It can be difficult to start a business in Alabama, let alone grow it into a large enterprise. You’ll need to create a business plan and decide on a structure for your business (LLC, corporation, limited liability company, etc.). Choose a business name.
These are all important decisions that require a lot of thought. Our six-step guide can help you get started. Follow our steps to make your business idea a success. If you to form an LLC you should visit our list of the best LLC services.
1. Create a business plan
This is where everything starts. You will need a business plan before you can choose a business structure or name your business. The business plan will detail what you have to do in order to get your business started. It is essential that any lender or investor considering investing in your business sees it. A business plan can also help you get the best chance for success.
Alabama requires business plans
Alabama does not require business owners to create a business plan. However, it can give you an advantage in the way you manage your business. There might be some questions you have about how to do this. The following will help you if you have never owned an Alabama company before.
An executive summary
This provides a high-level overview about your new business, its marketing plan and final goals.
The company’s complete description
Here you can explain your business idea and solve the problems. Your “SMART” goals are specific, measurable and achievable. They should also be timely.
A market analysis
You can list your top competitors and the customers that you will serve.
Your products and/or service offerings
These things can be tailored to meet the needs and expectations of your customers.
Give a breakdown of who will be responsible for what part of your business operations.
Your marketing plan
Describe how you intend to promote your business, and what marketing activities you will be engaging in.
Do a realistic assessment about the costs of running your business.
2: Select a business structure
To structure your business, you can choose from a variety of business entities.
Sole proprietorships are the simplest form of business entity but come with the greatest personal liability. This setup allows for no separation of the owner and business. You, the owner, are personally responsible for any business losses. Personal assets are not protected as with other business structures.
Corporations and LLCs
Corporations, and limited liability companies ( LLCs), can help you separate your business finances and personal assets. LLCs are simpler to create and maintain. They also provide personal asset protection and avoid double taxation. However, they are more difficult to transfer and offer less liability protection than corporations. Choose the business entity that suits your needs best.
Start Your Alabama LLC/Corporation
No matter what business structure you choose, your Alabama Secretary of State must register your company. But we can help! You can start your company with our formation services in just minutes. We can help you create an Alabama company or Alabama LLC.
3. Determine your business’s costs
You need to determine how much money it will cost before you start your business. The most difficult part of starting a business is paying the startup expenses. It is important to understand both one-time and ongoing expenses. This is the only way you can determine how much money it will take to make a profit.
This can be made easier by breaking down your expenses into their respective categories. To map your cash flow, estimate the following expenses:
- One-time startup expenses: This includes the cost of registering your company, choosing your business structure and purchasing equipment.
- Fixed expenses: This includes rent, insurance, employee comp, retirement plan contributions and other expenses that recur regularly.
- Variable costs: This includes employee compensation, cost for raw materials and other changing expenses.
4. Choose a business name
One of the most enjoyable parts of starting your business is choosing a business name. Your first and last names may be included in the business name. You might also want to use a different name. Ask your family and friends for suggestions. People will remember a catchy name better than a generic one. It should be easy to remember and not already used.
To find out if the name you have chosen is already taken, consult your local business registration agency. You can check with the Alabama Secretary of State to see if your business name has been taken. After you have found the name you like, it is time to claim it. For $25, you can make that claim on the Alabama name reservation webpage.
Are you looking for a DBA?
A “doing business under” ( DBA ) name may be a good choice for your business. DBAs are commonly used if you are a sole proprietorship, general partnership, or other business type that is legally required to operate under your name (Bob Gilbert), unless you use a DBA.
DBAs are also useful for corporations and LLCs that want to operate under a different legal name than their actual business name. You might run a fishing guide business that rents hunting cabins.
Once you have settled on a name, you can claim it online for email and website purposes. Here are the steps to register your domain. Social media handles such as Facebook and Twitter will also be claimed.
