The timing of this post is amazing, because Vermont just launched an updated portal so that you can now register your business online! Before it would take a minimum of two weeks and possibly upwards of a month to hear back after sending in your application via snail mail. But now it takes a mere four clicks from the Vermont.Gov home page and you get a response within 24 hours. When I started Purple Butterfly (http://purplebutterflyphotographyvt.com/) in 2013 with Kevin, it took about three weeks for us to hear anything back.
The first step for creating a business is coming up with a business idea and creating a business plan. The U.S. Small Business Administration website has a great page for walking you through creating a business plan (https://www.sba.gov/writing-business-plan). A business plan is essential for planning a successful business, think of it as a five-year plan for your business (no, really, it is a five-year plan for your business!). This will help you reign your ideas into one feasible plan, so that your business succeeds.
Next you’ll want to choose which type of business is most suitable for you. The new portal is a wonderful resource for learning about the different business types (https://www.sec.state.vt.us/corporationsbusiness-services/start-or-register-a-business.aspx) and deciding which one will work best for what you are planning on doing with your business. This should also be included in your business plan, but you’ll need this information to register with the State and IRS. Kevin and I chose an LLC for our company because we wanted to ensure that if something were to happen, our personal property was kept separate from the business.
After you decide which business type will suit your needs best and you have your business plan finalized, it’s time to register your business with the State of Vermont! You will be required to have the following information to register a new business, which you should have ready before starting the process online.
- A name! Along with a few alternatives just in case the name you have chosen is not available.
- You’ll need a physical address for the business, which can be a home address if you do not have a location yet, but make sure you check with your landlord if you rent to see if they allow home-businesses. Make sure to research the rules for running a business from your home.
- An email address, which should under the business name.
- You will need to provide your personal information as well, as the registered agent, unless you do not live within Vermont, in which case you will need to provide information for a registered agent that resides within the state.
- You’ll also need to provide the information of any other officers or directors that you might have in the company.
- A credit card for fees associated with registration.
Yay! You have registered your business name! What’s next? Depending on your business type, you will have to register with both the state (http://tax.vermont.gov/) and IRS (https://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online) for different tax types.
Congratulations and good luck on your business endeavors!