l.pdf, local county clerks’ office or commercial stationary stores that sell legal forms. Please note that some counties may require multiple copies of the form to be submitted and also may require that the form(s) be notarized, so it’s better to read the submission guidelines in detail or hire an attorney.
  • File the form; for sole proprietorships and general partnerships, the business certificates can be filed at the relevant county clerk’s office while corporations, limited partnerships, and limited liability companies require the certificate of assumed name to be filed with the NYS Department of State located at One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231.
  • Some professions require proper licensing and permits for business activity. Check with the NYS http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/3011/new-york-state-professional-or-business-licenses to find licensing requirements for your business and obtain all the required ones.
  • If you plan to setup a home office, check the local zoning laws https://www.dos.ny.gov/lg/publications/Zoning_and_the_Comprehensive_Plan.pdf and follow the required steps.
  • Next step is to register with IRS http://www.irs.gov and obtain tax identification number. You should find all the information and documentation requirements on the website itself.

7- Open a business bank account; you do require a business bank account to manage business transactions.

8- Rent a commercial space if needed.

9- Hire staff if needed; know the best practices for hiring family members, advantages and disadvantages of hiring older people and most importantly how to develop a productive startup team.

10- Purchase required equipment, supplies, and inventory.

11- Compare insurance quotes and purchase all the required insurances, i.e. office insurance, inventory and if your business deals in products and services that may cause harm to the customer, you must obtain public liability insurance.

12- Setup a robust accounting system to keep record of all the cash transactions, as well as credit balances.

13- Get other necessary software for running the business, i.e. inventory management, antivirus, backup, marketing etc.

14- Get the print materials ready for marketing and also get online marketing platforms ready, i.e. website, social media, and campaigns on advertising portals.

 

The Bottom Line:

Running a business in New York can be a great experience, but starting it can be tough, especially for the first time entrepreneurs who are not much familiar with the business ground in the state, laws and regulations and the process of setting up a business. I am sure the above checklist should have sorted out the major queries, however, there may be additional steps required based on business model, so it is highly recommended to get in touch with a local attorney with expertise in the business setup.

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