Thinking About Starting a Business? The State of CT Wants to Help!
One of my favorite parts of being a business lawyer is working with clients that are starting new businesses. Over the years, Kahan Kerensky Capossela, LLP has advised and guided hundreds, if not thousands, of clients navigate the process of starting a new business. Clients often have the same questions: How do I know if the name I want for my business is already being used? How do I register my business? How do we obtain a tax identification number? Do I need any kind of license or permit? While we are always happy to advise clients on these topics, the reality is, that for most small business start-ups, keeping costs low is a priority. Additionally, most of the answers to these questions are available to the public free of cost, if you know where to look.
Until recently, researching these common questions required visits to multiple websites for various State agencies. The Secretary of the State’s office would provide information as to name availability as well as how to form an entity. The Department of Revenue Services’ website contained information on tax identification numbers and registering for various tax permits. Lastly, the Department of Consumer Protection’s website contained information on permits and licensing. The lack of a centralized resource to assist would-be entrepreneurs was cumbersome and added to the costs of forming a new business in Connecticut.
Thankfully, the State of Connecticut has recently unveiled a new online tool that should make this process much more user friendly. The new online business portal can be found at business.ct.gov. In addition to other helpful resources found at the new website, users can answer a series of questions regarding their potential new business, and the portal will generate a customized checklist to help guide the user through the process. In order to evaluate the usefulness of the new website, I recently went on and created a custom checklist for a client of mine that is opening a new pizza restaurant. Overall, I thought that the checklist that was generated was helpful and addressed some of the more common questions that are raised when starting a new business, and it should help in the early stages of getting started.
While I do not envision that this new website will replace the role of attorneys and accountants in advising individuals wanting to start a new business, I think it has the potential to provide some much needed guidance early on in the process and to reduce concerns about the unknown which might otherwise hold people back from pursuing their entrepreneurial goals.