A lot of people are hesitant to make the leap from dreamer to entrepreneur because they are afraid or overwhelmed by what they assume is a lengthy and difficult process to start a business. However, starting a business is actually much easier than you’d think! Just follow these simple instructions on how to register your business in the United States and – BOOM – you’re a business owner.

1. Choose your business structure

First, you will need to choose the right structure for your business. You will be able to select one of the following options:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Corporation (C corp, S corp, B corp, Close corporation, Nonprofit corporation)
  • Cooperative

2. Identify how you will need to register your business

The business structure you choose and the location of your business will determine how you need to register your business. Most businesses only need to register through state and local governments, but if you want to trademark your business or a specific product name you will also need to file with the United States Patent and Trademark office. Furthermore, nonprofit corporations need to register for a tax-exempt status with the IRS, and the creation of an S corp requires you to fill out Form 2553 with the IRS. 

3. Register your business name

Look up your state on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website to find out how and where to register your business name in the state your business resides. You will also need to register your business in each state you intend to conduct business. 

You may opt to find and retain a registered agent rather than doing the filing yourself. A registered agent registers the business and then receives all official documents and legal notices on the company’s behalf. 

4. Apply for an EIN

Once your business name has been registered, you will need to apply for an EIN, or Employer Identification Number. This will be your federal tax ID used to pay federal taxes, hire employees, obtain business licenses and permits as needed, and open a company bank account. 

5. Purchase your business’s web domain

This step is usually one that business owners get a little more excited about! You can now select and purchase the web domain to begin building your company website! It is recommended that you check domain availability prior to registering your business’s name so that your company name and web domain name align. You can use sites like GoDaddy and Domain to check availability. 

6. Open a business bank account

With your business officially registered, you should be able to take the formal documents along with your EIN to the bank of your choice and open a business bank account. Most banks require a minimum deposit of $100 to open the account. Make sure you research various banks and the types of business accounts they offer to ensure you are getting the lowest fees and the best benefits. It is recommended that your business have a checking and savings account, a credit card, and a merchant services account. The merchant services account will allow you to accept monetary transactions from customers. 

7. Purchase business insurance

Business insurance protects your business from lawsuits, unexpected costs, natural disasters, and more. The type of insurance your business will need depends on the structure of the business. Generally, there are six kinds of business insurance you should know about:

  1. General liability insurance
  2. Product liability insurance
  3. Professional liability insurance
  4. Commercial property insurance
  5. Home-based business insurance
  6. Business owner’s policy

Speak to a licensed insurance agent to determine which business insurance plans would work best for you. 

Your business is officially registered and ready to go! Now comes the really fun part of building your brand, dialing in on your core target market, and perfecting your website and marketing techniques! Make sure you stay up-to-date on any fees required to continue running your business, and that you are in compliance with all city, county, state, and federal requirements.


Disclaimer: The information provided on this website does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice, but is designed to provide general information relating to business and commerce. The Small Business Advisors’ content, information products, and services are not a substitute for obtaining the advice of a competent professional, for example a licensed attorney, law firm, accountant, or financial adviser.