How to Start a Business in Florida

Step-by-step guide for new business owners.

Attracted by the sun and beach culture, or perhaps the art deco architecture and the dream of hobnobbing with wealthy socialites, many entrepreneurs make their way to America’s Sunshine State. 

They hope to settle down there and make their stay a long-term visit. While many have jobs that can relocate them, many others realize that in order to live beachside, they may need to make a job for themselves in Florida by starting their own business.

But moving to Florida to open a new company is not necessary if you already live there! Some Floridians feel the urge to set up a business to be independent and see how far they can grow.

There is no doubt that Florida is considered one of the best states to start a company in because of its favorable business climate, low tax burden, and top-notch infrastructure.

What Kind of Business Will You Start?

One extremely important detail is that of deciding what your business will be. What service will you provide, or what product will you manufacture?

A popular idea is that of a café or restaurant. For those skilled in the kitchen, this feels like a natural option. Other people may want to start a clothing stand for beachwear, or perhaps start a landscaping company, or a limousine rental… the options are endless.

Pick Your Niche and Location

If you have the luxury of time, you can first choose the area you’d like to live in, then talk to residents to see what type of shop or service is missing in their neighborhood. 

This ensures that you find a niche to fill rather than starting a company in an already crowded market. If you are already sure what type of business you can run successfully, then you’ll want to find the best area to relocate to based on the chances of it getting a footing. 

So, essentially, you can either find a niche in the market — or find a market for your niche!

Whatever your business idea is, there are some foundational procedures that you need to put in place to have the best chance of success.

Name Your Business

Having decided on what type of venture you’re going to build, you need now to come up with a catchy, unique, and memorable name. A business name should reflect your business purpose. Also, it should be easy to spell and share. You can use our Business Name Generator to choose a zingy brand name.

After choosing a business name, you need to make it official by registering your business with the proper authorities. It’s important to make sure your name isn’t already taken by another business, so the sooner you can register, the better.

Remember that to gain customers’ trust, some businesses do better under the owner’s name. This also makes it more likely that the name hasn’t been taken yet. 

Common examples of these are accountancies and law firms, which almost always use the surnames of the partners to show authenticity and trustworthiness.

Register Your Business

One of the first things that veteran entrepreneurs do is determine their company’s corporate structure. If you want to be the only owner and operator, the best choice is a sole proprietorship. 

If you are part of a team starting the venture, this is a partnership. Other types of corporate structures are: limited partnership, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC). 

Knowing the entity your business falls into at an early stage helps you make the right moves. It’s best to work with an expert to obtain adequate information about the pros and cons of each structure.

Should you decide to go the LLC route, there are many different online services to help you fill out the paperwork properly. However, the huge selection of options can make it difficult to find the most suitable one. 

Our breakdown of the best LLC services provides a very useful guide in this arena. You can check it out here.

Write a Business Plan

You have the business idea, the perfect name for it, and have officially registered it. Now it’s time to come up with a strategy to launch your business. This plan will help you know the things to implement and the things to avoid.

It’s also a very important piece of your pitch for investors and money lenders: a business plan shows that you’re a detail-oriented manager. This scores some big points in your favor, especially for banks and anyone possibly lending you money. They’ll feel more confident placing their trust (and money) with you.

Extremely important to include in your business plan will be things like marketing strategy, projected earnings, and predicted costs. 

Licensing

Keep in mind the need to be licensed by the correct government bodies for your particular business. 

Restaurants need very specific licenses, taxi drivers need others, and even buskers need permits! Educate yourself on your needed licensure, and mark all the important dates regarding expiry and recertification in your calendar, so you never miss a deadline.

For more help and guidance on developing this critical document, check out our article on how to write a business plan.

Build a Memorable Website

No matter your chosen industry, every successful business needs a website. Even a basic social media presence can go a long way toward developing an effective marketing strategy.

Buying, registering, building, and hosting a website can feel like an insurmountable hurdle to new business owners who may not have any experience in the tech space. But it doesn’t have to be complicated! In fact, there are numerous excellent website builders with extremely user-friendly interfaces that make website construction a breeze. 

Templates or designs are easy to customize on sites such as Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress. Adding widgets, banners and specific-use sections is painless and quick.

Hosting your website can be a little trickier, but our web hosting reviews can help you pick the best web host for your needs.

