Once you’ve formulated your Idaho business idea and know where you’ll obtain the money to fund your new startup, the next step is following our instructions for starting your business right the first time!
1. Select a Name and Legal Structure
You have 4 choices when selecting a legal structure:
- Idaho Sole Proprietorship (form a Sole Proprietorship Now)
- Idaho Partnership (form a Partnership now)
- Idaho Limited Liability Company (LLC) (form an LLC now)
- Idaho Corporation or S-Corporation (form a Corporation now)
2. Obtain your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
If you are set up as an Idaho Corporation, Idaho LLC or Idaho Partnership (or a sole proprietorship with employees), apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the IRS. A FEIN will be necessary to open a bank account or process payroll.
3. Open the Company Bank Account
Select an Idaho bank and open the Idaho company bank account.
Contact the bank before opening the account to see what their specific requirements are to open a business checking account; some banks’ requirements are relatively simple, whereas some banks’ requirements are extremely complex.
Lease an Idaho Office, Warehouse or Retail Space (if not home-based)
Depending on your type of business (retail, office, or warehouse), arrange for office space to be leased. Contacting a commercial Idaho realtor in your area can be helpful. Also, make sure to arrange for utilities and office furniture.
Obtain Licenses and Permits
Depending on the type of Idaho business you are in, you may need a Federal license or permit.
Most Idaho businesses do NOT require a Federal license or permit. However, if you are engaged in one of the following activities, you should contact the responsible Federal agency to determine the requirements for doing business:
- Investment advising
- Drug manufacturing
- Preparation of meat products
- Ground transportation
- Selling alcohol, tobacco or firearms
Idaho State Licenses and permits
Some occupations and professions require a State license or permit. Laws vary from State to State. However, if you are engaged in one of the following professions, you should contact the responsible state agency to determine the requirements for your business:
- building contractors
- insurance carriers
- real estate agents
- private investigators
- private security guards
- funeral directors
- bill collectors
Idaho State Licenses and Permits based on products sold.
Some state licensing requirements are based on the product sold. Contact your Idaho state licensing authorities to determine the licensing requirements of your business. For example, most states require special licenses to sell:
- lottery tickets
Most people engaged in the types of business that require a special State License or Permit are already aware of the requirements (i.e., an accountant is familiar with the licensing requirements for accountants).
Idaho Sales Tax Permit
If your company sells physical products within the state where it does business, you may have to collect and pay sales tax. This is usually accomplished by obtaining a State Seller’s Permit or Resale permit.
Idaho Business License
Most Cities or Counties require you to obtain a business license, even if you operate a home-based business. This is a license granting the company the authority to do business in that city/county.
- Hire Employees (if applicable)
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both).
- Set up an Accounting and Record-Keeping System
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments, or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years.
- Obtain Business Insurance
There are many types of insurance for businesses, but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy.” This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers an extra level of protection.
- Systematize and Organize
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. This means having a method to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business.
- Develop an Idaho Business Identity
Order Idaho business cards, letterhead, and promotional materials for your Idaho business. A professionally created logo can make your business look professional and established.
- Get the Word Out (Marketing)
Now that you’ve set up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer.