So you are thinking about starting a business in Miami, Fort Lauderdale or somewhere else in beautiful Florida. Perhaps you’ve done so elsewhere but you’re new to Florida. Or maybe you’ve never started your own company. In any case, you’ve probably got lots of questions. Here’s what you need to know.

With your livelihood at stake, the first thing you need to be successful in your new venture is courage – especially if you’re used to working for someone else and you have a family to support. You also need time, money and a good lawyer – or at the very least, access to proper legal advice. This is because you’ll have lots of important decisions to make along the way.

One of the first choices you’ll face is also one of the most crucial decisions you’ll ever have to make. This is what type of product or services your business will provide.  The answer will most likely depend on your own life experiences – including your education, interests and professional background. But you should also be prepared to research the area in which you plan to have your business, market trends and so forth to be sure there is a viable customer or client base. Don’t be afraid to bounce the idea off of trusted friends or colleagues, especially those who are familiar with the area.

If your friends or coworkers have questions or concerns about your idea, don’t take it personally. This simply means that you need to refine it, and there are a few strategies for doing so. One is to put it in writing. Specifically, you should work on the written description of your business idea until you have a concise summary (no more than 75 words) that includes or addresses:

  • A brief introduction about you and your business
  • The problem you want to address through provision of your products/services
  • Your potential customers/clients
  • How you plan to build the business
  • What you need to make your business a reality

Completing this exercise will also help you craft a formal business plan, which is mandatory if you need outside funding to launch your business.

Once you have identified/refined your business concept, the next step is to begin creating your business identity or “brand.” At this point, you should consider enlisting professionals who can help create your website, logo, company name and so forth.

Now you can tackle the next step, which is to choose an ownership/business structure. To make this decision, you should consider several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Whether you’ll be the only owner or whether you’ll be working with partners
  • Whether you’ll have any employees
  • Your tolerance for risk (the degree of personal liability you’re comfortable with, if any)

After making this initial self-assessment, you may want to consult an attorney about the pros and cons of creating a sole proprietorship, LLC or LLP, and the key differences between S- and C-corporations. Depending on what type of business/ownership model you ultimately choose, the filing process may be simple or very complex.

In addition to filing certain paperwork, you can do the following on your own:

  • Register your fictitious business name (“DBA”)
  • Get an Employer Identification Number (“EIN”) for tax purposes
  • Get necessary licenses

Due to the legal complexities involved, however, we highly recommend that you get an attorney’s help with the incorporation process. At Eskander Loshak LLP, our experienced business attorney can also help you with that, and many other tasks that are crucial to establishing a successful business. This includes but is not limited to drafting contracts, addressing immediate and future tax concerns, and the protection of intellectual property – just to name a few. When you’re ready our real estate lawyers can even help you secure the best location for your business and negotiate a favorable lease or purchase terms.

For more information about starting a successful business in Florida, contact us today.

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