How to Start a Business in Florida

Written by Austin Chegini

ryan parker mqpawAQXRyA unsplash

Florida is full of growing cities and a diverse population. Whether you want some fun in the sun or country living, there is something for everyone in the Sunshine State.

For this reason, many entrepreneurs want to capitalize on the area and grow their empire. If you are wondering how to start a business in Florida, keep reading to get a detailed overview of the process. 

Seven steps to start a Florida business

While all businesses have different needs, almost all will need to comply with these steps to become a legal entity in Florida. 

1. Decide what business you want to start

Have you thought up the perfect idea? Or are you still considering a few different business options? 

Either way, you want to be 100% confident in the business model you choose. Do not rush into things, especially if this is your first entrepreneurial venture. It’s important to choose a business that matches your personality, capabilities, and goals. 

Consider these factors when deciding what business to start:

  • Initial costs: How much money will you need to open up shop? Will you need to borrow funds from a bank or private investor? 
  • Time commitment: Will this be your full-time job? How many hours can you realistically put into the business?
  • Experience: Are you an expert in this industry? Are you confident that you will satisfy all your customers?
  • Competition: Are there many similar businesses in the area? Do you have the drive to beat out all the competitors?
  • Interests: Can you see yourself doing this every day? Will you lose motivation or passion for your business?

Read this guide by the Florida Department of State to get an idea of what all goes into starting and owning a business.  

2. Draft a formal business plan

Once you have a basic idea and goal, it’s time to formalize the process. Writing an extensive business plan is a key step in determining if you can succeed. 

The fundamental elements of a business plan include:

  • Summary: Briefly explain your mission statement, introduce leadership, and outline your overarching objectives. 
  • Analysis: Take a detailed look at your market to assess demand and identify your target consumer. Next, analyze existing competitors to see how your business can gain market share.
  • Products and services: Describe what you will offer, where you will source your inventory from, and list any related expenses. 
  • Strategy: Clearly spell out your sales and marketing approach, detailing how many employees you need and your sales targets.
  • Financials: State your expected costs, where you’ll get funding, and how you plan on repaying debt.

3. Register your business with Florida and the federal government

One big decision you will need to make early is deciding how you will form your business. Simply put, do you want your business to fall under your personal finances, or do you want to create a separate entity that has its own taxes, debt, credit, etc? 

By default, any business a person creates will automatically become a sole proprietorship. You don’t need to do anything official other than declaring your business income on your normal taxes. This model is perfect for a small solo operation, but it does leave you liable in terms of debt and lawsuits. 

For this reason, many entrepreneurs will form a business entity that reduces their liability. If you want to do this, you will need to register the business with the Florida government. 

Here are the official links to help you get started with your business structure:

After forming your business, you will then apply for an Employer Identification Number. You will need to obtain an EIN to file taxes, pay employees, and handle some other legal matters.

4. Obtain all local and state licenses

Before your business can serve others, it needs to obtain the proper licenses from the government. These certifications are vital for showing that your staff are competent and that you comply with all laws and regulations.

While Florida has a long list of certifications and licenses, some common ones include:

For a more extensive list of licenses, see the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

5. Acquire funds and create a bank account

With legal matters squared away, you will need funding to buy inventory, rent a space, hire staff, and more. These startup costs can be quite high, so many people do not have enough cash savings. 

If you’re the average small business owner, you can rely on the following sources to get money:

At the same time, you will want to open a business bank account. By separating your personal and business accounts, you can prevent confusion and comingling of cash, making tax filing and accounting easier. Also, a business bank account will be important if you write checks or want to appear more professional. 

6. Add the finishing touches

The last step will vary for everyone, but the goal is the same: opening your business. By now, you have everything in order and can begin making money!

Although people will go about this differently, you will need to handle these tasks:

  • Choose a location
  • Buy equipment
  • Hire employees
  • Advertise 
  • Open your doors

Start your business right with Epos Now

Choosing the right hardware and software to manage your business is essential. With consumers expecting more and more from stores and restaurants, you need the latest technology to keep up. 

Your point of sale system will have a major impact on your business. These devices are not only for processing transactions. 

A modern POS is responsible for several core aspects of a business, including:

  • Managing inventory
  • Generating sales reports
  • Tracking staff hours
  • Running payroll

On top of this, a POS can integrate with third-party programs so you can access everything in one place. From marketing to e-commerce to accounting, you can find countless apps to make your business better. 

If you need a point of sale, speak with Epos Now to find the right solution for your business.  

Epos Now Call us now