5: Register your company and open financial accounts
Apply for an Employer Identification Number
You can register your Alabama business online. You will need an EIN if you are not a sole proprietor. EINs are required in most states to open a bank account for your business or hire employees. If you are a new business owner, you can visit our EIN Service or the EIN Application Page on the IRS Website.
Register for a Business Bank Account
Your EIN will be used as your tax ID to file business tax returns and open financial accounts . You should consider opening a business bank account because it allows you to separate your personal and professional finances. This will make it easier for you to manage your taxes. The separate accounts will allow you to better track both your personal and business expenses. can assist you in banking services with our service. A business credit card is also available for small purchases and credit building. An EIN can make it easier for small businesses to get loans.
Alabama Business Licenses and Permits
Atlas Alabama can help you find the necessary permits and business licenses for your company in Alabama. An Alabama business insurance agent can help you determine the type of insurance that you need. You can also find many resources on the Alabama Chamber of Commerce website that will help you start your business.
6: Advertise your Alabama business
Online presence is as important in today’s market as traditional advertising. Customers will find your company easier when you optimize your website for search engines.
To increase your online presence, you can either create a strategy or hire someone to do it. LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram are great places to establish a strong online presence.
For more information on marketing your Alabama business, you can visit Alabama’s Small Business Development Center Network website. If you are looking for new markets, the SBDC can help. The website offers many other services, such as identifying financing opportunities for startups and providing information about how to finance them.
Alabama’s Best Businesses to Start
Alabama has many industries. Alabama has many healthy industries, including tourism, banking, electronics, livestock farming and construction. You can also start low-cost businesses such as cleaning, candy making, catering and cleaning from your home.
Review your skills to determine which type of Alabama business you want to open. Are they able to be turned into a profitable business model? A catering business might be a good fit for you if you are passionate about cooking.
Alabama’s small businesses are overwhelmingly sole proprietorships (239,614). The largest percentage of Alabama’s small-business workforce is made up of firms with between 20 and 99 employees. Women own about 30% of small businesses in Alabama. The state also has 46,916 self employed workers who are part of a minority.
Alabama Business Openings: Benefits
Alabama offers a variety of tax credits to encourage the growth of small businesses. These credits are intended to assist entrepreneurs in defraying startup costs. Small businesses have many financial incentives in Alabama, including tax abatements, Enterprise Zone credit, investment credit and the Railroad Modernization Act of 2019.
Startups can take advantage of tax breaks to reduce income tax, business privilege, and property taxes. The state’s property tax is 0.333%, which is the third lowest in the United States.
Disclaimer: This page contains information only and is not intended to be used as legal, tax, accounting or other advice. Ask a licensed professional if you have any questions.
Alabama Business FAQs
- What is the cost of starting a business in Alabama? Alabama’s business costs vary depending on the type of business. However, you can register an Alabama LLC for $100 by paying the state filing fee. You can find information on the Alabama Secretary of State website about the costs involved in starting an LLC.
- What are the best cities to start a business? Athens and Meridianville are some of the top cities in Alabama to open a business. Lendedu.com conducted research on more than 500 Alabama towns. They used three main criteria: population, income and expenses.
- Which city is the most affordable to start a business? Although there isn’t one city that’s the cheapest to open a business here, Headland and Southside have been listed among the three most affordable cities in the state. This could mean that labor costs may be lower in these cities, as well as the possibility of cheaper labor.
- Alabama’s state and business tax regulations make it mandatory to start an LLC? The FAQ page of the Alabama Department of Revenue explains the Business Privilege tax that LLCs must pay, and other taxes.
Brian Wilson is the content manager and founder of LLC Radar.
Brian grew up in North Texas, just outside of Dallas, and has a bachelor’s degree in business journalism from Southern Methodist University. Since graduating from SMU, Brian has gained over 10 years of experience in business writing for several online publications.
Brian resides in Plano, Texas and he can be reached by email: email@example.com