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How To Start a Small Business in Orlando, Fl


It is the dream of many Americans
to own their own business and "be their own boss". Many succeed but most fail due to improper planning.


What are the basic skills needed to run a business?
Basic survival skills include a working knowledge of recordkeeping, financial and personnel management; an understanding of federal, state and local tax laws and legal structures; communication skills; and a good understanding of your service and the market for it.
What form of business structure is recommended for a new business and what form of business structure is needed to maximize your effectiveness and minimize your costs?

Each form of business structure:

-•  Sole Proprietorship

-•  Partnership

-•  Corporation

-•  Limited Liability Company

They have advantages and disadvantages. The one you should choose depends on your specific circumstances. You need to discuss this with your lawyer and tax adviser.

Choose your legal structure carefully. The type of legal structure will determine what type of taxes you’ll pay and the tax forms you’ll file. The choice you make will stipulate your legal and financial liability.

Sole Proprietorship

Sole proprietorships are easy to set up and easy to disband. Profits are taxed at the owner’s individual federal tax rate, with the amount reported on Schedule C or Schedule CZ. Sole proprietorships do not file Florida corporate income tax returns, but owners have unlimited personal liability for any debts or other obligations the business incurs. In Florida, that liability is limited by the state’s homestead rights laws, preventing creditors from seizing an owner’s home.

IRS Tax Topic Sole Proprietorships


Partnerships can be formed as easily as sole proprietorships. These unincorporated businesses allow two or more people to share liability and provide capital. Business income is reported on partners’™ individual tax returns. A partnership can’t be dissolved on a whim, so enter into one carefully. Limited partnerships must file with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations and, as of early 2006, pay $35 to designate a registered agent and anywhere from $52.50 to $1,750 in filing fees.

Tax Information For Partnerships

Limited Liability Companies

Limited liability companies, or LLCs as they are known, are a hybrid form of business that combines elements of partnerships and corporations. In Florida, LLCs may elect whether to be taxed as partnerships or corporations. (The Internal Revenue Service allows LLCs to choose whether to be taxed on the federal level as partnerships or corporations)

LLCs must file with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations ($125 for new LLCs; $50 annually).

•  Florida Division of Corporations

•  http://www.sunbiz.org


Corporations are separate legal entities that must be incorporated with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations.

The two types of corporations are the C-Corporation and the S-Corporation. With a C-Corporation, the corporation rather than individuals pays taxes and assumes liabilities. Florida’s corporate tax is 5.5%.

An S-Corporation allows up to 75 shareholders to share income and expenses and to report them on their individual income tax returns.

• Tax Information For Corporations
• http://www.irs.gov/businesses/corporations/

Registering a business in Florida may require an entity to register not only at the State level but also with the local county government. Corporate entities are usually required to register with the Division of Corporations, (http://www.sunbiz.org/) while many professions are required to register with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. County occupational licenses are usually obtained from the local county government.


How do I register as a minority-owned business?
Florida’s Minority Business Enterprise Program is operated by the Office of Supplier Diversity. For information, contact OSD at (850) 487-0915 or online at www.osd.dms.state.fl.us

Fictitious Names

You may not have heard of the Fictitious Name Act. If your business is not incorporated and you use any name for business purposes, it must be registered under the Fictitious Name Act. Insure that another business; check county records, local phone books, and the Secretary of State in Tallahassee to verify this are not using the name you choose.


Fictitious Name Fees

Registration of Fictitious Names . . . . . . . . . . . .  $50.00
Cancellation and Reregistration of Fictitious Name. .  .  $50.00
Renewal of Fictitious Name Registration . . . . . . . . . $50.00
Certified Copy of Fictitious Name Registration . . . . .  $30.00
Certificate of Status of Fictitious Name Registration . . $10.00 
Search of Records . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $11.00
Photocopies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1.00 (per page)

Licensing Your Business

Occupational Licenses

Before opening the business an occupational license is required. The county license is obtained from the county tax collector, and the city license is normally obtained at the city hall. Both these entities will check with the zoning department before issuing a permit. After selecting a business location you may need a certificate of occupancy or certificate of use. These are obtained from the zoning department.

