In general, there are several basic steps for forming a business, as well as several recommended or common steps:
- Confer with and secure the assistance of professionals. Accountants, attorneys, tax professionals, financial advisers, bankers, business consultants and other professionals can all be invaluable resources when starting a business. Many business plans include an expense item dedicated to these services. The business world is highly regulated and law-intensive, and the advice of trained professionals is often indispensable. The Florida Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service is a good resource for locating an attorney. To obtain a referral for a certified public accountant (CPA) or other accounting professional, contact the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants or the Missouri Society of Accountants.
- Choose and create a business entity. The type of entity under which you will do business is possibly the most critical decision you will make. To learn more about the types of Missouri business entities, the filing required to create them, and the questions to pose to your attorneys and other professionals.
- Register fictitious names. If you plan to do business under a name other than your own name or the exact name of your business entity, you must file a fictitious name registration. For more information, see the section on Fictitious Names in this guide.
- Register with federal and state agencies. Several federal and state registrations are required for business entities including:
- Registration with the Internal Revenue Service to obtain a federal employer identification number (FEIN), even if the business does not have employees. (For more information, see the section on FEINs in this Handbook.)
- Registration with the Florida Department of Revenue, for certain taxes, which can be completed online or with a Form 2643.
- Registration with the Division of Employment Security.
- Recommended Steps. In addition to the above steps, all of which are commonly required of most statutory entities, a successful business will address, at a minimum, several other issues. New businesses often register their trademarks or service marks with the Secretary of State and with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Consultation with tax experts often leads to specific IRS filings, such as a small business election for a subchapter-S corporation.
In addition, new businesses seeking financing or equity investors will prepare a detailed business plan, and, in some instances, will need to create securities offerings. The process of raising capital, through the sale of a corporation’s stock for example, also is regulated by state and federal law. When raising capital, a business should confirm that it is in compliance with applicable state laws (sometimes referred to as “Blue Sky Laws” and Federal securities laws).
If a business will have employees, it is wise to consult with an employment law expert to determine all the requirements and obligations related to labor and workplace regulations.