Starting your business in Arizona

Starting Your Business in Arizona

Resources are available at every level to help you launch a new venture

Small business is actually “big” business when you look at it on a national scale.

Defined as companies with fewer than 500 employees, small businesses account for 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms, according to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Advocacy. Thanks to small business owners, 63 percent of net new jobs were created between 1993 and mid-2013. And following the financial crisis and recession from 2009 to 2013, small firms are credited with creating 60 percent of the net new jobs.

If you are ready to join the ranks of small business owners, it’s a popular group. Seventy-one percent of Americans see small business “as a positive influence on the way things are going in this country,” according to a Small Business Trends article. So it makes sense that so many resources are available to help you get started.

First - Play 20 Questions

You have a great, new business idea – but that’s just the beginning. Before you rent a storefront, the SBA recommends that you answer 20 direction-setting questions. The process will help clarify exactly what you need and will help others, such as lenders, vendors and potential employees, understand your concept, as well.

Second – Follow the Steps

Chandler ranked #83 and Phoenix ranked #89 out of 150 U.S. cities for being among the best places to start a business, according to Choosing a business location made the top three of these important steps toward entrepreneurship:

  1. Write a business plan. Consider it your financial roadmap.
  2. Get business assistance and training. The Arizona Commerce Authority is just one of many avenues to gaining specialized education.
  3. Choose a business location. Research zoning laws and permitting before selecting a locale.
  4. Finance your business. Venture capital, research grants and loans are a few choices. Talk with your credit union representative for more guidance.
  5. Determine the legal structure of your business. Sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative – look up these options to see which one works for you.
  6. Register a business name. This step is done at the state level.
  7. Get a tax identification number. The IRS and the Arizona Department Revenue can help you obtain this important tax-related number.
  8. Register for state and local taxes. Depending upon how you set up your business, you’ll need to pay workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance for your employees, which may include yourself.
  9. Get necessary licenses and permits. Different businesses require specific types of permission to operate, safety requirements and documentation that you’re allowed to perform certain services and/or sell certain products. Licenses and permits are issued at the federal, state and/or regional levels.
  10. Understand employer responsibilities. Laws are in place to protect employees and employers. Be familiar with them before hiring, so everyone is safeguarded.

Third – Use Your Many Resources

If this seems like a lot of information to wade through, it is. That’s why so many agencies and organizations are available to help, such as:

The Small Business Administration
Arizona Small Business Association
Arizona Commerce Authority
Arizona Small Business Development Centers

Whether you want to parlay a professional career into a consulting role, turn a hobby into a sales concept or form a corporation with trusted partners, several options for support exist for creating a new business. The fourth step to entrepreneurial success begins with you getting started.