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Starting a Business in Kentucky

A complete step-by-step guide to start your business and get on the fast track to financial success.

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Doing Business In Kentucky

Business facts:

Kentucky’s economy —based on manufacturing, trade, mining, agriculture, and tourism and other services—varies by region.

Kentucky ranks third lowest in the nation for cost of doing business according to CNBC. Kentucky’s innovative and progressive tax incentive programs also provide the flexible financial assistance businesses need when locating, expanding or reinvesting in the state.

Small business

Kentucky has 317,115 small businesses, according to the most current federal data available. Of those 317,115 small businesses in Kentucky, 80,595 have employees. The remaining 236,520 are Kentucky small businesses that have no employees.  With organizations like UpTech, The Kentucky Innovation Network at Northern Kentucky, Bad Girl Ventures, CONNETIC Ventures, and bioLOGIC, Northern Kentucky is quickly becoming a hub for entrepreneurs. These groups are creating jobs, helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses across the region, providing low-cost office space, and connecting businesses with the capital to start and grow.

STEPS TO STARTING A BUSINESS IN Kentucky

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Step 1: Choose A Business Structure

The most common business structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and a few different types of corporations—the standard corporation (often called a C corporation or “C corp”), the small business corporation (often called an S corporation or “S corp”), and the benefit corporation (often called a B corporation or “B corp”).

The most common business structures are:

Step 2: Choose The Right Business Name

Choosing a business name is important, you want to make it easier for your customers to remember it, here are some tips:

  1. Avoid hard-to-spell names.
  2. Don’t pick a name that could be limiting as your business grows.
  3. Conduct a thorough Internet search.
  4. Search and purchase a domain name.
  5. Use a name that conveys some meaning.
  6. Conduct a trademark search.

Step 3: Register Your Business

Depending on the business structure you chose you will need to register your business.

Kentucky Resale license 

Kentucky Business Entity Search

Step 4: Obtain an EIN Tax Number

With limited exceptions, most businesses require an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Tax ID Number. An EIN is used to identify a business in its federal tax filings. Without an EIN, you can’t hire employees or open a business bank account.

Click Here to Apply for EIN number online

Step 5: Open A Bank Account

– Open a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company’s assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

– Get a business credit card:

  • Helps you separate personal and business expenses.
  • Builds your company’s credit history, which can be useful to raise capital later on.

Step 6: Licenses & Permits

Now that you’ve registered your business name you need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).

Here are some links for Kentucky Businesses:

Selling products? Check Kentucky Resale Permit

Business Licensing for the State of Kentucky

Step 7: Branding & Marketing

Your brand is the image customers have of your business, so it’s important to determine who is your audience and what is the message that you want to project. That way, your company’s image will be what you intend it to be. It should be strategic and intentional.

Step 8: Establish a Web Presence

Creating an optimized website helps you to gain important visibility for the right terms. A website is a powerful sales tool and one that allows you to address your customers’ concerns, give them the information they need to make a decision and create compelling calls to action.

In addition to a website, you should also consider other avenues for promoting your business online:

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