A simple guide to starting a business

Step 1. Create a Business Plan

What is a business plan?
A business plan is a guide for your business that outlines your goals and details how you to plan to achieve them. Consider your business plan a “pitch” and keep it simple. The best business plans include:

  • A summary about your business
  • A company overview
  • Your products and/or services
  • Your target market
  • Marketing and/or sales plan
  • Milestones and metrics (how you will measure your success)
  • Organizational structure (who will perform what duties for your business)
  • Your financial plan (sales forecasts, profits and loss statements, cash flow statements)

Learn more about formulating your business plan.

Who can help?

The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut

Connecticut’s all-new digital front door designed to help business owners and entrepreneurs navigate the entire business lifecycle.

CT Small Business Development Council

SCORE Business Mentors

Women’s Business Development Council

Step 2. Get Business Training

There are many free training and counseling services available to help you get started with the details of owning and operating your new business. Use this step to make sure your business plan is solid, as well as learn the best ways to make sure your business is ready to grow in a healthy, sustainable manner.

Who can help?

Connecticut’s Small Business Development Centers (CTSBDC)
The CTSBDC provides free advising services to new and edxisting business owners. They offer customized advising, business education, and resources for Connecticut’s entrepreneurs. Email Matthew.Nemeth@UConn.edu or call (860) 701-9113 to learn how CTSBDC can help you.

Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut
The Chamber puts on many helpful business seminars for its members on topics ranging from workplace relationships to helping you understand the latest social media trends. These seminars are often free for members and just a few dollars for non-members. Find a seminar happening soon.

SCORE Business Mentors 

Women’s Business Development Council

Step 3. Choose a Business Location

Your location is one of the most critical factors that can make or break your business. Your business location must also comply with local zoning laws. If you don’t have a site selected, or want to make sure that your location is the best possible, consult one of the resources below.

Who can help?

Co-working spaces are available throughout the region, including:

Step 4. Finance Your Business

There are many ways to get the money you need to start your business. Use the links below to find government-backed loans, venture capital, and grants that will help fund your business.

Step 5. Determine Your Business' Legal Structure

There are many kinds of structures for your business, each with its own set of legal and tax responsibilities. Decide if you want to operate your business as:

  • A sole proprietorship
  • A partnership
  • A limited liability company (LLC)
  • A corporation
  • An S corporation
  • A non-profit business
  • A cooperative

Who can help?

Step 6. Register a Business Name

You will need to register your new business’ name with the Connecticut government – either with your local County Clerk or with the State of Connecticut, depending where your business is located.

Once your business is registered as “doing business as,” you can learn which tax identification number you will need from the IRS and the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. Your tax identification number will be important when it comes time to file your taxes with the State.

Who can help?

The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services’ handy online registration guide

Step 7. Register for State and Local Taxes

Once you have registered your business’ name, you will receive a tax identification number. This number will be used to determine what kinds of taxes your business will pay, and can also help determine tax savings that your business might enjoy. Visit this link (https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/filing-paying-taxes/determine-your-state-tax-obligations) to see tax information for doing business in the State of Connecticut.

Who can help?

The Small Business Administration has a breakdown of what taxes you can expect your business to pay.

ct.gov has quick links on how to register, and what to expect during the process.

Step 8. Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Your business will need various licenses and permits to do business in Connecticut, depending on the services you want to offer. Permits are required by both federal and state law. Visit the Small Business Administration’s list of required federal and state permits in the links below.

Step 9. Know Your Employer Responsibilties

There are some steps you will have to take in order to be able to legally hire employees for your new business. You will need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and set up records for withholding taxes, as well as be able to carry out the steps required to become an eligible employer in the United States.

Learn more about employer responsibilities at business.ct.gov.

Who can help?

The Small Business Administration has a step-by-step guide that shows you how to become legally authorized to hire employees for your business and operate within the guidelines established by state and federal law.

Step 10: Use Your Local Resources

Now that your business is established, you’ve hired your first employees, and are legally able to do business in Connecticut, you’ll need help making sure your business stays in its best shape. Use resources like your regional Chamber of Commerce or the Small Business Administration to learn how to best manage your business, meet fellow business owners, get introduced to new clients, learn better business practices, and much more.

Quick link resources

Connecticut’s all-new digital front door designed to help business owners and entrepreneurs navigate the entire business lifecycle

CT Small Business Development Council

Small Business Administration

CT Department of Economic & Community Development

SCORE Business Mentors

Women’s Business Development Council

Upcoming Chamber Workshops