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How to Start a Business in New Jersey

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Congratulations on deciding to start your own business. But before you check out Newark Now’s guide to designing the perfect business card, you’ll need to do a couple of things first in order to establish your business and actually have something to put on your business card.

So here’s a quick list of the most crucial factors you need to tackle if you want to start on the right foot.

Research & Planning

The nature of your business will determine the research and planning necessary for you to start. What market need does you product or service address, what are your primary customers like, and how do you plan on growing your business? Do you only want to do business in New Jersey or are you aiming for a wider scope?

These are just a few of the essential questions you need to ask yourself in order to start with the right framework and plan for your business. The more in-depth your research and planning gets, the better you can flesh out the practical needs of creating and sustaining your business.

Business Structure & Formation

While the legal process of business formation may seem daunting, the state of New Jersey has actually made it relatively easy for new entrepreneurs. In fact, from sole proprietorship, which is the simplest business structure to the complex limited liability company (LLC) which is also the most flexible, the specific steps you need to follow can all be found online.

Whichever business structure you choose, you’ll need to register with New Jersey’s Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services, which is responsible for handling the registration, regulation, and taxation of businesses in the state. This guide to forming an LLC in New Jersey notes how this division actually handles all the crucial formation documents, like the certificate of formation and the operating agreement. While the former is for basic business information, the latter can involve details like ownership assignment, separation of assets, and other crucial details. Similar but more limited speculations apply to articles of incorporation, while sole proprietorship and partnerships come with their own limits and advantages. It would be best to have a business law attorney by your side so you can choose the structure that’s best for your company’s future.

Banking & Credit Accounts

After legally forming and registering your business, you will need to set up dedicated business banking and credit accounts. This is to separate your own personal accounts and assets from that of your company’s.

This prevents any of your personal assets from being targeted in case your company needs to face lawsuits or answer any liabilities. Apart from liability protection, having separate personal and business accounts also makes accounting and taxation easier. Building up your business credit account also opens up your business to more financing options, which you can learn more about in Small Business Trends’ guide to building business credit. Apart from getting better rates for business loans, a formidable business credit score can also help a lot in attracting the right investors.

Permits & Licenses

The nature of your business or service will determine the types of permits and/or licenses that you’ll need to secure. This aspect of starting a business is handled by various state divisions and departments, such as the Department of Environment Protection, the Department of Transportation, the Division of Consumer Affairs, or whichever state entity handles the specific field that you want to get into. Much like choosing your business structure, the process for any permits, licenses, or certificates can all be found online.

Insurance

The only required form for business insurance in New Jersey is workers compensation insurance, which only applies to LLCs or corporations with more than one employee. However, for whatever type of small business, the state recommends general liability insurance. And for professional service or advice companies, New Jersey recommends getting a professional liability insurance policy. While these may seem like unnecessary expenses, especially for a struggling new business owner, business insurance can go a long way in managing your short and long-term risks. And the more you can manage your risks, the better you can plan towards growing your business.

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