Mon 08 Feb 2016 | By:

How to Start a Business in Louisiana: 10 Simple Steps

Step 1: Truly Plan Your Business Idea

Write a Business PlanLike an oak-lined plantation of old, gorgeous, picturesque, and iconic in the south, successful companies begin as mere plans – blueprints. Do you know how many people it took to keep those things running smoothly? Wow! With so many moving parts, you’re either organized with your financials in order or you’re essentially winging it.

Take Action: Seize upon our free and easy email-based Business Planning Course designed to get you from A-to-Z as pleasantly as possible. Plus, we provide tons of other great tools along the way.


Step 2: Choose Biz-Structure & Incorporate

How to Choose a Business StructureThe next step is to choose the type of legal business structure best suits your ambitions for the brand. This choice will go a long way in helping you get the most out of your ideas. If you don’t have a legal team waiting in the wings, we suggest working with online incorporation providers who tuck parts of steps 3 and 4 into their startup packages along with filing your brand name with the state.

Take Action: As this part of starting a business can be rather sensitive, we’ve developed quick-guides for the most popular entities if you want to skip over to those.


Step 3: Sync with the Louisiana Tax Code

Small Business TaxesWhile Louisiana is the only state to still adhere to a Napoleonic code, and pirates used to hide out there, its tax code is quite modern and very startup-friendly. After the great hurricane, the state had to work hard to bring businesses back and restore local economies near the coast. It’s worked well and you can likely leverage credits, incentives, kickbacks and tax programs to boost your margins.

Take Action: Bookmark the Businesses Section of the Louisiana Dept. of Revenue’s website. It’s got pretty much everything you’ll need if you’re doing this solo without legal help or through an online incorporation provider.


Step 4: Obtain Proper Licensing/Permits

Business LicensesThank goodness the Louisiana regulatory system isn’t as hectic as Mardi Gras. Although you should know that instead of counties, the state’s carved into parishes. Complexity will depend on a) what industry you’re in, b) the business structure you chose, and c) where you’re located within the state.

  1. For DYI’ers head on over to the Louisiana Business License, Permit and Registration page through the SBA with a step-by-step guide to the process.
  2. For $99 you could get IncFile’s Business License Package which is amazing! They determine everything required on Federal, State, County and Municipal levels for you, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.


Step 5: Create a Dedicated Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountThis can be the really fun part, like exploring Saint Charles through the streetcars. All you have to do is choose where to set up dedicated business accounts and then sync up with your accounting software.

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Step 6: Pick a Stellar Louisiana Location

How to Choose a Business LocationListen, there’s a large variety of interesting reasons why Louisiana is the Festival Capital of America with over 400 annually celebrating everything you can imagine in terms of food, people, places, music…name it. From New Orleans to smaller gems like Mandeville, Alexandria, Winnfield or Covington, you can find what you’re looking for and then some.

Take Action: We know picking a spot can be tough if it doesn’t somehow happen naturally through your personal/professional networks. If you’d like to brush up on everything that goes into making this decision, refer to our friendly guide on How to Choose the Perfect Location.


Step 7: Finance/Bootstrap Your Platform

How to Finance a BusinessIn this department you have as many options as folks in Louisiana have tastes for food -red beans & rice, grits, jambalaya, creole delicacies, etc. The question is, how hungry are you and what are you willing to go for? Are you more of a conventional type that will look for small-biz loans, or is CrowdFunding something you’re open to?

Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like hang-gliding and The Smokies. You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.


Step 8: Design & Publish a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteWe’re not insinuating your brand’s website needs to be as beautiful and exciting as a Cajun Swamp Tour. It just needs to be there to leverage marketing potential, give people a place to find out about your platform, and engage. The marketplace is fierce, there’s too many gators in them waters to not have a digital presence.

Take Action: If you could use some help in this department the first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there aren’t too many yet. Head on over to this easy Business Website Builder Guide to get a head start.


Step 9: Market Your Business

Social Media ChannelWithin the proverbial Greenwood Cemetery of marketing, you’ll find many elaborate stone monuments and crypts for old trends, gimmicks, expensive scams, and hype. Never, ever, ever, forget to Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS). And this is especially the case online where most web users have been taught to let “the machine” do their thinking for them.

Take Action: When you market, take your biz-owner hat off. Okay? Because you can’t be both the owner of your business and your ideal client/user/customer at the same time. It’s just not possible. One’s doing the selling, and one’s doing the buying.


Step 10: Continue Learning & Stay Inspired

Sign Up For Entrepreneur InterviewsStartup Savant would like to be your Tabasco. We’d like to add a little spice to your cause. Around here it’s about continued learning, useful motivational content, and gaining insight from fellow change-makers in the flesh. How do’ya like that jazz?

Take Action: Tap into our weekly newsletter filled with tips, tricks, lessons, and inspiring stories/interviews directly from ambitious professionals like you.

Note that this guide is not a legal advice. This is simply a guide to inform you on how to start a business in Louisiana. To learn more about the specifics of starting a business in Louisiana, talk to your lawyer.

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.