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Starting a Business in Vermont

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 Vermont

    Vermont Business Facts

    At $35 billion, Vermont has the smallest economy in the U.S. Its five-year average unemployment rate of 2.9% was the fourth lowest among states. Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup in the country. Vermont is home to some of the most innovative companies in the world.

    Small business and Startup environment

    Vermont has 74,957 small businesses, according to the most current federal data available. Of those 74,957 small businesses in Vermont, 20,649 have employees. The remaining 54,308 are Vermont small businesses that have no employees.

    Vermont currently ranks No. 2 in the nation on the Kauffman Foundation’s 2016 Index of Main Street Entrepreneurship for Smaller States, up one place from 2015. There is a culture of dreaming big here, and innovative companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Keurig Green Mountain, Burton, and Vermont Teddy Bear Co. all got their start in the state.

    It’s no wonder: For entrepreneurs looking to master the work/life balance, Vermont may be the ideal place to get started. Thanks to the state’s collaborative tech community and world-class lifestyle amenities — from skiing and hiking to microbrewery and locavore scenes — entrepreneurs are increasingly deciding to grow their businesses in Vermont.

    Major companies:

    Vermont is home to large companies such as: University of Vermont, State of Vermont, Bruegger’sCasella Waste Systems, Killington Resort, Stratton Mountain, Mack Group, HUBER+SUHNER, PC Construction, GW Plastics

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    STEPS TO STARTING A BUSINESS IN Vermont

    Business Structure

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    Business Name

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    Business Registration

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    EIN Tax Number

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    Bank Account

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    Licenses & Permits

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    Branding & Marketing

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    Resources

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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.

    Resale license  

    Department of corporations 

    SBA Office 

    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 Vermont Businesses:

    Selling products? Check Vermont Resale Permit

    Business Licensing for the State of Vermont

    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:

    Join Local Networks

    Business & Entrepreneurship – Vermont Commission on Women  

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