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Legal Tips to Starting a Business in Tennessee

starting a business in Tennessee

With the sudden outbreak of Covid-19 and the country-wide quarantine, many citizens gave up on their dreams of starting their own business. With the reopening of the state of Tennessee, and regulations lifting, is it time for you to start dreaming again?

For many people, starting a business is an opportunity to become one’s own boss, set your own rules, and earn a living while engaging your passion. A small business begins with a dream but must be built on a solid legal foundation. You may not be aware that in addition to a business plan, enthusiastic entrepreneurs must meet certain legal requirements.

Create a Distinctive Business Name

A successful new business needs to be noticed and that begins with a name. You’ve spent hours getting just the right tone to set the image for your new business. You’ve checked facebook, instagram and twitter and the handle you want for marketing are all available. But did you check the registration? Focusing on the marketing aspect of a name is important but so is the legality of the company name. Before opening the doors of a new business, ensure that the chosen business name is not similar to any other business in Tennessee. To avoid future problems with the law, run the name through the free trademark site to confirm it is unique and check with the Tennessee Secretary of State to see what may be registered using the terms you’ve selected.

Business Name Registration

Once confirmed that your business name is unmatched, register the name with the state. Registration allows your business to be identified as yours. How you register your name will depend on the legal structure you have chosen. For instance, where the desired structure is a partnership or sole proprietorship, you may file the name as “John Smith, Doing Business As (or d/b/a).”

Choose the Right Legal Structure

The legal structure chosen for your entity is essential for more than just name registration. The legal structure you choose will affect all operations, legal liabilities, and tax structure. Most new businesses will be a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation (of which there are multiple types for tax and other purposes). Entrepreneurs should understand what each structure entails. This is an important stage to seek help from experienced professionals to understand your options and decide which approach best fits the needs of your new business endeavor.

Attain All Business Permits and Licenses

After picking the appropriate structure, you must determine what permits, licenses and other legal documents are necessary for your particular type of business. An entrepreneur should research the essential legal permits for their business by reaching out to an experienced partner or looking thoroughly online. A few example forms include: tax registration, EIN’s, health and safety guidelines, environmental protocol, building regulations, and specifics depending on your industry.

Business Location & Zoning

Be sure to research zoning regulations and pick the location that best suits the needs of your business. Learn more about starting a business in the state of Tennessee here.

Taxes, Reporting, & Insurance

Taxes are important. Benjamin Franklin notably said, “but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Remember that there are many different types of taxes you may be required to pay at both the state and federal levels. Learn more about what taxes may apply statewide here. In addition to taxes and death, other considerations include certain reporting that will be due to a variety of local, state and federal entities. You can find our local Sevier County guidelines here. Another major coverage for you to consider is insurance. Decide what insurance is best for protecting your company and its employees.

Hire a Reliable Attorney

Sometimes, putting everything in order can be overwhelming when starting a business. This may result in incomplete legal documentation and poor operational choices. Allowing experienced professionals to guide you in meeting all the legal requirements and assisting you in making informed choices will help improve your chances of success.

As of 2018, there were 589,546 Small Businesses in Tennessee. When starting a business, adhering to proven legal tips is crucial. Whether the business owner is an amateur or veteran, legal logistics will assist in avoiding possible business failures.

Call us at (865)453-1091 for a free consultation with one of our business attorneys or send us a quick email to schedule an appointment: info@johnsonmurrell.com.

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