Mon 30 May 2016 | By:

How to Start a Business in Rhode Island: 10 Simple Steps

Step 1: Truly Plan Your Business Idea

Write a Business PlanIf your company’s going to need legitimate funding and attract amazing partners at some point, you’ll need a business plan. So for example, let’s say you want to build it over the span of about 3-5 years and then sell to a bigger fish for millions. Your business plan puts that on paper, breaks it down into sections, structures your approach, and helps you get there through better management and keeping your eye on the ball.

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 StructureThis next step covers tons of red-tape-ground and makes you official so only take it if you’re serious. First, you do a smidgen of homework to decide which business entity/legal structure makes the most sense. Then you incorporate which among other things (parts of steps 3 & 4) will secure your brand name by registering/filing it 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 Rhode Island Tax Code

Small Business TaxesLike gulping down a bottle of Autocrat Coffee Milk, navigating the Rhode Island tax code is smooth and invigorating unless you’re starting a solar energy company or something. In large part it depends on what kind of business structure you create, how many employees you have, etc. Don’t forget to investigate incentives, credits, and kick-backs because some may apply!

Take Action: If you want to dig in head to the State of Rhode Island Business Taxes, Division of Taxation section, and sign up to get your tax ID number. Bookmark their Online Services page as well because it’s going to come in handy.


Step 4: Obtain Proper Licensing/Permits

Business LicensesRhode Island was the first state to declare its independence and the first to pass anti-slavery laws so their regulatory environment is very pro-people, which includes entrepreneurs. Over the last few years they’ve been making it better and better to do business in the state, despite its small size and lousy reputation in the past.

  1. For DYI’ers create an account on’s Business Registration section after you have your RI tax ID to see if you’ll need to get licensed.
  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 AccountOkay, so this is probably the easiest of all the steps. Just find a great banking institution and establish your brand’s financial persona. Make sure it’s completely separate from any personal accounts so it’s centralized, clean and tidy for both you and for tax time. Afterwards you can lavish yourself with world class food in Providence.

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Step 6: Pick a Stellar Rhode Island Location

How to Choose a Business LocationRhode Island is the hidden gem of the northeast with one area code but easily some of the most stunning coastline, from Warwick more inland to Newport and Charlestown. You’ve got Boston just to the north, New York to the southwest and Hartford right next door so what more could you ask for?

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 BusinessBecause of where it’s located you have access to everything from VC networks and angel investment funds to private/state-level programs, conventional lenders, credit options, social lending, and so forth. Then there’s the internet with options like CrowdFunding, so get busy. Heck, Wall Street’s only a 3-hour drive away…

Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like side burns and doughnuts. 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 WebsiteSomewhere along the line you’re going to need to design and publish a professional website to represent your brand in the digital sphere. It also REALLY comes in handy in our next step which has to do with brand expansion. Remember, it’s about simple navigation and catering to your ideal user.

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 ChannelThis part of the journey can be as quick and painless or as complex as you want it to be. The absolute truth is there’s no right or wrong way to market, not in reality. Crony capitalism aside, the free market determines a brand’s fate but you can increase your odds by continuously using your brand as a way to open doors of opportunity – network!

Take Action: Each and every day, and this goes as much for you as an individual as an entrepreneur, try to make a legitimate connection with an ideal customer/user/client. How does your product or service make their life better and more efficient?


Step 10: Continue Learning & Stay Inspired

Sign Up For Entrepreneur InterviewsConsider the Startup Savant team in your corner, always at the ready to keep you on your toes and motivated. This platform we’re building can be a reliable source of valuable info and insight from fellow change-makers, dreamers, visionaries and ambitious creatives.

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

Please be advised that this is only an informational guide on how to start a Rhode Island business. It is not a legal document or advice nor should it be taken as one. For the legalities involved in starting a business, consult a business lawyer.

About Ryan James

Half hardworking hermit, half avid adventurer, Ryan founded Startup Savant to simplify entrepreneurship and pay it forward by donating a portion of all revenue to support children's education via