How To Start & Grow Your Business

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How to Start a Business in Indiana

Are you planning on starting a new business in the state of Indiana, but having some trouble getting started? Are the endless websites and paper trails making you feel overwhelmed? Look no further.

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Indiana’s economy is fueled by the automotive, manufacturing and agricultural industries, yet, Indiana has proven it encourages entrepreneurship. Indiana’s economy grew twice as fast as the rest of the country in 2010, and put up similar results in the next three years. Indiana offers numerous benefits to businesses, including ten small business development centers, the Business Ownership Initiative, and more. Indiana allows small business owners to claim many business expenses as tax deductions or write-offs on individual income tax returns filed with the state.

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How to Start a Business

Starting a business can be both exhilarating and challenging. It requires your full attention and energy. It all begins with an idea, an observation that there is a problem and the belief that you have a new solution – or a better one. Allow us to walk you through the steps in this free guide: How to Start A Business.

General resources for starting a business in Indiana

  • Physical Address
    Office of the Indiana Secretary of State
    200 W. Washington St., Room 201
    Indianapolis, IN 46204

  • Indiana Tax Forms
    http://www.in.gov/dor/3489.htm

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Fun facts about starting a business in Indiana

Famous business founded in Indiana: Anthem, Inc.

Anthem Inc. is a health insurance company founded in the 1940s in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is the largest for-profit managed health care company in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Famous entrepreneur born in Indiana: Colonel Sanders

Colonel Sanders (1890-1980) was best known for founding the fast food chicken restaurant chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), and later acting as the company’s goodwill ambassador and symbol.

[On being rejected 1,009 times before selling the first KFC franchise in 1952]

So many other people have strived through adversity that it will embarrass you. – Colonel Sanders

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Which type of legal structure is best for my business in Indiana?

You must consider the tax, legal, and liability implications carefully before deciding on the best structure. We strongly recommend you incorporate.

Here are five helpful steps to determine the best legal structure for your business:

Click one of the buttons below to learn more about the different types of business legal structures and how to start them in the state of Indiana.
LLC (Limited Liability Company)
A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation with the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership.

Steps to starting an LLC in Indiana:

  • Step 1 — Name your LLC.
  • Step 2 — File Articles of Organization.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a Registered Agent.
  • Step 4 — Prepare an Operating Agreement.
  • Step 5 — Comply with any publication requirements.
  • Step 6 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 7 — File Biennial Reports.
  • Step 8 — Register foreign LLCs doing business in Indiana.

For help forming your LLC in Indiana we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).
Alternatively, visit the Indiana Secretary of State website.

Other Indiana resources for LLCs:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your LLC name here.

Secretary of State Business Forms: File your “Application for Exclusive Use of Corporate Name,” and “Articles of Organization” here.
File your “Business Entity Report” here.

IRS EIN Online Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC here. If your LLC has more than one member, you must get an EIN, even if you have no employees.

Department of Revenue: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

Sole Proprietorship
A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business. A sole proprietorship has one owner who pays personal income tax on all profits from the business. With little government regulation, they are the simplest business to set up or take apart, making them popular among individual business owners or self contractors.

Steps to starting Sole Proprietorship in Indiana:

  • Step 1 — Choose a name for your sole proprietorship.
  • Step 2 — File an assumed business name with the county clerk.
  • Step 3 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 4 — Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your sole proprietorship in Indiana we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service). Or, visit the Indiana Secretary of State website.

Other Indiana resources for Sole Proprietorship:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your business name here. A sole proprietor may use his or her given name, or an assumed business name.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

Indiana Archives and Records Administration: If you use a business name that is different from your legal name, you must file a certificate of assumed business name here.

Indiana Professional Licensing Agency: Depending on your business activities, you may need an occupational or professional license. Run a search at this site to determine what might be applicable to your business.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business here. If your sole proprietorship hires employees, you will need an EIN.

Department of Revenue: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

Partnership
A partnership is created from two or more people doing business together for profit and share ownership. There doesn’t have to be a written agreement to form the partnership. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, and shares in the profits and losses of the business.

Steps to starting Partnership in Indiana:

  • Step 1 — Name your business.
  • Step 2 — File an Assumed Business Name Certificate.
  • Step 3 — Create and sign a partnership agreement.
  • Step 4 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 5 — Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your partnership in Indiana we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service). Alternatively, you can visit the Indiana Secretary of State website.

