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How to Open a Business in Florida: 8 Simple Steps

Are you opening a new business in the Sunshine State? Florida is known for its beautiful beaches, delicious oranges, and booming economy! 

To position your new business for massive success (and incredible profits), you need to follow a proven growth strategy. Fortunately, as an industry-leading point of sale (POS) provider, we’ve worked with plenty of high-growth companies. It’s this insider intelligence that has positioned us as the go-to resource for business success.

Without a solid growth strategy in place, your business will almost assuredly fail. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail!

In this article, we’ll cover all the steps you need to follow to open a business in Florida. Use these expert insights to build a highly successful and lucrative retail shop, tobacco shop, or liquor store. Are you ready to begin?

How to Open a Business in Florida: 8 Simple Steps

Did you know that the total population of Florida is growing at double the rate compared to the rest of the United States? Florida is a haven for aspiring business owners.

The first few months after launching your business are the most crucial. Of course, we want you to be successful, but we have to be frank with you…

Most small business owners are destined to fail.

Many business owners lack the key business intelligence needed to launch and scale successfully. POS Nation offers the tools you need to streamline business operations, improve payment processing, and master inventory management. In fact, we’ve helped teams process more than $2 billion in merchandise nationwide!

Beyond investing in a results-driven POS system, here are the mission-critical steps that you need to follow to open a business in Florida.

1. Draft a Business Plan

Drafting a business plan should be your number one priority. The business plan serves as a rudimentary roadmap through all phases of growth. This document should account for your organization’s unique growth goals, milestones, and strategic plans.

Be sure to include the following elements inside your business plan:

  • Executive summary
  • Company details
  • Competitor analysis
  • Marketing strategies
  • Sales strategies
  • Sales projections

Your business plan must also be updated to include changes to your business. Simple pivots or changes to your marketing plan have huge ramifications for the future success of your small business.

2. Register the Business

Next, register your business. Unfortunately, this process is full of red tape. However, it’s an essential step that all business owners must follow leading up to launch.

What type of business are you planning on launching? Start by drafting articles of incorporation and LLC filing information. This documentation can be submitted to Florida’s Division of Corporations.

Once approved, you can register a business name. This is an optional but recommended step, especially if you’re opening a business under a fictitious name or DBA.

Other than registering your business with the state department, you should also check what your county requirements are and what is required by the IRS, such as your EIN application. These requirements may depend on the type of business you’re launching, so we recommend visiting a local accountant who has experience with your industry.

3. Obtain Business Permits and Licenses

There’s a ton of varying information related to business permits and licenses. The permits and licenses that you need depend on the type of business that you’re opening, as well as the location of the business. Each county and municipality has different requirements and regulations. However, there are several standard permits that all business owners must obtain from outset. 

The most common licenses and permits that you should look up locally include:

  • Alarm Permit
  • Building Permit
  • General Business and Tax Permit
  • Health and Safety Permit
  • Occupational Permit
  • Signage Permit
  • Zoning Permit

If you’re opening a liquor store or tobacco shop, there are several specialized permits that you’ll need. Unfortunately, obtaining these specialized permits can take months or even years. We recommend securing permits and licenses well ahead of the official launch of your new business.

4. Register for Florida’s New Hire Program

According to Florida’s state and federal law (409.2576, Florida Statutes and 42 United States Code 653A), there are certain regulations that businesses need to abide by during the hiring process. Within 20 days of hiring an employee, you must report their information to the Florida New Hire Reporting Center. This applies to any employee, whether they are a brand new hire or a re-hired team member. 

This New Hire Reporting Program is designed to aid in the accurate collection of child support payments and prevent unemployment and workers’ compensation fraud. The information needed for filing a report includes your FEIN, business name and address, your employee’s name, address, social security number, and date of hire. The only exceptions to this law are temporary employees hired from a “temp” agency and independent contractors.

