How to Start a Business in Florida

With some of the lowest income taxes in the nation and the 2nd-lowest tax burden, starting a business in Florida is a great choice for entrepreneurs. Start your business today with our simple step-by-step guide and get on the fast track to financial and personal independence. If you get stuck along the way, connect with a business resource in your local area for help.

To Start a Business in Florida, follow these steps:

Step 1: Choose the Right Business Idea

The first step toward business ownership is deciding what kind of business to start. Look for an idea that suits your interests, your personal goals, and your natural abilities. This will help you stay motivated when the going gets tough and will greatly improve your odds of success. We have assembled a comprehensive list of small business ideas to help you get started. Need inspiration? Here were the most popular ideas among our Florida visitors in 2020:

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Find the Right Business Idea for You

Our free Business Ideas Generator will help you identify great businesses that match your interests and lifestyle.

Business Ideas

Step 2: Plan Your Business

Successful businesses are built through careful planning. Before committing a significant amount of money and other resources toward your business, critically analyze your idea and create a game plan. At a minimum, you should have good answers to the following questions.

Business Name
Naming a business can be challenging. You'll want to choose a brand name that follows Florida naming rules, resonates with your customers, and is available as a URL.

Product Development
What problem does your business solve? What will set your product or service apart from the competition?

Sales & Marketing
Who are your potential customers? How will you get their attention and convert them into buyers?

People and Partnerships
What roles will you need to hire and what professional relationships will you need to form in order to succeed?

Financial Planning
How many clients or sales will you need in order to break even? How much money will it take to get there, and where will you get the funding?

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Start Planning

  • Create a robust business plan to help navigate the early years of your business. To use this free tool sign up for the Business Center.
  • Need Help? Find organizations in your local area that can assist you with planning.
  • If you’re a solo-entrepreneur, setting up a virtual office can add credibility to your business by having a business address on Google search, protect your personal privacy, and provide you with a business phone line and a live receptionist to answer your calls. Save $200 on a virtual office today.
  • If you’re a woman in business, find funding, tools and resources with this great new series Women in Business.
  • Learn how to plan, raise, and manage your funds by visiting our guide to Small Business Finance.

Step 3: Form Your Business

Registering your Florida company as a legal business entity, such as an LLC or a Corporation, has two major advantages:

  • Increased credibility
  • Protection from personal liability in the event your business is sued

For most small businesses, registering an LLC is a great option. In comparison to other business entities, LLCs are easier to set up and manage and they have favorable tax treatment. You can set up an LLC in Florida for as little as $125.

If you choose not to register your company as a business entity, you will be held personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of your business. In addition, unregistered business owners may need to file a Trade Name, also known as a "DBA." Find out if your business is required to file a DBA.

Secure Your Domain

We recommend that you check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don't plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it

Not sure what to name your business? Check out our Business Name Generator. Then, create a logo with our free Logo Maker.

Find a Domain Now

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After registering a domain name, consider setting up a professional email account ( Google's G Suite offers a business email service that comes with other useful tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Try it for free

Step 4: Register for Taxes

With limited exceptions, most businesses require an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Tax ID Number. An EIN is used to identify a business in its federal tax filings. Without an EIN, you can't hire employees or open a business bank account.

Obtain an EIN

You should also be aware of important florida taxes that may apply to your business:

  • If you are selling a physical product, you’ll typically need to register for Florida Sales Tax.
  • If you hire employees, you will need to register for Florida Re-employment Tax, which is a type of unemployment tax
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Register for Florida State Taxes

Sales Tax | Employer Tax

Step 5: Create Business Banking and Credit Accounts

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

You can protect your business with these two steps:

1. Opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
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Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

2. Getting a business credit card:

  • Helps you separate personal and business expenses.
  • Builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise capital (e.g., small business loans) later on.

Step 6: Set Up Accounting

An accounting system helps you track the performance of your business and simplifies annual tax filings. Quality accounting software lets you download your bank and credit card transactions, making accounting fast and easy. Learn more about the importance of accounting and how to get started with accounting today.

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Recommended: QuickBooks has all the accounting features your small business will need.

Try QuickBooks for free

Step 7: Obtain Permits and Licenses

To operate your new business legally, you will need to comply with federal, state, and local government regulations. In many cases, this involves obtaining one or more business permits and/or licenses. For example, a restaurant will likely need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.

Step 8: Get Insured

Business insurance helps you manage risks and focus on growing your business. The most common types of business insurance you should consider are:

We recommend that all small businesses, including home based businesses, purchase a general liability policy. Businesses selling professional advice or services, such as consulting and accounting firms, should also consider a professional liability policy. In Florida, businesses with one or more employees, including officers and LLC members, are required by law to have workers compensation insurance.

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Our recommended insurance provider can set you up with an insurance policy that is right for your business

Get a Quote

Read our review of the best small business insurance companies

Step 9: Define Your Brand and Promote your Business

The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand. When developing your brand, you should consider:

  • What your business stands for?
  • What are your core values?
  • What will earn customer trust?

Once you feel confident about your answers to these questions, it’s time to move onto your business name. Your business name is the cornerstone of good branding and a successful business. To learn more about creating the best name for your business, read our How to Name a Business guide.