With a registered website, you now have a homepage to link to in all of your business’s social media profiles! Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, even TikTok are all wonderful platforms for finding potential customer bases. 

Connect with other local businesses, create a network, and interact as your business on other people’s pages. These will all help you gain trust and clout as a community entity, which many people like to support. 

It will also give you a wider set of people seeing your business name and, hopefully, clicking through to your website to find out more about you!

Pick the Right Location

The location you pick to set your business plays a crucial part in its growth. Travel around Florida to discover the best locations for your business. 

Fortunately, Florida is the third most populated state in the US. This means you will always have a decent number of clients in any city you choose to settle in. 

Miami

The first city to consider is Miami, as it is a thriving business center. The city favors business developments, economic growth, and international reach. Besides, Miami attracts tourists from all over the world, and some of them may end up counting on your business. 

Due to the high population, you will also have access to a large workforce. Not to mention, Miami is a fun and interesting city to live in, so it would be a great place to set up your company there.

Other Cities

Other cities to keep in mind are Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Tallahassee, and other metropolitan centers. However, if you are starting a business with a lot of competition in these cities, consider less-populated locations like Pensacola, Bradenton, and Boynton Beach, among others. This gives you a chance to establish your brand before moving to the big cities.

Wherever you decide to settle, ensure that you’ll want to live and work there.

The most important thing you need now is customers. They will bring the money that you need to keep your business running, and they will also — ideally — recommend you to other customers.

Print materials, huge billboards, bus stop posters, however you decide to do it, you will need to supplement your online exposure with real-deal old-fashioned marketing materials. Be sure to always hire a professional copywriter and keep texts snappy and informative.

In your business plan’s budget, advertising should take up a considerable amount of outgoing costs. To do advertising properly, it will cost some money. Don’t let that stop you from investing in the right advertising to get you off the ground. 

Furthermore, remember to connect your digital and print marketing campaigns by always referencing your well-maintained website.

In your business plan, have a section dedicated to taxes. As mentioned earlier, Florida has a lower tax burden than other US states. This is because only traditional corporations pay state income taxes. 

Hence, as a start-up entrepreneur, you won’t pay income tax on any salary you earn through the business. This gives your business a chance to grow without dealing with the effects of high tax liabilities.

Nonetheless, during the registration process, you will apply for identification numbers and permits or licenses for taxes, which will depend on the service you want to provide. 

You will also apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number. Besides registering with the state, you will register with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The two main licensing agencies to keep in mind are The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS). 

However, with some business types, you may not need a license at all. Talk to the professionals in these departments to learn the details.

Finances

In your business plan, you also need to consider separating your personal and business finances. For this reason, you need to open a business bank account. This separation will help you significantly during the tax season. 

Also, it allows you to organize your daily operations. Business accounts also have higher credit limits, which will come in handy when you need to upgrade equipment or keep your business running during tough seasons.

Grow Your Business and Hire Help

Whether you find answering phones is taking up too much of your day, or writing and paying invoices is not your strong suit, it will greatly benefit your bottom line if you can find the right person to take on these tasks. 

Organization and paperwork take up a surprisingly large chunk of a workday if the business is being run properly. If you focus your energy on these tasks, you’ll find you’re running out of time (and motivation) to do what clients and customers are paying you for.

Track Your Cashflow

Invoices, receipts, tax filings, consumables, materials, salaries, insurance… the paperwork piles up lightning-fast, and if you’re smart, you can use this to your advantage.

With excellent data on your business’ expenditures and incomes, you will easily be able to measure some crucial indicators regarding the health of your business.

For example, when you look at your sales and break them down over your hours of operation, you may decide that there are certain windows of time that it’s not worth it for you to remain open.

You may also see a missed opportunity — for example, if you have located your business near a beach parking lot, you can stay open during weekend mornings and sell beach toys and other things that people often need when they pass the day at the beach.

Wrapping Up

Florida can offer residents a very comfortable lifestyle with an active cultural scene and a wonderful mix of natural habitats to explore. 

To make your stay there a long-term one, consider opening a Florida-based business that will earn you income while you’re there. As with opening a business anywhere, the key to success lies in proper planning, registration, and staying organized and focused.

So make your plan, get your paperwork in order, and make your way to the Sunshine State, where new opportunities await you. Don’t forget to pack some sunscreen!

More articles like this:

We use cookies to offer you our service. By using this site, you agree to our: Cookie Policy