Checklist for Starting a Small Business in Texas, USA

Texas is certainly one of the best states in the USA to start a small business. CNBC classified Texas as the second best state to start a business after Georgia in the year 2014. When it comes to rankings, these are based on various factors including the cost of setting up and running the business, quality of life, business friendly state policies and above all the ease of access to capital.

With state of the art technological advancement, an excellent infrastructure, ease of setting up and running a business, easy availability of human and capital resources and numerous opportunities to be a part of new innovations altogether make Texas an ideal business ground for new startups.

So, if you are looking to start a business anywhere in Texas, and looking for answers to queries like:

  • How to start a business in Texas step by step
  • How to start a home business in Texas
  • Starting an online business in Texas
  • Registering or filing a small business name in Texas
  • How to start a business in Texas with no money
  • Starting a sole proprietorship in Texas
  • And other similar queries…..

This article will guide you through a complete list actionable items required to set up a small scale business in Texas. And you can use these items to create a checklist for starting your own business anywhere in Texas.

Here it goes:

  • Pick up a business idea that is much in demand within your target market. To get a better idea, check these small business ideas for some of the big cities in Texas, i.e. Small Business Ideas for Austin, Small Business Ideas for Dallas, Small Business Ideas for Houston, Small Business Ideas for San Antonio or check this list of Small Business Ideas for the United States of America for more ideas. Identifying a highly demanded and most profitable business idea will lead you toward defining product/service.
  • Conduct in-depth research on the industry and the market.
  • Write a business plan which should include a foolproof marketing plan with actionable items and properly defined financial goals for your startup.
  • Decide the legal structure for your business, i.e. whether you will operate as a sole proprietorship or a partnership.
  • Name your business, and get it registered with the state department and/or get the certificate or d.b.a. (doing business as) in the county where you will conduct business. Follow this link for details about registering a business in Texas.
  • Register or reserve your federal trademark/service mark and register appropriate copyrights.
  • Investigate about registering a patent in case if you are going to market an invention.
  • Register a domain name for your business, even if you are not ready to develop the website right now.
  • Dedicate a proper space for your home office and do check zoning laws and deed restrictions that apply to your home office.
  • In case if it’s not a home based business, make sure to lease a commercial space that meets your requirements.
  • Apply for an employer identification number from the IRS, file the appropriate tax election with the IRS such as the entity classification and “S” election and contact the Internal Revenue Service for information on filing your federal tax schedules.
  • Obtain tax information such as record keeping and tax estimation requirements etc.
  • If your product/service requires to collect sales tax, apply for a sales tax permit with the State Comptroller of Public Accounts. Also, find out when you will need to remit the taxes.
  • Check with the local authorities about the local business tax requirements such as reporting tangible personal property used to produce income on tax rendition forms.
  • Find and get a business insurance that best meets your business requirements. Check if your business requires public liability insurance; if so, get one.
  • Obtain the city, county or state business licenses and/or permits necessary to operate the business.
  • Before you start hiring for your business, you must look into the government requirements for insurance, worker’s compensation, OSHA requirements, self-employment tax, payroll taxes such as FICA, federal and state unemployment taxes etc. Also, check tax information on hiring independent contractors.
  • Make sure to have a robust business accounting system before you start operations.
  • Find communication equipment needs such as a business land line, cell phone etc. and get the same.
  • Open a business bank account.
  • Purchase furniture, equipment and/or supplies required to start operations.
  • Order inventory, signage, and fixtures.
  • Develop your business marketing materials, i.e. business cards, stationery, business website, social media and so on. Prepare any sales literature if required.

The Bottom Line:

Please, be advised that there may be some additional steps particularly related to your business model or industry, which are not included in the checklist above. Moreover, there are frequent policy and legislative changes due to which the above steps may be different for you. It’s always great to seek a professional’s advice, i.e. having a local business advisor to counsel and verify that you have met all legal requirements before starting and operating your business.