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Starting a Business in Louisiana

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 Louisiana

Business facts:

Louisiana business is booming, and businesses themselves are primed for global expansion. Since 2008, Louisiana has been home to economic development projects responsible for the creation of more than 63,000 jobs and more than $28 billion in new capital investments. 

Home to some of the busiest ports in the U.S. and the largest port district in the Western Hemisphere with more than 30 individual deep and shallow water ports and related infrastructure, international trade is abundantly available to businesses in Louisiana. Being close to the Mississippi River provides Louisiana with many shipping opportunities. 

Louisiana is home to strong traditional industries, such as oil and gas, petrochemicals and shipbuilding, as well as newer growth industries with strong foundations in technology, research and coastal restoration. Each of these industries are key to Louisiana trade.

Small business and Startup environment

Louisiana has 347,436 small businesses, according to the most current federal data available. Of those 347,436 small businesses in Louisiana, 93,742 have employees. The remaining 253,694 are Louisiana small businesses that have no employees.

The Louisiana Business Incubation Association (LBIA) is a state association of business incubators and their supporters. LBIA was established to promote alliances among incubators, governmental agencies, and professional economic developers in order to promote the growth and diversification of our state’s businesses and economy. The National Business Incubation Association estimates that in 2005 alone, North American incubators assisted more than 27,000 start-up companies that provided full-time employment for more than 100,000 workers and generated annual revenue of more than $17 billion.  The business incubators that are members of LBIA provide a comprehensive program of business services and guidance targeted to the needs of start-up and fledgling companies to speed them to market and increase their chances for success. Louisiana’s incubators help diversify the state’s economy by growing and strengthening small businesses.

STEPS TO STARTING A BUSINESS IN LOUISIANA

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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.

Louisiana Resale license 

Louisiana 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 Louisiana Businesses:

Selling products? Check Louisiana Resale Permit

Business Licensing for the State of Louisiana

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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