Arizona is one of the hottest places to start a business right now. You might be an onlooker searching for the perfect spot to run and register your new business, or you might be an Arizona resident looking to show your neighbors what you can do.
WalletHub recently listed Arizona among the top 10 best places to start a small business, so if you’re looking for a good place look no further. If you’ve been born there, consider it a sign. Let’s see what some local laws and regulations are to get you started.
Choosing an Entity
First thing’s first, you’ll have to choose your business entity. It’s a choice that will impact a lot of legal and tax issues so you better do your homework. You’ve got 3 options: A Sole Proprietorship, a Limited Liability Company (LLC), and a Corporation.
They each come with their own set of pros and cons, so a consulting agency or proper research could help a lot when deciding what is best for you. In short, Sole Proprietorship pretty much equates you to your business and makes you the same legal entity, which means your personal and business assets are the same when it comes to taxes. It’s optimal for a one-man-show, so if you’re a freelancer working from home you probably won’t have to look further. LLC isn’t for the lone wolves and offers some advantages including liability protections. This means you’re not the same entity as your company and if it gets in trouble it won’t drag you with it.
Lastly, a Corporation is the best option if you have big expansion plans in the future. However, thread carefully, and only if you’re serious about it because the paperwork necessary will definitely require some expert help.
Choosing and Registering a Name
Next in line is choosing the right name and registering it. This will depend on the type of entity you decided to go with, and you need to do some digging to make sure no one used that name to avoid legal trouble. This is where some local institutions come in. Doing an entity search on Arizona Corporation Commission is the best way to ensure your name is available. If you’re planning to make a website for your business, which is advisable in most circumstances, make sure you also double-check if the domain is available as well.
If you choose to go with LLC as your entity, your business name will have to end with LLC, and if you opted for running a corporate empire you’d also have to disclose it in the name by including some legal terms like inc. corp. and ltd.
Finding a Way to Stand Out
Finding a unique name isn’t the only authenticity move you’ll have to worry about. In today’s market, it’s very important to stand out from the crowd and avoid being samey, but this will all depend on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re in a corporate world, blending in and avoiding extravagance is probably your best bet. But there are subtle ways to stand out and draw attention to yourself and your business and fit in at the same time. For a corporate design, you can always add a dash of bold color or sparkles to your typical default blues and greys. Fashion-wise you don’t have to look like Lady Gaga for someone to pay attention.
If you’re in retail, finding a way to make your brand design consistent throughout the store will result in returning customers. One way to do this is to use the same color scheme in your shop and your logo. For luxury brands, the key is to hit that sweet spot between authenticity and safety. You definitely want to be subtle, but also memorable. In this case, a good, recognizable logo does the trick. The Estate Watch And Jewelry Company from Scottsdale, Phoenix area is a prime example of a unique yet balanced design that screams luxury, but not too loudly. Their logo is memorable enough for the uniform colors to fill the rest of the space inside the store. They buy and sell watches, jewelry, and gold, and the warm, yellow tone effectively communicates what they’re all about.
Funding is probably Arizona’s strongest asset and the reason people are choosing to run their business there. In 2021 American Rescue Plan Act allocated 8 million dollars to help small businesses recover from the pandemic-induced crisis. The result was PHXbizGrants, a program developed by the Phoenix City Council that now grants up to 15K to each new business for deductible expenses. Not bad. When it comes to loans the rules are pretty much the same in every state, which means you’re at the mercy of your own bank. An SBA loan is a good option that could help secure that much-needed bank loan.
You can also consider applying for equipment loans if you have a good credit score and if your business qualifies for something like that.
Obtaining the Right Permits and Licenses
The first thing you’ll need to do in order to have access to legal protections and licenses is to register your business. In Arizona, you’ll need to select a Statutory agent to qualify for registration. You’ll also need to file your registration papers, and the amount and type of necessary paperwork will depend on the type of entity you opt for. The ACC can help you with this as well, but you’ll need to create an eCorp account. For more check out this local resource page that might have more detail for the specific type of enterprise you’re interested in.
When it comes to permits and licensing, there is no general plan or option in Arizona, and most of it will depend on the specific work you do. Either way, if you have the above-mentioned paperwork ready, obtaining these should be a breeze.
Now you know the basics of starting a business in Arizona. It’s a good period for small businesses in that area, so make sure you grab the opportunity. Before you do, of course ensure the name, entity, and business is adequately registered, that you have the right permits and paperwork, and, of course, that you don’t have a brand identity crisis. These are just the basics, so if you want to get serious and deepen the topic, follow some of the anchors to get to the right resources.