How To Start & Grow Your Business

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How to Start a Business in New York

Want to start a new business in the state of New York, but don’t know where to begin? You’re in good hands!

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Entrepreneurs abound in New York, where small businesses make up 98% of all state businesses, according to the Empire State Development. And U.S. Census Bureau data show revenue for New York-based businesses is high — an average of over $1.1 million a year. Though the high taxes and high cost of living is a challenge for business owners, “The Empire State” has contributed several state-funded resources, such as the Business First Resource Center, and Start-Up NY, which provides ten years of tax-free operations for new and expanding businesses. And, as a place to live, let’s not forget to mention New York City — the world famous, 24-hour melting pot of culture, theater, music, and nightlife — all within walking distance (or subway distance).

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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 New York

  • Phone Numbers

    Voice: 518-473-2492 (Dept. of State)
  • New York Business Incubators http://bianys.com

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Fun facts about starting a business in New York

Famous business founded in New York IBM

IBM is multinational technology and consulting corporation, with corporate headquarters in Armonk, New York. IBM was founded in Endicott, New York, in 1911. It manufactures and markets computer hardware/ software, and offers infrastructure, hosting, and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology.

Famous entrepreneur born in New York Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg (born in 1984) is an American computer programmer, Internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist born in White Plains, New York. He is the chairman, chief executive, and co-founder of Facebook. His net worth is estimated to be $46 billion as of December 2015. Since 2010, Time magazine has named Zuckerberg among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world as a part of its Person of the Year distinction.

On starting Facebook:

“I started the site when I was 19. I didn’t know much about business back then.”

Mark Zuckerberg
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Which type of legal structure is best for my business in New York?

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

Here are 5 helpful steps to determine what is 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 New York.
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 New York:

  • Step 1 — Give your LLC a name.
  • Step 2 — File Articles of Organization.
  • Step 3 — Find 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 — Annual Reports -- not required in New York.
  • Step 8 — Register foreign LLCs doing business in New York.

For help forming your LLC in New York we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Or, you can visit the New York Department of State website.

Other New York resources for LLCs:

Department of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your LLC name here.
File your “Application for Reservation of Name” here.
File your “Articles of Organization” here.
Publication Requirements: You must file a “Certificate of Publication.”

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.

Business Licenses and Permits: Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to obtain a license or permit. Search this site for more information.

New York Department of Taxation and Finance: Register here to report and pay employment taxes, if you hire employees.
File your annual state filing fee (Form IT-204-LL) 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 New York:

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

For help forming your sole proprietorship in New York we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively, you can visit the New York Department of State website.

Other New York resources for Sole Proprietorship:

Department of State Business Name Search: 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.
Business Licenses and Permits: Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to obtain a license or permit. Search this site for more information.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your sole proprietorship here. If you hire employees, you will need an EIN.
New York Department of Taxation and Revenue: Register here to report and pay employment taxes, if you will hire employees.

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 New York:

  • Step 1 — Choose a business name.
  • Step 2 — File a fictitious business name.
  • Step 3 — Create 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 New York we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively, you can visit the New York Department of State website.

Other New York resources for Partnership:

Department of State Business Name Search: 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.

Business Licenses and Permits: Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to obtain a license or permit. Search this site for more information.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your partnership here. Partnerships must have an EIN, whether you have employees or not.
New York Department of Taxation and Revenue: Register here to report and pay employment taxes, if you will hire employees.

S 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 S Corporation in New York:

  • Step 1 — Choose a corporate name.
  • 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 New York Biennial Statement requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in New York.

For help forming your C corporation in New York we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively visit the New York Department of State website.

Other New York resources for S Corporation:

Department of State Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your “Application for Reservation of Name” here.
File your “Certificate of Incorporation” here.

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

New York Department of Taxation and Finance: Register here to fulfill corporate tax requirements.
Business Licenses and Permits: Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to obtain a license or permit. Search this site for more information.

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 New York:

  • Step 1 — Choose a corporate name.
  • 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 New York Biennial Statement requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in New York.

For help forming your C corporation in New York we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively visit the New York Department of State website.

Other New York resources for C Corporation:

Department of State Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your “Application for Reservation of Name” here.
File your “Certificate of Incorporation” here.

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

New York Department of Taxation and Finance: Register here to fulfill corporate tax requirements.

Business Licenses and Permits: Depending on the nature of your business, you may be required to obtain a license or permit. Search this site for more information.

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Why choose New York for my business?

  • 1

    Startup NY
    “START-UP NY offers new and expanding businesses the opportunity to operate tax-free for 10 years on or near eligible university or college campuses in New York State. Partnering with these schools gives businesses direct access to advanced research laboratories, development resources and experts in key industries.”

  • 2

    New York Tax and Incentives
    “New York State now has one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the Northeast. In addition to lower corporate taxes, New York offers a variety of incentives to companies expanding or relocating in the Empire State.”

  • 3

    Business First Resource Center
    “Business First is a business-focused portal to the wealth of incentives, programs and resources available to companies – large and small – within New York State and those that choose to relocate here.”

  • 4

    Small Business Development Center: Minority and Women Entrepreneurs Resources
    “The SBDC provides services to all small business populations, including special emphasis groups such as women, minorities, Native Americans, 8(a) firms in all stages, veterans and service-connected disabled veterans, reservists called to active duty, people with disabilities, individuals currently and formerly receiving public assistance, individuals in low-and moderate-income urban and rural areas, and individuals located in Empowerment Zones and HUB Zones.”

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