Should you structure your business to be a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation? Where should you incorporate? Learn more about the different structures and which is the right one for you right now.
Non-Profit vs. For-Profit
Are you considering starting a non-profit? Learn more about what is different and what is the same.
Availability of Name
You probably already have a business name in mind, but it may not be available. Find out whether or not your name is taken by checking the New York State Business Name Availability database.
Register Your Business Name
Registering your company name is an optional step that will help protect the identity of your business. It ensures that similar businesses types can’t register the same name. Registration fees vary based on your type of business, location, and number of employees.
The State of New York registers business entities. You can register online.
“Doing Business As” (DBA) Names
If you have chosen a name for your business that is not your legal name (ie “John Doe’s Shoe Repair”) you must, register your DBA with Onondaga County. At the time of this writing, it costs $30 for your DBA. You can print out the application yourself, or pay $1 for a copy at the County Clerk’s Office.
Applying for your DBA is the first piece of paperwork that most business owners will officially file. It's best to finish writing a business plan, planning your finances, and selecting a location before you file. The application isn't free and you'll have to file more paperwork if you want to change your name later.
Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
If you hire employees, you must apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number. If your business is a sole proprietorship, a FEIN may be helpful, but is not necessary.