Tue 24 Nov 2015 | By:

How to Start a Business in Kentucky: 10 Simple Steps

Step 1: Plan Your Business Idea

Write a Business Plan

A great idea means absolutely nothing without an organized game plan to bring it to market, to the world. Once you’ve named and designed your product/service, before anything else when starting a business in Kentucky, carefully lay your foundational strategy.

Take Action: Sign up for our free email-based Business Planning Course we designed to get you A-to-Z as quickly and smoothly as possible. Plus, we provide access to tons of other great tools along the way.


Step 2: Register Your Business

How to Choose a Business Structure

Before you can officially incorporate in Kentucky, you’ll need to choose a business structure – licenses, permits, and taxes all depend on the type you select.

Take Action: As this aspect of starting a business is sensitive, we’ve developed quick and easy guides for each.


Step 3: Tackle Kentucky Tax Obligations

Small Business Taxes

Yep, either you hire a tax attorney/firm or take the time to understand and tackle your business taxes. It’s a core responsibility in every state, no matter the nature of your brand or the structure you’ve chosen.

Take Action: Be sure to cover relevant state tax registration requirements listed on the Kentucky One Stop business portal page. In fact, you should probably bookmark that site.


Step 4: Understand License Obligations

Business Licenses

After tackling tax requirements, it’s time to fill out and file all appropriate Kentucky business licenses. These business licenses are essential to operate legally within the state. You’ve got two options here:

  1. Check out the business license and regulations page on Kentucky One Stop for more information.
  2. For $99 IncFile’s Business License Package is amazing! They determine everything required on Federal, State, County and Municipal levels, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.


Step 5: Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank Account

Don’t make the crazy-common mistake of mixing personal and business accounts! The best way to keep your finances in order and make tax time easier is to completely separate them.

Take Action


Step 6: Choose the Right Location for Your Business

How to Choose a Business Location

What’s it going to be, Lexington? Louisville? There are only 3 rules to get started as an entrepreneur: location, location and location! But there’s a fair amount that goes into picking a spot from scratch when it doesn’t happen organically.

Take Action: If you’d like to brush up on everything that goes into making this decision, refer to our guide on How to Choose the Perfect Location.


Step 7: Finance Your new Business

How to Finance a Business

Businesses typically take a fair amount of resources to initially build, grow and maintain. Thanks to the internet you have more access to funding than at any other time in human history. From CrowdSourcing and Social Lending, to angel investors, grants, small-biz loans and VCs…

Take Action: You’ll learn about how business planning helps a ton throughout our email course, especially when it comes to crafting your pitch/executive summary. Browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.


Step 8: Build a Business Website

Build a Business Website

In order to be taken seriously, you need to have a professional website representing your business. They can be as simple (an easy and responsive one-page) or as complex as you want (an extensive ecommerce store), but we believe they’re no longer optional.

Take Action: The first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there aren’t too many. Head on over to this easy Business Website Builder Guide to get a head start.


Step 9: Market Your Brand

Social Media Channel

Marketing and getting your first customer is one of the most difficult parts of being in business in Kentucky and just about anywhere else. No matter who you are, since you’re reading this you likely could use a little help.

Take Action: Before you dive right in and spend a thousand dollars on a marketing ad, try some quick Google searches about the type of marketing that fits your industry. It’s a great place to start.


Step 10: Continue Learning & Stay Inspired

How to Start a Business

Starting a business in Kentucky isn’t easy. It’ll take time, patience, and persistence on your part so that you’re able to whether storms and keep moving forward. As a final step to bringing your idea to life and moving forward, we highly recommend checking out the steady stream entrepreneur interviews we publish on Startup Savant.

Every week we send out a newsletter that dives into the subject of what makes successful people tick. It’s totally free and extremely inspiring!

Please note that this guide is not a legal advice. This is simply a guide to inform you on how to start a business in Kentucky. To learn more about the specifics of starting a business in Kentucky, speak to a local professional.

About Liesha Petrovich

Liesha is a small business owner of 20 years, host of Startup Savant, the owner of a karate dojo in Maine, and creator of Work Mobly. During free time she's with her family and working on a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship.