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Legal Help in Getting Started!

I am looking to launch a clothing line in South Florida! I am going to start with T-shirts and eventually add products to the line over time. I am wondering what steps are crucial in getting my business off the ground. -What is the best legal structure for my venture? -Should I patent/trademark my logo and business name? -What documents are required for me to begin selling? (DBA, Permits, License, Tax documents etc.) -What order should I file in?

Please, anything helps!

Thank you for your time :D -Craig

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3 answers

Hello Craig,

Registering a business in your state and then with the IRS requires that you complete an application for articles of incorporation with Florida and once you have those, registration with the IRS. There are various forms of incorporation that you will see at the Florida :Secretary of State web site. The run the gamut from single person sole professorships to partnerships, stock corporations and others. Limited Liability Companies are also a form of incorporation and considering your profile, probably your best choice. You can set up an LLC yourself on-line. It will separate your personal assets from your company assets and protect them. When you sell a product or services and begin generating revenue an LLC has many tax advantages. You can register it as Sub Chapter 'S' for tax purposes and pass the revenue and the expenses through to your personal tax returns, paying no taxes as a company. You thus avoid the double taxation issue prevalent with many of the other types of incorporation. An LLC limits your personal liability for debt and some court judgments that may not fall in your favor. A sole proprietorship does not offer such protection. Representing yourself as a company allows you to pursue financing as an enterprise. I am sure you can think of a creative name for your LLC and you can complete the articles of incorporation necessary to bring your enterprise into existence. The term, "LLC" must conclude the name of your company if you decide to form such an organization. You must also register federally with the IRS. You will receive state and federal tax and employer identification numbers by registering your business. You can download free instructions on forming an LLC in Florida from the web site I maintain as an extension of my volunteer work. Your profile also indicates a concern about intellectual property and NDA's. Please see the "References" cube in the right margin of my web site to download the free LLC instructions for your use. The site is: * * A DBA is usually the last in the sequence of activity just before you launch. Go to the city, or county web site in which you reside and look under "Business" or "Doing Business". All the above are simple mechanics become a business entity. The real meat of the matter of course is a business plan. Evolve your plan as you continue working for your current employer. Give your start up idea the following test: 1. Do you have a product or service niche in mind? 2. Do you believe you have a market for 1 above and the means to reach it? 3. Are you willing to develop a business plan using the link below to validate 1 and 2 above before you launch? If the answer to the above questions is yes than take the actions indicated, observe the results, then make an informed decision on whether or not to proceed. * When you launch if your plan risk analysis indicates high early challenges, phase into them gradually while retaining your present employment. As the business matures and your risks are mitigated, cut over to full time and resign your old position when you are comfortable doing so. Best wishes with your registration and planning!

Report Kenneth's answer

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In case you are still looking for answers, allow me to give you some very succinct answers.

  1. In order to protect yourself from any personal liability, you definitely should form an entity to operate the business through, and then operate the business solely through that entity. In order words, have a business bank account and have all receipts and expenses of the entity flow through that bank account. For most people, particular those who are new to business, an LLC is the best choice (except in a few states like Texas where the LLC is subject to additional taxes).
  2. The entity will need to be formed with the Secretary of State. You may want to get a taxpayer identification number for the entity, even if you are the only owner. If there is another other, you must obtain a taxpayer identification for the entity. You would also need to register with the state.
  3. For business licenses, it depends entirely in the type of business and the location of the business. Businesses that sell items that are subject to sales tax or will have employees will need to register with the state and with the federal government as being responsible for collecting taxes and sending them to the government. In addition, depending on the type of business, a state license may be required. Also, some cities and counties may require a business license. It depends on where you want to locate. If you want to follow up with me, you can email me at

Report Jeff's answer

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Kenneth and Jeff,

I appreciate both of your responses and they have provided me with so much valuable information! I have registered my LLC and am finishing up my B.S. degree this month! Once I have that knocked out I can continue building my business! I will reach out to you both soon with some questions that I have! I appreciate you both for taking the time to assist me!


Report Craig's answer

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