Planning to start a small business in Mississippi, but not exactly sure where to start or what to do? Don’t fret. To help you out, we’ve listed some of the key steps you’ll need to do, so you can officially start operating your business in the beautiful Magnolia State.
Selecting a Business Structure
Your first big task in starting your business is choosing a legal business structure. It’s important that you take your time to carefully choose, because it will affect your business registration requirements, how much you pay in taxes, and your legal liability, as explained by Entrepreneur.
The most common business structures are:
• Sole proprietorship. It is an unincorporated business owned and operated by a single individual.
• Partnership. It is a structure owned by two or more individuals. There are two types of partnerships: a general partnership and a limited partnership.
• Limited liability company (LLC). It is a hybrid structure that may be owned by one or more persons (members). Check out the best LLC services from LLCBuddy
• Corporation. It is a large and complex organization that is owned by its stockholders.
Naming the Business
The next important step is to choose a name that not only represents your business but also distinguishes it from others. Your Mississippi-based business can’t have the same name as others in the state, which you can check with the Secretary of State (SOS) website. Furthermore, the official business name you register with the state needs to include an identifier. If you are registering as an LLC, your Mississippi LLC should include an identifier at the end or any variation of it. It can be LLC, Limited Liability Company, or L.L.C. Don’t worry if it makes your business’s name sound like a handful — you can clarify the name you want to operate as using a ‘Doing Business As’ (DBA). For example, business owner Jane Doe might file the DBA name “Doe Constructions” for her “Jane Doe LLC”.
Registering the Business
Once you’ve picked a business name, it’s time to make your business a distinct legal entity. Unlike other states, the Mississippi Secretary of State has asked all parties to submit their documentation online through their portal.
To form a sole proprietorship or a partnership, you aren’t required to file any legal documents. But, to form a limited liability partnership, you must file a Statement of Qualification with the SOS.
To form an LLC in Mississippi, you must file a certificate of formation with the SOS. You will also need to appoint a registered agent in Mississippi for service of process.
Finally, to form a corporation, the Articles of Incorporation need to be filed with the SOS. You will also need to appoint a registered agent in Mississippi for service of process.
Getting Federal Employer Identification Number
If you plan on hiring employees, you’ll need to get a federal tax ID number (FEIN or EIN) from the IRS. Your FEIN is like your Social Security Number for your company.
Obtaining a Business License
A business license authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Most, but not all, businesses in Mississippi require a business license to legally operate. The nature of Mississippi’s business licensing requirements is pretty complex, and as such it’s best to visit the SOS website to know whether your business needs a license or not. Remember to renew your business license each year to keep your company in good legal standing.
Setting Up an Office or Shop
If you’re going to have an office or shop, you’ll need to check local zoning regulations, and get an approval from the city zoning for your type of business in the location you’ve chosen.
Marketing the Business
Last but not least, is getting the word out about your business. As mentioned in ‘How Digital Marketing is Changing the Online Business’, marketing has been transformed by digitization. As such, it’s important for you to refine your approach with how you want to market and advertise your business. Mississippi is a place with astounding demographics, culture, and networks, so don’t just rely on the internet. Get out there, and start getting people hyped up about your opening day!