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How to Start a Business in Washington State: 6 Simple Steps

Are you planning on opening a business in Washington?

If so, congratulations!

Opening a new business is a massive undertaking. As an industry-leading point of sale (POS) system provider, we’ve worked alongside business owners and managers just like you, and we know how difficult it can be to launch and manage a successful business in the Evergreen State.

We’ve followed the path that all successful business owners take, especially during the early stages of growth. And over time, we’ve seen our fair share of businesses scale to amazing heights!

So what does your business need to do to achieve similar results?

In this article, we’ll break down the first four steps you need to take to start a business in Washington. Use the expert insights found in this article to launch a high-growth and thriving business. 

How to Start a Business in Washington

Before we begin, we should note that Washington is a fantastic place to open a new business. In fact, recent data suggests that Washington is ranked 1st for overall quality of life in the US. Additionally, Washington scores as the 4th strongest economy and 6th for fiscal stability.


There’s more than one great reason to open a business in Washington!

Here are the steps that you should follow to start a business in Washington.

1. Select a Profitable Business Location

Start by selecting a profitable business location. There are a number of factors that affect a business location’s profitability, including walkability, parking, advertising space, surrounding stores, and more. 

You’ll also want to consider the total cost of the business location.

“Of course, one of your major priorities will be finding a location that fits within your company’s budget. However, that’s not all you need to examine when it comes to money. There are often other location-specific costs to consider beyond the purchase price or monthly rent,” recommends NerdWallet.

There are many costs to consider here, including taxes, renovations, and wage requirements. It’s wise to prioritize business locations that are within your monthly or annual budget.

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2. Secure Business Permits and Licenses

Next, secure the appropriate business permits and licenses. Depending on the type of business you plan on opening, you may be required to obtain hyper-specific permits and licenses. For example, liquor stores are required, by law, to obtain a liquor license well in advance of opening. 

Here are the basic permits/licenses that you’ll need to secure:

  • General Business Permits
  • Hazard and Property Permits
  • Zoning Permits
  • Contractor Licenses

We recommend consulting the Washington State Department of Revenue’s Business Licensing Wizard for a complete list of business permits/licenses required for your unique business and industry.

RELATED READING: How to Apply for a Liquor License in 5 Easy Steps

3. Create a Business Bank Account

Next, open a business bank account.

It’s a relatively straightforward and simple process that pays massive dividends for your business!

As a best practice, business owners and managers must separate their personal and business finances. A business bank account also helps teams stay compliant and protected. Additionally, there are a few benefits that a business bank account extends to prospects and customers.

First, you must select a bank. We recommend contacting your local branch for additional information. In most cases, the bank will ask for some basic information, including your employer identification number (EIN), business formation documents, ownership agreements, and business license.

4. Apply for Special Programs

Next, apply for special programs. Washington offers a wide variety of special programs that offer attractive benefits and incentives for first-time owners.

Here is a list of the top special programs in Washington:

RELATED READING: Why Small Businesses Fail: 3 Top Factors

5. Hire and Train Your Workforce

Next, hire and train your workforce. 

Again, the Washington Customized Employment Training Program is a fantastic resource for first-time business owners. Enrollment and completion of this program grants owners an attractive tax credit.

“The Washington Customized Training Program enhances the growth of Washington’s economy, increases employment opportunities, and adds to the state’s quality of life. And it might be just what your company needs to grow its most valuable asset: employees,” recommends the CTP.

6. Invest in a Modern Point of Sale System

Finally, invest in a modern POS system. There are a ton of best-in-class POS systems for small businesses, each with their own unique features and benefits.

However, we should note that most POS system providers on the market today overcharge and underdeliver. By that, we mean that most providers don’t equip you and your team with the right features to really succeed in your industry. If you invest in the wrong solution, you could end up wasting hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on a solution that just doesn’t work.

POS Nation offers a complete POS system designed for convenience stores, liquor stores, tobacco shops, and many other retailers. Our system is tailor-made for your unique business/industry, offering the exact features you need.


RELATED READING: 3 Steps to Find the Best POS System for Retail

POS Nation Powers Businesses in Washington

Does POS Nation make sense for your unique business? To find out, we’ve created a simple guide: The Retail POS System Buyers’ Guide

Whether you decide to do business with POS Nation or another POS system vendor, this guide will equip you with all the questions that you need to ask prospective providers. From hardware to software, this guide covers all the mission-critical elements you need in a next-generation POS System.

“POS Nation was my first POS system. The software is extremely user-friendly and intuitive. The customer service and tech support are superb and the team clearly understands customer excellence” - Trustpilot review.

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