Texas is one of the most robust places for businesses in the US. It’s home to about 2.7 million small businesses that have given jobs to 4.7 million people. Texas’ capital city, Austin, is known as the hub for start-ups in the country, generating endless business opportunities for entrepreneurs.
If you’re eyeing to start a business in the Lone Star State, this guide will give you all the nitty-gritty details you need to know. So grab a pen and paper and dive in!
Step 1: Flesh Out Your Business Idea
Before getting into the specifics of your business plan, you must first decide on the type of business you want to start. Ideally, it should be aligned with your interests, skills, and personal goals.
Take as long as you want when choosing your business idea. This process shouldn’t be rushed, as a clear and definite goal will serve as your compass to success. It will inform all your decisions in the future and keep you motivated in the tough days.
Need some inspiration? Below are some of the popular businesses in Texas you may want to consider:
- Grocery store
- Clothing boutique
- Drive-in theater
- Gas station
- Dog breeding business
Step 2: Decide on Your Business Structure
Next to defining your winning business idea is identifying the structure that best suits your business. You can choose from the following structure options:
- Sole proprietorship – When you’re the sole proprietor of a business, you have the sole responsibility of its profits and debts.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC) – In this structure, the owners and partners are not liable to the business’ debts and liabilities. LLC covers tax and flexibility benefits that a partnership entails.
- Partnership – The responsibility for a company and its liabilities are shared between two or more people.
- Corporation – A corporation is a separate entity from its owners. This structure includes directors, officers, and shareholders. Corporations can own property, enter a contract, borrow and loan money, hire employees, pay taxes, and own assets.
Step 3: Choose the Name of Your Business
Coming up with a business name can be a creative exercise for many. Nevertheless, you must pour careful thought into this process considering a lot of business and legal concerns can stem from choosing the wrong name.
Try to get it right the first time to avoid inconveniences later on. Here are some things to keep in mind when picking a name for your business:
- Keep it unique, yet easy to pronounce and understand.
- Search your proposed name on Google or Bing to check if the name is already taken. You’ll want your name to be unique in your state or local area.
It’s even more important to have a unique business name if you want to operate on a national or international scale.
- To avoid any conflicts, do a trademark search with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This necessary step will help you confirm if your proposed trademark is already live, or are used on a related product or service.
- Run up a search on the business name database of Texas’s Department of State: Division of Corporations. In doing so, search spelling variations, misspellings, and plurals.
Step 4: Register Your Business
When registering a business in Texas, you will have to pay filing fees that can cost between $5 and $750. Every business structure requires a different fee. The conditions of your business will also determine how much you’ll have to pay.
Also, every business entity is required to have a designated registered agent, as stated in the Texas Small Business Handbook. In basic terms, a registered agent receives mail and legal notices on behalf of LCCs, corporations, or any other business entities.
Your registered agent is required to be at your physical office in Texas during regular business hours.
Step 5: Build Your Brand Identity
So you already have a remarkable business name your customers can remember you by. Great! However, a unique and easy-to-remember name isn’t all there is to brand identity.
A sleek logo and a professional business website is part of the package. You need to finalize both before you launch your business to the world. Your logo shapes people’s perception of your brand and it distinguishes you from other companies.
Your website establishes your presence on the world wide web. It is where people learn about your products and services. It’s also the place where your target customers’ first interaction with your brand happens.
Brand identity consists of several other elements. However, a powerful logo and a functional website are the fundamental factors you need to start your business on the right foot.
Step 6: Fulfill Tax Requirements
Make sure to comply with the necessary tax requirements for businesses. Staying on top of tax-related matters can be complicated, so it’s best to hire an accountant or an attorney who can help you sort these things out.
Here are the 4 types of taxes businesses must consider:
- Federal Taxes
- State Taxes
- Local Taxes
- Unemployment Taxes
Many businesses need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a Tax ID Number. This is used for easy identification of a business during federal tax filings. An EIN is also necessary for hiring employees and opening a business bank account.
Other essential reminders when complying with taxes in Texas:
- You must register for Texas Sales Tax if your business involves selling physical products.
- Register for Unemployment Taxes if you plan to hire employees in the state.
Step 7: Secure Licenses and Permits
You can’t operate your business without adhering to local, state, and federal government regulations. And part of this is obtaining the necessary permits and licenses.
For instance, if you’re a restaurant you must first secure building signage, and health and sanitation permits before being allowed to open.
Step 8: Insure Your Business
Protect your business from unfortunate circumstances in the future. Business insurance allows you to reduce or mitigate risks that might affect the health of your business.
Examples of insurance you can explore for your business include:
- Workers compensation insurance
- General liability insurance
- Professional liability insurance
For home-based businesses, a general liability insurance policy is highly recommended. Service-based businesses (i.e., consulting and accounting firms) must also get professional liability insurance.
These types of insurance protect you and your company from injury and property damage claims resulting from your products, services, or operations.
Step 9: Build an Active Online Presence
Nowadays, having an online presence is vital in the long-term growth of a business. This applies to all industries. Business owners must invest in building a strong online presence and incorporate a solid digital marketing plan into their business development strategy.
Create a website that’s easy to navigate across all devices, whether on desktop or mobile. Other simple yet impactful ways to boost your online presence are:
- Setting up your social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn)
- Listing your company on online directories (Google Reviews, Yelp)
- Creating your Google My Business Profile
In addition to these strategies, it’s also important to integrate search engine optimization (SEO) into your marketing efforts. SEO allows you to deeply understand how your target customers are mining information about your products and services.
By consistently applying SEO best practices, you’ll boost the visibility of your website and eventually increase your ranking in search engine results pages. The higher your rank, the easier people will find you when they search for your company. The increased exposure can result in higher site traffic and leads.
Ready to materialize your business idea? We hope this guide has equipped you with the working knowledge you need to make the initial strides toward realizing your dream Texas business!
If you need an expert team who can help you promote and market your business in the digital sphere, we got you covered. The digital marketing experts at Local SEO Search are here to support you with all your digital marketing needs to build an online presence, direct traffic to your site, and attract ready-to-buy customers.
Contact us today for a free one-on-one consultation. We want to help you reach your business goals.