OPEN YOUR BUSINESS ACCOUNT

Before you open your doors, go to the bank and open a separate business checking account. Keep your business finances and your personal finances separate. Nothing can be more confusing or cause more trouble than mixing business with pleasure, financially. If you plan ahead and open your account a few weeks before starting business, you can have your checks printed with your business name and address, ready to use by opening day. Most banks require you to have your fictitious name statement or your LLC paperwork and EIN Number before you can open a bank account in your business name. Talk to your banker; also get an idea of charges and requirements for your account, because business accounts are handled differently than personal accounts.

CONTACT YOUR LOCAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

In order to get your store name in the public, it is always a good idea to check into becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce. You can get in touch with them for instructions. They can also supply you with a packet of information on opening a retail business in that community. You will need to determine what type of entity you would like to establish (sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Corporation, corporation, etc.) and then you can go by your local Chamber of Commerce and pick up a packet for that type of entity. The packet will contain valuable information regarding licenses, permits, etc. that you will need in your particular city, county and state.

CONTACT LOCAL UTILITY COMPANY

You are given this as an early reminder simply because many areas can take a while for hook up and especially be aware of this time frame if your space is newly built with no existing services. You will want to find out what kind of time frame they will need in order to get the electricity, phone, etc. up and running. You don’t want to be waiting on this!

LICENSE AND PERMITS

Many states will differ on required permits. Begin checking locally with your Chamber of Commerce to insure your store is adequately licensed.

FICTITIOUS NAME AND STATEMENT (DBA).

“DBA” stands for “doing business as”. When a business goes by any name other than the owner’s real name, the business is being operated under a “fictitious name”. Brenda’s Bridal Boutique or Rita’s Fashions are examples of a DBA. People doing business under a fictitious name are required to file with the county where your store is located. This will insure no one else in the county will use the same name. For the specific fictitious name requirements for your county, contact the County Clerk’s Office in your city.

OTHER LOCAL PERMITS AND CODES.

Your store may require other permits, such as zoning laws, building codes, fire and police regulations, etc. In most cases your landlord will be responsible for any codes concerning your space and should take care of them. To insure an on-time opening of your store, begin checking on these codes in sufficient time before your projected opening date. You can contact your local Chamber of Commerce and they can direct you to who you will need to contact.

SALES TAX AND SELLER’S PERMIT.

+Unless your state does not require it, you will be required to collect sales tax. Every state will differ in these laws. Each state that issues a sales tax requires a “seller’s permit” (tax ID, resale #, resale permit) and every business that sells merchandise must have one. Besides registering you as a “seller”, this permit will also allow you to purchase goods for resale without paying sales tax to your supplier. All suppliers will require your store to register with their company by filling out a form provided by the state for records of tax exempt transactions. Contact your Secretary of State for applications and forms. Visit the state government website or phone the Bureau of Taxation or Department of Revenue for the state that you will be doing business in.

FEDERAL ID NUMBER.

Your business will be required to identify itself on tax forms and licenses in one of two ways: your social security number or a Federal ID Number. Usually a social security number is all that is needed for a sole proprietorship, unless you hire employees. If you will need to file this, it can be obtained by filing Form SS-4 with the IRS or you can go online and do this—usually receive your EIN immediately. When you do file for your ID number, the IRS will automatically send you quarterly and year-end payroll tax forms that you must fill out and return even if you do not currently have employees. It is recommended that you do not apply for this ID number until you need one.

ITEMS WE SUPPLY AND THAT WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE START-UP (SHOPPING BAGS, UNIFORMS, FLYERS, BUSINESS CARDS, AND MORE)

You will receive start-up supplies in your program enabling your store to begin operations. The shopping bags included with our packages are temporary; start-up bags do not have your store name printed on them (“Thank you” is printed on the bags supplied). Personalized bags and forms can be purchased. If you want this for your store, give us a call – there are a variety of sources that can do this for you. In order to insure you get the best price for this service, you will want to check with local printing companies.

PLACE A SIGN IN YOUR WINDOW & COVER YOUR FRONT WINDOW!

As soon as you take possession of your location, you will want to cover your front store windows and display a large sign announcing your store opening. Example: “COMING SOON——DOLLAR MART”. You will want to keep the front windows covered until the opening of your store, this will keep the public guessing and will help start word of mouth. Displaying your store sign will inform the public what type of store is coming and will alert any shipping companies to be aware of your store. Some delivery companies will assume there is not a “functioning business” and will send deliveries back for reason of abandoned building. Also, place a telephone number in the window where you can be contacted for any shipments that may arrive during your absence.

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