< class="main-content" itemprop="articleBody">

How to Start a Business in Louisiana

With the 7th-lowest business costs in the nation, Louisiana is a great place to launch your business. 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 resources in your local area for help.

Steps to Starting Your Louisiana Business

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. Need inspiration? Here were the most popular ideas among our Louisiana visitors in 2017:

A cube with LLC on 3 sides

Find the Right Business Idea for You

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

Business Ideas
Tool

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.

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?

A cube with LLC on 3 sides

Start Planning

Our Business Planning Guide helps you analyze your business idea and gets you access to free planning tools.

Need Help? Find organizations in your local area that can assist you with planning.

Step 3: Form your Business

Registering your company as an Louisiana 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 Louisiana for as little as $100.

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.

Step 4: Register for Taxes


With limited exceptions, most businesses require a Federal 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 louisiana taxes that may apply to you business:

  • If you are selling a physical product, you’ll typically need to register for Louisiana Sales Tax.
  • If you hire employees in Louisiana, you will have to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax, and Employee Withholding Tax on behalf of your employees.
A cube with LLC on 3 sides

Register for Louisiana State Taxes

Sales Tax | Unemployment Insurance Tax | Withholding 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.

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.
Recommended action box icon

Recommended: Get $200 when you open a business checking account with Chase. Learn 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 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.

A cube with LLC on 3 sides

Recommended: FinancePal is a one stop shop to meet all your accounting and tax filing needs.

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 Louisiana, businesses with one or more employees, including LLC members and corporate officers, are required by law to have workers compensation insurance.

A cube with LLC on 3 sides

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

Get a Quote

Step 9: Define Your Brand

The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand.

When developing your brand, think about what your business stands for. What are the core values that drive your business? Customers and clients are looking for companies that have a compelling brand, as much as they are shopping for high quality products and services.

Learn more about branding and how to build a brand 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’ 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
A cube with LLC on 3 sides

More than ever, people are looking for reviews before doing business. Yelp is an important aspect of social validation for your business, claim your page today and get $300 in Yelp advertising credit.

Sign up for our Business Center

Sign up for a free Business Center account for access to tools, legal documents, and discounts that will help you start and grow your business

Signup Now

Get Help From Local Resources

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

Select your Region

Baton Rouge Local Resources

Dixie Business Center

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Coworking
  • Networking

Description

Dixie Business Center is a nonprofit business incubator dedicated to foster small business growth and creation; it offers coworking spaces at low cost for aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as a range of consulting services in market research, aid in seeking finance, as well as other business resources.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

1810 S Range Ave.
Denham Springs, LA 70726
225-665-0809
info@dixiebusinesscenter.org

A cube with LLC on 3 sides

See more business resources in Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge Resources

New Orleans Local Resources

SUNO Small Business Development & Management Institute

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Financial
  • Accounting

Description

South University at New Orleans offers great support for entrepreneurs through the Small Business Development & Management Institute; the institute offers an incubator space, with offices available for use at a discounted rate, as well as a range of in-person counseling services.  These services cover areas such as loan packaging, business management, marketing, financing, accounting, strategic planning, regulations, and taxation.

Restrictions

Participants must be a member of Louisiana Economic Development in order to attend certain classes. 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Southern Univrsity at New Orleans, 6801 Press Drive
New Orleans, LA 70126
504-242-0006
cbeaulieu@suno.edu

HOURS OF OPERATION:

MON - FRI: 8:30 am - 5 pm
A cube with LLC on 3 sides

See more business resources in New Orleans

New Orleans Resources

Shreveport Local Resources

CoHab

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Coworking
  • Financial

Offers Free Service

Description

The CoHab is an amazing resource for entrepreneurs in various stages of their business development; the organization offers a free consultation for individuals who are in the first stages of ideation, and then onwards have established a range of programs to suit different stages and types of entrepreneur's needs.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

500 Clyde Fant Parkway, Suite 200
Shreveport, LA 71101
318-759-7997
CohabitatFoundation@gmail.com

A cube with LLC on 3 sides

See more business resources in Shreveport

Shreveport Resources

}