Retail POS System Buyers Guide

5. Check Qualification for Incentive Programs

Florida is known for its “pro-business” policies and programs, which is a major advantage to your business.

There are several programs your business may qualify for, including:

  • Urban Incentives
  • Statewide Incentives
  • Special Incentives
  • High Impact Performance Incentive
  • Capital Investment Tax Credit

Urban Incentives

When considering a business location, we recommend checking out the benefits that Florida provides to urban community business owners. Specifically, in the southeastern part of Florida, there are certain institutions designed to help redevelop and revitalize urban communities. In addition to institutional resources, you may also qualify for financial assistance, such as the Front Porch Florida Micro Loan Progam

Statewide Incentives

No matter your business location or sector, you’re able to apply to these statewide incentives in Florida. Incentive examples include expedited permitting applications, Quick Response Training, Incumbent Worker Training, and Incentive Wage Requirements.

Rural - Special Incentives

There are special incentives that certain businesses can receive based on the specialized needs provided to rural communities. These incentives include the Brownfield Redevelopment Bonus Refund, Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, and Rural Infrastructure Fund. If approved, your business would receive up to $2,500 in tax refunds for every job your business creates.

Corporate - High Impact Performance Incentive

The High Impact Performance Incentive (HIPI) is a grant program that works with the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to attract high-impact business into Florida. Your business must be in a qualifying field such as financial services, life sciences, corporate headquarters, and more. Your business must also create at least 50 new full-time jobs within a three-year period and make investments of $50 million at minimum.

Corporate - Capital Investment Tax Credit

The Capital Investment Tax Credit is an annual credit that maxes out 20 years from your acceptance date. This tax credit is advantageous for corporate income tax and has certain project requirements. Your company must create at least 100 jobs and invest at least $25 million in qualified capital costs. Only certain sectors qualify for this tax credit, including advanced manufacturing, clean energy, biomedical technology, and more.

6. Secure a Business Bank Account

Even though figuring out your business banking isn’t the most exciting “check” off of your to-do list, it will come in handy when tax time comes around. Best practices for business banking recommends keeping your business and personal expenses separate. Many businesses also maintain a certain amount of money in business bank accounts and opt-in for a business line of credit.

7. Build and Activate Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan is the secret sauce to your business’ success. Even if you build an incredible business with high-quality products and services, if no one is coming through your doors, it’s impossible to sustain business operations. 

Some elements you should include in your marketing plan include:

  • Marketing and sales goals or milestones
  • Advertising planning and budget
  • Target market and demographic information
  • Marketing strategies and tactics
  • Key staff and stakeholders for marketing and advertising content
  • Special promotions or customer loyalty programs

Updating and keeping up with your marketing plan is also a crucial part of your continued success. After you launch your business, try hosting quarterly meetings with key staff and stakeholders to catch up on your goals and milestones and update any necessary information in your marketing plan.

8. Inventory and POS System Setup

Maintaining and properly managing your business’ inventory is crucial to your operational management. A key solution to inventory management and payment processing is your POS system.

Some business owners come to us after launching their business. This is a total misstep! Starting off on the right foot with a high-value POS system is the best way to ensure rapid and sustained small business success. Our POS system comes equipped with powerful age verification features for ID checks, marketing and promotions tools, and amazing inventory management tools.

The POS System Your New Business Needs

Now that you know how to open a business in Florida, it’s time to take the next step.

If you haven’t already invested in a POS system, consider this a sign. With so many solutions providers out there, narrowing in on the best POS system for your business is easier said than done – we get it!

Fortunately, we’ve created a Retail POS System Buyers’ Guide to help you get started on the right foot. This is an ideal resource for first-time business owners and managers interested in leveling up their point of sale, marketing, and inventory management capabilities.

In this guide, we’ve documented the step-by-step procedures new business owners need to follow to find a best-in-class POS system design to help teams reel in and retain happy, high-paying customers.

Retail POS System Buyers Guide


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