Many Americans dream of owning their own business. Far fewer take action and make that dream a reality. Of those who do take the leap, about 50 percent are still in business after five years. A lot of factors determine which businesses survive and which don’t; planning well and seeking the counsel of experienced professionals, specifically attorneys and accountants, are among the most important. If you are starting a business in Indiana, an Indiana business lawyer from Camden & Meridew, P.C. can help you get and stay on the path to success.
The Basics of Starting a Business in Indiana
Starting a business in Indiana requires extensive planning on the front-end. Performing market research is a critical step in determining if your idea will resonate with potential customers and provide a needed good or service. Once you have a marketable business idea, you will need to make important decisions regarding location, naming, business structure, and branding, then formulate those details into a cohesive business plan.
Next comes the work of making the business a legal entity that is recognized by and compliant with the rules and laws of various government agencies that regulate business in your community, state, and country. This stage includes registrations, licensing, permits, zoning matters, determination of taxation, and more. If that sounds complex, it is. However, getting the details right in these early stages of your business is imperative to future success.
How to Get a Business License in Indiana
There is not a single business license in Indiana that all businesses must obtain. Many types of businesses, but not all, must register with the Indiana Secretary of State. The documentation required for this registration varies depending on the intended structure of your business. You will likely also need to register your company with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and establish a federal tax account for the business entity.
New business owners must also obtain all necessary state and local permits and licenses. These are based both on location and the type of goods or services you provide. For example, Fishers, Indiana does not require a business in its jurisdiction to obtain a general business license from the city, but it does require specific licenses and permits for food service, contractors, and alcohol sales, among others.
Meanwhile, Hamilton County, where Fishers is located, also requires various licenses, inspections, and permits for specific business activities. In all Indiana counties, informal business associations that are not required to register with the Secretary of State must register their business’s operating name with the county in which the business is located.
Indiana Business Laws: Structure and Formation of Businesses
Indiana separates into two categories the business structure under which a company can operate: informal and formal associations. Informal associations include sole proprietorships and general partnerships, which are not required to register as a business with the Indiana Secretary of State. Informal associations must register a business name in the county in which the company operates and comply with any license and permitting requirements that apply.
Formal associations under Indiana business laws include limited partnerships (LPs), limited liability partnerships (LLPs), limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations (including S corporations). Indiana business laws specify the proper means by which these businesses must register with the Indiana Secretary of State and what information must be included in those documents.
Each business structure offers different advantages and disadvantages. Two of the most important factors impacted by the type of business structure you choose are how the business and its owners will be taxed and how the owners or partners can be held liable for the debts and responsibilities of the business entity.
If your line of business involves significant liability but you decide to form a sole proprietorship because it is the simplest route, you could lose your home or other personal property as a result of your business’s debt or liabilities. Alternatively, if an LLC would provide ample protection and business flexibility, but you choose to incorporate your business, you are likely to end up over your head in administrative duties and taxes. In short, the type of business structure you choose should be based upon details that are specific to your business.
Why You Need an Indiana Business Lawyer when Starting a Business in Indiana
You need an Indiana business lawyer who can help you in all stages of business development and formation, including the following:
- Initial planning and market research;
- Developing a formal business plan;
- Identifying the appropriate business structure for your company;
- Naming your company appropriately;
- Registering your business with the Indiana Secretary of State;
- Filing for necessary licenses and permits;
- Registering with the appropriate tax entities, including the IRS and the Indiana Department of Revenue;
- Obtaining and negotiating financing and business insurance;
- Identifying and managing zoning issues; and
- Creating operating and employment policies and procedures.
Many attorneys and law firms cannot offer the comprehensive skill set needed to assist you in all of the tasks and trials faced by new business owners. At Camden & Meridew, P.C., you will find an Indiana business lawyer with significant experience facilitating these matters and more. If you are starting a business in Indiana or otherwise need legal business counsel, don’t hesitate to contact us by calling (317) 770-0000 or completing our online contact form.