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Organizing Your Business
Part IV: Registering Your Business

Clicks-and-Bricks Used Bookstore Series

by Jill Hendrix

#106, 29 October 2007

Now that you've picked your business structure, it's time to start investigating what exactly you will need to do to register your business. Keep in mind that some of these steps can only be taken once

Starting at the local level, you need to figure out the county in which your business will operate. Contact your county clerk's office and explain that you are hoping to start a new business in the county and ask what you will need to do to register your business.

If you are operating as a sole proprietorship, then you will probably need to file a DBA statement at either the county or state level. Once you have a physical location for your business, you may need to have your store inspected by the fire department and/or building inspector before you can open. If you think your business might be within city limits, then also contact your city government and find out if they have additional licensing requirements.

If you chose any other business structure besides a sole partnership, then you will need to make sure that your attorney has registered your business correctly with your state. This usually involves filling in the appropriate form and paying a fee to file your Articles of Incorporation, Articles of Organization, or Partnership Agreement.

If your state collects sales and/or use tax, then you will need to register for a retail license. Once you receive this license, you are usually required to display it in your store so don't misplace it. Also, when you open an account with a wholesale vendor, they often ask for your retail license number (aka resale number) as a means of verifying that you are really the owner of a legitimate business.

If you will be hiring employees right off the bat then you may need to apply for an employee withholding number and for state worker's compensation insurance. Also keep in mind that many states require you to report new hires for the purposes of tracking deadbeat dads and/or moms.

If you will be operating a café within your store, then you will be subject to a host of Retail Food Establishment requirements. Contact your state's Department of Environmental Control for more information.

Each state is different and your state may have other business requirements. For example, South Carolina also requires you to file a business personal property form. The IRS page of state information is a good place to start your search for information. Your lawyer and accountant should also be able to advise you.

On a federal level, you may need to apply for an EIN (employer identification number) if you are planning to hire employees or if you are operating as a partnership or corporation. You can apply for an EIN even if you're not sure whether you will be hiring employees or not.

If you have any questions about registering your business, please email me at or post your query to the BookThink Open Shop Bookstores Forum and I'll do my best to help.

Stay tuned for the remaining part of this article: Part V - Creating Your Business Logo

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