How to Start a Small Business in Vermont
Do you want to start a small business in Vermont but don’t know where to begin? If you haven’t started a business before trying to navigate this process can seem overwhelming, it’s actually quite simple. The following list will walk you through the legal steps necessary to register your business and get it off the ground.
Does your business require a license?
If you are uncertain if you need a license, call Colin Benjamin, Director of Professional Regulation at 802-828-1505. Then check this page for information on the process of getting licensed
Determine your business structure type
Once you have determined whether you will need a license, you will next need to determine a suitable structure for your business. Whether your business is a sole-proprietorship LLC, an incorporation or a not for profit there are many different business structure that can be chosen from. To pick what’s best for your business start here.
If you are interested in forming an entity to engage in some type of nonprofit, social benefit, or public good, there are further steps you might have to go through which aren’t applicable to normal for profit businesses, especially if you want to apply for a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt status with the IRS. For more information on how to create your non-profit go here.
Pick a Business Name
Now it’s time to pick your business name. Whether it’s your trade name or the name of your business entity, your business name can have a big impact on your future success. It’s best to think clearly about the goals of the business, your local market and your business niche to help you make a good decision for your business name. Poll your friends or people in the same market with your top 3 business names to get their feedback. You can’t please everyone and ultimately it’s your choice, but this exercise can bring to light many things which you couldn’t foresee about the future ‘face’ of your business.
Do you have a name in mind? Use this name search tool to determine if your the name is available in the Vermont database of registered business names.
Register Your Business
As a Vermont resident, you now have the ability to register your business with the state. Based on your business structure/type defined above choose either to register a trade name (Doing Business As), an LLC, an incorporation, a non-profit corporation, L3C’s or more. Register here
Great job! By following the above steps you’ve registered your business. But before opening that bottle of champagne and kicking back with a view of the green mountains, there are a few other items you should think about.
Tax Status and Unemployment
You may need to register an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, for tax purposes. See, Do I need an EIN?
Most businesses also need to create a Vermont Business Tax Account. To do so, fill out this form. If you aren’t sure, go here or call 802.828.2551. And you may also need to register for unemployment coverage. To determine if this is needed check this page.
There are so many in’s and out’s of registering your business and proper operating procedures based on the type of business you want to run. Here are some other factors that may apply to you depending on your type of business.
Does your business include a bakery or a kitchen?
If you have any legal questions such as trademark, copyright, leases, contracts and patents, it is important to contact a lawyer: http://www.vtbar.org/
Will you need to build, buy property, or sign a lease?
If so, request the zoning rules for your area of residence. A list of contacts (Excel file): http://goo.gl/8hQYjW
Banking – https://www.nsbvt.com/
Accounting – The best accounting and time tracking software for small business – Freshbooks.com
Lastly, call the Vermont Chamber of Commerce for tips and insight on starting a small business in your area – 802-223-3443
Need Help to Create a Successful Brand?
Once you have all the details worked out, you may need help creating your ‘brand’. At Thinkup Design, I have years of experience helping small businesses define, refine and launch their brands successfully across printed materials and on the web. Feel free to get in touch about your project or request a quote.