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Start Your Business

How to Start a Retail Business

Ensure you have the required licenses and legal protections.

Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation


The sky's the limit for any entrepreneur who decides to open a retail company! Retailers can sell anything from clothes to cupcakes to auto parts or pet supplies in their storefronts. And speaking of storefronts, there are more options now than ever before that go beyond brick and mortar.

You could open for business at pop-up shops, food trucks, and eCommerce sites. There are also plenty of entities you can incorporate your new business as and permits and business licenses you'll need to obtain to remain in compliance. After deciding on your unique proposition and the best location to open your business, then you can pick a legal structure to incorporate your business.

What's the Best Entity to Form?

If you want to run the business from home... form a sole proprietorship. This entity is easy to form and great for anyone who can offer services from home, like through a website, and doesn't need a physical storefront. However, as a sole proprietor, you are still liable for everything that happens with the business since it's not a separate entity.

Should you choose to expand your business, its line of credit, or reach out to potential investors; all eyes will be on your credit history and not the history of the business because it doesn't have one of its own. And remember that even if you're running your business from your garage, you will also need to apply for a basic business license and pay a fee.

If you're planning to open a retail store, food truck, or pop-up shop... form an llc. An LLC will keep your professional and personal assets separate and give you extra liability protection. If you only plan on opening one store especially, you can save on taxes with an LLC while still establishing credibility with consumers. You will also need to apply for a Sales and Tax permit per tax obligations in your city, county, or state.

If you want to branch out beyond one storefront... Form a Corporation. If you've got big plans for your business, then a Corporation will allow you to still keep your personal assets separate from those of the business while enabling your business to accept money from investors.

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