Other Indiana resources for Partnership:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your business name here. A partnership may use the surnames of the individual partners, or a fictitious business name.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

Indiana Archives and Records Administration: If you use a business name that is different from your legal name, you must file a certificate of assumed business name here.

Indiana Professional Licensing Agency: Depending on your business activities, you may need an occupational or professional license. Run a search at this site to determine what might be applicable to your business.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your business here. A partnership must have an EIN, whether or not it has employees.

Department of Revenue: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

S Corporation
An S corporation (or S Corp) is a special type of corporation created through an IRS tax election. An eligible domestic corporation can avoid double taxation (once to the corporation and again to the shareholders) by electing to be treated as an S corporation. The corporation's income or losses are divided among and passed through to its shareholders. The shareholders must then report the income or loss on their own individual income tax returns.

Steps to starting S Corporation in Indiana:

  • Step 1 — Choose a corporate name.
  • Step 2 — Prepare and file Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with Indiana biennial report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Indiana.

For help forming your S corporation in Indiana we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service). Alternatively, visit the Indiana Secretary of State website.

Other Indiana resources for S Corporation:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.

Secretary of State Business Forms: File your “Application for Exclusive Use of Corporate Name,” “Articles of Incorporation,” and “Business Entity Report” here.

Indiana Professional Licensing Agency: Depending on your business activities, you may need an occupational or professional license. Run a search at this site to determine what might be applicable to your business.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

IRS S corporations: Specific instructions for your tax requirements as an S corp.

Department of Revenue: Register your business at this site to fulfill your tax requirements.

C Corporation
A C corporation (or C corp for short), refers to any corporation that is taxed separately from its owners. A C corporation is distinguished from an S corporation, which generally is not taxed separately. There is no limit to the number of shareholders a C corporation can have. It is the most common type of corporation in the U.S.

Steps to starting C Corporation in Indiana:

  • Step 1 — Name your corporation.
  • Step 2 — Prepare and file Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Find a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with biennial report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Indiana.

For help forming your C corporation in Indiana we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service). Or, visit the Indiana Secretary of State website.

Other Indiana resources for C Corporation:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.

Secretary of State Business Forms: File your “Application for Exclusive Use of Corporate Name,” “Articles of Incorporation,” and “Business Entity Report” here.

Indiana Professional Licensing Agency: Depending on your business activities, you may need an occupational or professional license. Run a search at this site to determine what might be applicable to your business.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

Department of Revenue: Register your business at this site to fulfill your tax requirements.

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Why choose Indiana for my business?

  • 1

    Forbes “Best States for Business” (2015)
    Indiana is ranked #8.
    “The state’s economy has fared better than most Rust Belt neighbors because Indiana’s significant manufacturing base is dependent upon a highly skilled labor force.”

  • 2

    Kiplinger “10 Great Cities for Starting a Business” (2014)
    Indianapolis, Indiana ranks #8.
    “Indianapolis sports a burgeoning start-up scene with an exceptionally low price tag. Not only does it offer affordable living costs, the Indiana capital's business costs are also low, at 3.8% below average, according to KPMG. Plus, the Tax Foundation ranks Indiana among the 10 states with the best business tax climate.”

  • 3

    Tax Foundation “2016 State Business Tax Climate Index”
    Indiana ranks #8 in the country.

  • 4

    Indiana Economic Development Corporation
    “The IEDC has many incentive programs available for companies creating jobs and raising income in Indiana. Economic development incentives include tax credits based on job creation and capital investment, training grants and public infrastructure assistance.”

  • 5

    Indiana Women’s Business Center
    “Indiana Women’s Business Center (CIWBC) is a cooperative program in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration designed to promote the creation and growth of businesses by women entrepreneurs by empowering them towards successful entrepreneurship and economic self-sufficiency.”

  • 6

    Business Ownership Initiative
    “The mission of BOI is to help people start and grow businesses and provide access to financing.”

  • 7

    Indiana Veteran’s Business Enterprises Program
    “Indiana's VBE Program provides additional economic opportunities by setting a goal of at least 3% of the state of Indiana’s competitive contracts for purchase of goods and services to Indiana veteran-owned businesses. The goal is to help men and women who return home after serving their country to start or expand their own business.”

  • 8

    Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises Division
    “The Minority and Women's Business Enterprises Division (MWBE) acts on behalf of the state of Indiana to actively promote, monitor and enforce the standards for certification of minority, women and veteran business enterprises.”

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