First, you need to determine your business plan. No matter the size of your business, with just one employee or over 500, you need to follow the same steps. Even if you want to file your company as a Limited Liability Company, a Limited Liability Partnership, or any other type of corporation, you need to:

  1. Choose a name that follows New York’s guidelines;
  2. Register the name with New York’s Secretary of State;
  3. Select your “Board of Directors” (you can self-appoint); and
  4. Register your business with the IRS to get an Employer Identification Number.

Does it Depend on What I am Doing/Selling?

If you want to run a service, like a restaurant, therapy, day care, or a salon, you will need a specific license to operate a business out of your home. Many residential areas do not allow you to operate a business, like a restaurant that serves alcohol, out of your home due to the disruption it can cause in your neighborhood.

Businesses like a day care have an extra aspect of regulation due to the fact that children are involved. It will also depend on the number of children you will watch, how long you plan on watching them, and many other factors.

Does My Home Need to be Zoned for Business?

It depends on the type of business you wish to operate. If you want to operate a business which will bring customers to your home, and sell things like alcohol, your home needs to be zoned for business.

It is not common or easy to have your home, if zoned as a residential area, re-zoned for commercial use. It is very important to make sure that you know what is allowed in your neighborhood before attempting to open your business. Even if your neighborhood is zoned for a business like a daycare, it does not mean that is zoned for a business like a restaurant. It is vital not just to see whether your area is zoned for business operation, but also what kind of business.

What if I am running an online/mailing business?

If your business is online, you may need to acquire a license to operate your business. If you are certain mailing products or offering services, like taxes or legal services, you will need to have a permit to operate. However, the type of permit is not just what is required by the State of New York, but the county you operate your business. While, as an online business, you will do business across the United States (or even internationally), you must have the permit to operate in the county where you operate your principal place of business.

Do I need a lawyer’s help?

Taking a local business lawyer in New York to help you start your small business is a great idea for any entrepreneur. An attorney who understands the different challenges that any small business has to face can help you a lot in flourishing your business.