by Deborah Sweeney
If you coasted by in 2012 without getting a business license filed and created for your company, your top priority for 2013 needs to be focused squarely on getting that license – even if your business doesn’t require one.
From the offset, you might not need a business license immediately. You might not even be fully incorporated either, depending on what your small business does or where it’s based out of. But in the case of obtaining a business license, you’ll want to jump on getting one as soon as possible as many states and counties require licenses in order to own and operate a business. A business license dictates where you’ll be running your company at and in the case that you own a specialty business; you may even need to apply for a permit specifically for that industry – whether it’s an income tax permit or even a permit to put up a sign outside.
Don’t look at the business license as just being a filing requirement that you have to get through to get back on doing on what you love though. These little guys provide big benefits for your business, even if they don’t initially appear to.
They Give Your Business Bragging Rights
There’s something about being able to say “I’m the owner of a licensed business” that not only sounds impressive, but gives the person listening a feeling of security. It’s less easy to feel at ease with working with a start-up that isn’t licensed, particularly if it’s based online. Getting customers to frequent your company is already difficult enough, but without a license, getting angel investors or partners interested in helping fund you or work alongside your brand will be even more difficult. Your business is your baby – treat it with all the attention you have and invest the time and energy into helping it grow up and become a success.
You don’t have to break the bank for a license. Depending on where you live, some permits can be purchased for the low, low price of $19.99. All you have to do is decide on what license you want, fill out the form with your secretary of state’s office (you can also file with my company MyCorporation too), and file the paperwork and… you’re pretty much done!
Licenses Protect Both You and Your Business
Much like how incorporating keeps your business (and you) from losing personal assets in the event of a lawsuit, a license provides protection in the event that your business is damaged or if any of your employees suffer from an injury. Without the license, you’re the one who’s liable here, along with your assets and personal finances.
You Can Join the BBB
Want to be able to include a badge on your company website stating that you’re a member of the Better Business Bureau so your customers feel even better about buying from you or even just visiting your website? You’ll need a license for that. If your business is interested in joining other groups, look into whether or not you’ll need a license to become a member first.
Melissa Stewart is the founder of SheOwnsIt.com. She is a Purveyor of Possibility, Entrepreneur Advocate and Coffee Addict. She believes that behind every successful woman is her story. What’s your story?