Starting a Business
Starting your own business can be the most wonderful, challenging, amazing, frustrating, rewarding experience you’ve ever undertaken.
We want to help you along your journey by sharing resources and information you can add to your toolkit.
If you already know the basic information for your business (name, type of legal structure, type of business), you customize your entrepreneurial journey by visiting Epicenter’s SmartStartMem wizard that will give you a checklist to get started.
If you are starting from square one, you can follow along using these steps:
Draft Business Plan
There’s no right or wrong way to write a business plan. What’s important is that your plan meets your needs. This written guide from the SBA will help you map out how to start and run your business successfully.
There are plenty of free training and counseling services to help you start and grow your business. The Memphis Public Library and the Memphis Office of Business Diversity and Compliance also have a trove of resources and hold free seminars, many virtual.
Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business
Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.
Register your Business Name
Register your business name with the State of Tennessee, but first, check that no one else has trademarked that name.
Get a Tax Identification Number
Learn which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.
- Internal Revenue Service – Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) Online
Register for State and Local Taxes
Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance. Shelby County (situs code 7900) and Memphis (situs code 7901) have a business tax.