How to Start a Business in New York

Written by Austin Chegini

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New York is home to major cities, small towns, and acres of untamed forests. With close to 20 million people calling The Empire State home, everyone can find something to love about this area. 

With the population growing year after year, countless small business owners try to build their own empire in New York. If you want to know how to start a business in New York, read over our step-by-step guide below.

6 steps to start a New York business

No matter if you start a bodega in the city or a general store in the Adirondacks, you will likely need to follow this process.  

1. Think about your options

What type of business do you want to open? Are you considering a few ideas or do you have a set plan?

Starting a business takes a lot of planning, especially in a competitive market like New York. Even if you have the perfect idea, it might not be viable if there isn’t sufficient demand for your products or services. 

Take a moment to think about your skills, interests, and long-term goals. 

Consider these factors when deciding what business to start:

  • Startup expenses: Does your business require a large amount of capital? Do you know where you will get the funds from? 
  • Hourly availability: Do you have the time to run your business? Will you work full time or only work a few days a week? 
  • Expertise: Do you have experience in this field? Do you know how to keep customers happy and coming back?
  • Market analysis: Are there similar businesses in your area? Will you be able to beat out all competitors?
  • Passion: Are you prepared to work long hours? Will you lose interest in your business when things go wrong? 

Read this guide by the City of New York to learn more about starting and owning a business.  

2. Write a business plan

After deciding on your business model, you will need to take a detailed look at your situation and determine how/when you can launch. By following a standard business plan, you will ensure you have no gaps in your process and will be fully prepared.

Be sure to address these core sections:

  • Executive summary: Give a brief overview of your business and its purpose. Give an introduction of your leadership team and explain your primary goals.
  • Market research: Analyze the demographics of your area to find if there is sufficient demand. Explain who your target buyers are and how you will reach them.
  • Review your competition: Take a detailed look at any potential competitors and explain their strengths and weaknesses. List ways in which you will gain an edge over these businesses. 
  • Sales strategy: List what products and services you will offer. Elaborate on your pricing model, sales techniques, hiring goals, and anything else that is part of your strategy.
  • Financial obligations: State your startup costs, ongoing expenses, and debt repayment plan. Calculate how much money you will need to make to stay solvent, and outline your growth goals.

3. Register your business with the State of New York 

To make your business official, you will need to inform the proper authorities. Depending on the size and scope, you can either list it on your personal income taxes or create a separate entity with the state government. 

A sole proprietorship automatically forms when you create a business and include it on your personal taxes. If you form a sole proprietorship, you only need to submit a few additional documents during tax season. This business entity is perfect for small side hustles that do not leave you exposed to liability or excessive debt.  

For businesses that will need to borrow large amounts of cash or could find themselves in legal trouble, forming a separate entity may be best. This is often the top reason to form an LLC. Creditors, attorneys, and the government can only hold these entities liable for most issues, keeping your personal assets safe. 

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

Once you register with the New York Department of State, you will need to request an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. This EIN is needed to file taxes, pay employees, and handle other legal matters.

4. Acquire business licenses

You cannot serve customers without having the right licenses and permits from the state. These certifications show customers that your staff is competent and that you comply with all laws and regulations. 

New York has a vast list of certifications and licenses, but some common items include:

For a more extensive list of licenses, see the Department of Health or use the New York Business Express website.

5. Get your finances in order

When it comes to money, you want to keep your personal affairs separate from your business matters. Otherwise, you can become confused when you file taxes, tabulate your liquid assets, or handle other important tasks. 

Creating a business bank account is the perfect way to simplify management. With these accounts, you can write checks, collect payments, and appear more professional. 

After creating your account, it’s time to fund it with cash. Unless you have savings stored away, you will likely need to borrow money. 

Most entrepreneurs acquire funding through these channels:

6. Add the finishing touches

By now, you have everything you need to start working. What you do next will depend on your business model and immediate needs. 

For example, a notary public can work from home and may not need to do anything else. On the other hand, a New York City grocery store will need to find a space, stock shelves, and more. 

For most New York businesses, you will need to take care of the following before you can open:

  • Rent/buy a commercial space
  • Buy products and equipment
  • Hire and train employees
  • Build a website 
  • Advertise your business

Grow your new business with Epos Now

In our tech-heavy world, choosing the right hardware and software to manage your business is crucial. With cybersecurity threats looming and programs demanding more computing power than ever, you can’t rely on outdated or cut-rate devices. 

If you run a store, restaurant, or service business, you will likely need a point of sale system to process transactions and take payment. However, these devices are capable of much more!  

A modern POS can help with many core business functions, including:

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

What’s more, your POS can synchronize with third-party programs to give you everything you need on one platform. Whether you need help with marketing, e-commerce, or accounting, you can connect with a variety of 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. 


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