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Not sure where to go from here? Let this be your road map for success! Each step in the process is detailed below. Whether your business is just an idea or a well-oiled machine, you can find guidance on topics that effect where you are now.

Starting a Business

You're probably bombarded with tasks you know you need to complete to get your business off the ground. Maybe there's some things you need to do that you aren't even aware of. Check out some of the resources below to make sure all of your bases are covered.

Develop a Business Plan

Don't forget to write a business plan. It may seem like an extra step you aren't concerned about, but a solid business plan is your roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. Don't be overwhelmed by it.

Determine Start Up Costs

Cost is probably one of the things you are most interested in figuring out for your new business. Use these resources to calculate startup costs, plan for financing, and foresee how best to make a profit.

Attend an Educational Event

We want to make sure you aren't feeling alone in this exciting journey. There are opportunities to get in-person help and education across the state. If you have questions, or are confused at what all you need to do when starting your new small business, we invite you to attend an event in your area.

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Choose a Location

Where you choose to locate your business determines many things about its structure. Location will have a big impact on taxes, zoning laws, and regulations for your particular business. This step is very important because there needs to be some strategic decision-making to choose the best option.

Structure & Name

Choosing your business structure will have a huge impact on how you operate your business. Structure helps determine what you will pay in taxes, how you will raise money, what paperwork you will need to file, as well as any personal liability. You will also need to pick a business name after gauging the market.

The Secretary of State’s Office partnered with Alabama Interactive to produce a short video highlighting our Online Business Services portal. The online portal makes it incredibly easy for businesses and other entities to submit their necessary filings without the assistance of third-parties.

With the passage of Act 2020-73, the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division was required to make many changes to the administration of business filings. These changes were aimed at streamlining and modernizing business fillings through the Secretary of State’s online portal in an effort to help citizens complete their filings. Since January 2021, 87% of all new business formations have been filed through the Secretary of State’s online portal.

Tax Information

Your new business will be liable for taxes depending on several factors. It is important that you obtain your EIN and Alabama Income Tax Withholding number. Take a look at the resources in this section to see if you will be responsible for collection sales tax, rental tax, use tax, as well as any other tax types.

License & Permits

You will most likely need a combination of licenses and permits to operate your business. Some will be federal, some state, and maybe even local. You can learn about those regulations and permits with the resources below.


Insurance is such an important part of running a business. You will want to protect yourself from unexpected costs. There’s no way of knowing when accidents, natural disasters, and lawsuits may happen, so shield yourself with the right insurance.

Launch Now


Taxes are just a part of doing business; a big part. You want to make sure that you are up-to-date on all of the tax obligations for your business. To stay in good legal standing you must maintain your federal, state and local taxes.


Not only do you need overall emergency insurance, but you will also need to have an unemployment compensation fund and workers compensation insurance. This will protect your business as well as your employees.

Best Practices

Successful businesses have certain things in common. Ensure you are on the right track for success by keeping thorough records, preparing for disasters, investing in some cyber security, and making sure you are using safe and healthy practices in your business. You can find out more about these best practices here.

Closing a Business

We hate to see you go, but we know that sometimes you have to close your business. Make sure you do it the right way! There are some state and federal obligations that you must complete to make sure you have closed out your business.

Stay Managed

Open Additional Locations

When you open a new location, you need to go back to your business plan and update it. Your business plan will be confirmation that you are in a good spot to add locations. You also want to make sure you are complying with all laws, rules, and regulations just like when you were opening the first location.

Funding for Expansion

Expanding your business costs money and slightly different preparation than running your business as is. Learn about obtaining financing and what other options are available for businesses looking to grow.

Adding New Employees

A business is as good as its employees. As a business owner, you want to hire the best. Your employees are a direct reflection of your overall mission. Learn some strategies for sourcing the best candidates.

Merge & Acquire Businesses

Your success has now led you down the path of acquisition and/or merger. This process is similar to starting a new business, but require additional steps to protect your existing business. Learn how to do it the right way.

Grow Today