Once you have your name established, to finalize your brand, you will need a logo. To get a unique logo for your business use our Free Logo Generator. You can also try this premium logo maker by Tailor Brands. For something as important as your brand image it is always a good idea to source ideas from different places.

Promoting Your Business

There are many different methods to promote your business, but the two most effective methods are:

  1. Press Releases
  2. Facebook
Press Releases

Press Releases are a great way to promote your brand and are one of the most cost-effective strategies as they:

  • Provides publicity
  • Establish your brand on the web
  • Improve your website's SEO, driving more customers to your website
  • Are a one-time cost in terms of effort and money
  • Have long-lasting benefits
Recommended: TRUiC has negotiated a 25% discount for you on a service that will write and distribute press releases for you.

A Facebook page is a great, free way to interact with your customers. But, it does require ongoing effort to be successful.

A Facebook page can be used to:

  • Establish your local business presence
  • Showcase your business products and services
  • Communicate with your customers
  • Get and share reviews from customers
  • Promote your business through ads, though this may not be suitable for your business.

Step 10: Establish a Web Presence

A professional website is critical to the long-term success of your business, regardless of what industry you are in. A website allows potential customers to find your business online and discover the products or services you offer, and it also enhances your business’s credibility.

In addition to a website, you should also consider other avenues for promoting your business online:

  • Setting up social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
  • Creating accounts on review sites (Yelp, Google Reviews, etc)
  • Registering for a local Google profile

Florida Formation Guides

Get Help From Local Resources

To help you start your business, we have identified the best resources across the state of Florida that can support you in your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Select your Region

Jacksonville Local Resources

Beaver Street Enterprise Center

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Coworking

Accepts Walks In


The Beaver Street Enterprise Center is a co-working space that also hosts workshops and seminars to help budding entrepreneurs. The center permanently hosts offices of the SBDC and other resource organizations. Amenities include access to conference rooms, event hall, break rooms, and a staffed reception area.


1225 W. Beaver St.
Jacksonville, FL 32204


MON-FRI: 9am - 5pm

SAT-SUN: Closed

E3 Business Group

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Networking


E3 (Educate, Encourage, Empower) Business Group offers a four week entrepreneurship class, which teaches students how to start a business by meeting them where they are. E3 Business Group also hosts a weekly 30-minute phone call, which acts as a mentoring program for entrepreneurs.


Services from this organization cost a fee.


6050 Moncrief Rd.
Jacksonville, FL 32209
888-525-2299 x 120

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Jacksonville Resources

Miami Local Resources

Venture Hive - Miami

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Fundraising
  • Coworking


Venture Hive is a top-tier accelerator program designed specifically for people looking to start a business part-time, transitioning to a full-time job after a successful launch. Venture Hive is a paid 12-week program that offers free consulting with legal and other technical professionals, weekly one-on-one mentoring, and a mini MBA course teaching vital business skills.


You must be willing to dedicate 15-20 hours a week and pay a fee if participating in a program.


5966 South Dixie Hwy., Suite 300
South Miami, FL 33143

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Miami Resources

Orlando Local Resources

The National Entrepreneur Center

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Coworking
  • Networking


The National Entrepreneur Center is a facility that houses and manages the services of 13 different entrepreneurial assistance organizations. This collaboration allows the NEC to produce seminars and do 1-on-1 business counselling alongside numerous networking events. Partnered programs include several chambers of commerce, minority-oriented outreach organizations, and SCORE counseling.


Workshops range in cost from $35-$50.


Orlando Fashion Square, 3201 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32803


MON-FRI: 9:00am - 6:00pm

SAT-SUN: Closed

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Orlando Resources

Tallahassee Local Resources

Business Innovation Center

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Financial


The Business Innovation Center acts as a point of contact for local entrepreneurs seeking to launch a new business. Interested entrepreneurs can schedule a discovery session with an analyst to talk about your business opportunity and local resources that can help. Clients of the BIC benefit from networking with local organizations and guided help through the startup process.


There is a fee to be a part of BIC’s entrepreneur program.


5230 West U.S. Highway 98
Panama City, FL 32401

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Tallahassee Resources

Tampa Local Resources

Entrepreneur Collaborative Center

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Business Planning
  • Financial
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Networking


Hillsborough’s Entrepreneur Collaborative Center serves as a flexible venue for free and low-cost entrepreneurial services, including workshops, lectures, consulting, and other events hosted by partnered organizations. The center usually offers several events on topics ranging from social networking to online accounting. Most events require registration and are free to the public.


2101 E. Palm Ave.
Tampa, FL 33605


MON-THURS: 8am - 5pm

FRI: 8am - 3pm

SAT-SUN: Closed


Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Financial
  • Sales & Marketing


Prospera is a nonprofit organization specialized in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs trying to start or expand their business. This organization empowers Hispanic entrepreneurs through mentoring services, financial planning, sales and marketing plans, and other resources to prepare entrepreneurs to start a business. Prospera does not charge for many of their services, and other services are low cost.


Only Hispanic applicants will be considered for Prospera’s grant program.


600 N. Westshore Blvd., Suite 1050
Tampa, FL 33609

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Tampa Resources

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