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How to Start a Business in New York

With the 3rd-largest economy in the nation and top access to funding, New York 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 New York 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 New York visitors in 2017:

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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?

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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 New York 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 New York for between $275-$1,325, depending upon newspaper publishing requirements in your county.

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 new-york taxes that may apply to you business:

  • If you are selling a physical product, you’ll typically need to register for New York Sales Tax.
  • If you hire employees, you will have to register for Unemployment Insurance Tax and Employee Withholding Tax on behalf of your employees.
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Register for New York 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.

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: 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.

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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 New York, businesses with one or more employees, including LLC members and corporate officers, 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

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
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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 New York that can support you in your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Select your Region

Albany Local Resources

IgniteU NY

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Coworking
  • Networking

Description

IgniteU NY is an independent organization with the broad goal of assisting entrepreneurship across the state of New York, specifically by increasing the success rate of startups. To this end, they offer a range of services that support startups, from coworking spaces to accelerator programs. Ignite NY is a growing program that emphasizes networking and collaboration among its startups in residence. They do not take equity in startups that request their assistance and are industry agnostic. 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

333 Broadway, Suite 350
Troy, NY 12180

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Albany Resources

Brooklyn Local Resources

Startup52

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Coworking

Description

Startup52 is a diversity-minded and minority-focused accelerator program in Brooklyn that emphasises the talent and capabilities of individuals and teams selected for the program. The 12 week program provides one-on-one mentoring, coworking space, and technical support in legal, marketing, and accounting areas. These services are provided to startups in return for a 5% equity stake in the participant companies.

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Brooklyn Resources

Buffalo Local Resources

The Foundry Incubator

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Coworking
  • Product Development

Description

The Foundry is a new incubator in Buffalo, offering traditional coworking space as well as mentoring/coaching and product development support. Their coworking space provides 24/7 access, conference rooms, and a variety of membership options. 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

298 Northampton Street
Buffalo, NY 14208
716-885-1381
info@thefoundrybuffalo.org

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Buffalo Resources

Manhattan Local Resources

XRC Labs

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Business Planning
  • Product Development
  • Sales & Marketing

Description

XRC Labs is a small startup accelerator that focuses on companies entering the retail or consumer goods market, placing a strong emphasis on good design. They host two sessions a year and only allow ten startups per session, allowing them to concentrate resources and make a significant difference in selected startups. This organization also provides large amounts of funding to participant startups through flexible packages, typically involving an equity stake.

Restrictions

Intended for startups creating retail or consumer products with an emphasis on design.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

68 Fifth Avenue, 3F
New York, NY 10011
hello@xrclabs.com

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Manhattan Resources

Queens Local Resources

Entrepreneur Space

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Coworking
  • Product Development

Description

Entrepreneur Space is a Queens business incubator that focuses on culinary endeavors. They provide commercial kitchen spaces at low rates and even include a kitchen assistant to help with food prep and miscellaneous tasks. The incubator also offers normal office rental in a traditional co-working space. Aside from facilities, the incubator also offers one-on-one business consulting.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

36-46 37th Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
718-392-0025

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Queens Resources

Rochester Local Resources

NextCorps

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Coworking

Description

NextCorps is a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering entrepreneurship in the finger lakes region of New York. This multifaceted organization has several distinct organizations that offer different forms of assistance. Specifically, NextCorps offers incubators, pitch competitions, manufacturing assistance, and an accelerator. Whatever your business venture is, chances are NextCorps offers a program that can help.

Restrictions

Specific programs have different restrictions.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

260 East Main Street, Suite 6000
Rochester, NY 14604
585-214-2400
info@htr.org

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Rochester Resources

Staten Island Local Resources

College of Staten Island Tech Incubator

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Coworking
  • Financial

Description

The CSI Tech Incubator is a 6-month program that fosters the development of technology-oriented companies through their launch phases. Admitted startups receive guided support on all aspects of business development, 24/7 access to the incubator, and networking opportunities with industry leaders.

Restrictions

Services are provided to admitted startups that pass a competitive application process.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

60 Bay Street, Suite 902
Staten Island, NY 10301
646-766-9554
csitechincubator@csi.cuny.edu

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Staten Island Resources

Syracuse Local Resources

The Tech Garden

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Coworking

Offers Free Service

Description

The Tech Garden runs a large variety of programs to support all types of entrepreneurial endeavors. Their incubator caters to companies in any industry, focusing on those that leverage technology in their business model. The organization hosts frequent events that are usually free and open to the public. Aside from their in-house programs, The Tech Garden partners with dozens of local organizations to provide many other avenues of support.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

235 Harrison St.
Syracuse, NY 13202
315-470-1970
info@thetechgarden.com

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Syracuse Resources

The Bronx Local Resources

BXL Business Incubator

Here are the Principle Service Areas:

  • Mentoring
  • Business Planning
  • Coworking
  • Financial

Description

The BXL Business Incubator offers a wide assortment of services for startups, centering around a coworking space in the heart of South Bronx. They offer in-house business counseling on legal and financial matters and provide access to pro bono accounting services as well. Their parent organization, BOC Development Inc. offers micro-lending services with low-interest loans. BXL offers both virtual and on-site memberships to accommodate different needs.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

BankNote Building, 890 Garrison Ave.
Bronx, NY 10474
718-532-2927
krivera@bocnet.org

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The Bronx Resources

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