Occupational License COUNTY LISTINGS

Orange County Osceola County

Seminole County





City Occupational License City Hall

Altamonte Springs
























Lake Mary









Mt. Dora












St. Cloud






Winter Park



Winter Springs



Obtaining an Employer Identification Number

Simplified Tax And Wage Reporting System

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used to identify a business entity such as a corporation, partnership, or retirement plan. Generally, businesses need an EIN. An exception is a sole proprietor with no employees. However, sole proprietors who must pay federal excise or employment taxes will need an EIN, too. Note: You may not transfer your EIN if you sell or otherwise transfer your business. The new operator may not use your EIN.


Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

A Federal Employer identification number (obtained by filing form SS-4) is issued to most businesses. Necessary federal forms and small business tax kits are available from local IRS offices or by calling 1-800-829-3676. The IRS can provide information to employers on withholding and social security taxes and federal unemployment taxes. Tax workshops for business owners are also conducted in major Florida cities. For questions and assistance,
please call 1-800-829-1040.


What professionals do you need to work with to ensure that all of your professional and legal needs and requirements are met?
One of the key ingredients to business success is a comprehensive business support system with knowledgeable professionals in their field of service.  This can make or break a new business start-up. Professional services that you will need are:

-          Attorney

-          Accountant

-          Printer Graphic Designer = (Orlando Web Wizard Can Help)

-          Web Designer = (Orlando Web Wizard Can Help)

Contact these professionals to ensure that you are planning properly to start up and run your new business:

The Law Office of Clifford J. Geismar, P.A.
Crealde Executive Center
2431 Aloma Avenue, Suite 114
Winter Park, Florida, 32792
Phone 407-673-1087
Web Site: www.floridalegalanswers.com
McCrady, Hess & Ruth
2600 Lake Lucien Drive, Suite 405
Maitland, Florida 32751
Phone (407) 478-4020
Web Site www.mhrcpas.com

Growing a Small Business

Florida Department of State Starting a Business

Florida Small Business Development Center

Florida Division of Corporations

Your Service

___ What is the mission of your business?

___ Have you decided what service you will sell?

___ Is your idea practical, and will it fill a need?

___ What is the general economic trend in your service area?

Your Competition and Market

___ Who is your competition?

___ What is your advantage over existing businesses?

___ Can you deliver a better or different quality of service?

___ Who and how large is your market (customers)?

___ Where are they located?

___ Do you know what kind of people want to buy your service?

___ Can the customer base afford your service?

___ Do you know how to decide what price you will charge?

___ What is your monthly sales volume?

___ How can your business complete against others in the business environment?

___ Have you tried to find out whether services like the one you want to offer are doing well in your community and in the rest of the country?

___ Have You Developed a Business Plan?

Starting a Business

___ Do you know how much money you will need to get your business started?

___ Have you figured out what net income per year you expect to get from the business?

___ Do you need renovations or additional fixtures for the business? How much will they cost?

___ Have you calculated the cost of initial inventory?

___ Have you calculated the cost of utility deposits?

___ How much will taxes, permits, and licenses cost?

___ Have you figured the cost of employee salaries?

___ Where can you find out what local state and federal licenses you will need to operate your business?

Legal Form of the Business

___ What are the advantages and disadvantages of a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation?


___ Do you know what business laws, regulations, and policies you have to follow?

___ Do you know what federal regulations apply to your business?

Marketing and Advertising

___ Have you decided how you will advertise? (Newspaper, television, radio, mail, the Internet?)

___ Do you know where to get help with your ads?

___ Have you watched what other stores do to get people to buy?

Taxes, Record Keeping and the Business

___ Have you decided your specific computer needs?

___ What record-keeping requirements will your business require?

___ Have you planned a system of records that will keep track of your income and expenses, what you owe other people, and what other people owe you?

___ Which bookkeeping system is best for your business?

___ Do you know how to figure what you should charge for each item you sell?

___ Do you know what other businesses like yours charge?

___ How will you locate suppliers for your business?

___ Have you compared prices and credit terms of several different suppliers?

___ How do you manage inventory?

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