How to start a business in Texas

10 Simple Steps

STEP 1: PLAN YOUR BUSINESS IDEA

Write a Business PlanListen partner no one founds a company in Texas, the most populous state in America that’s nearly 300,000 square miles and represents the 12th largest economy in the world without a plan…you kidding me? That’d be like rustlin’ cattle without rope. Just can’t do it! Your first step is designing your brand’s roadmap to the promised land.

Take Action: Seize upon our 100% free Business Planning Course designed to get you from A-to-Z as pleasantly as possible. Plus, we provide access to tons of other great tools along the way.

STEP 2: CHOOSE BUSINESS STRUCTURE & REGISTER

How to Choose a Business StructureOnce you have a solid game plan, it’s time to pony-up, pick your business structure or entity and get it registered/incorporated Texas-style. This will protect your personal assets and give you a solid leg to stand on moving forward.

Most entrepreneurs form an LLC because it has all the benefits of a Corporation without the disadvantages like double taxation, board of directors or corporate officers. However if you’re trying to take your company public or raise substantial outside capital, you should probably form a Corporation.

Take Action: Decide which business structure is right for you. After that, have one of these two reliable services form it for you: IncFile ($49 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee).

STEP 3: TACKLE TEXAS TAX OBLIGATIONS

Small Business TaxesFrom the Texas Enterprise Fund (huge) to incentives and credits galore, once your brand is a registered legal entity you can then leverage the power of the Lone Star tax code. Obviously the sooner you get this handled by either yourself or your tax attorney, the better.

Take Action: If you’re doing this without legal help, head on over to the “Quick Start for Business: A Guide to Comptroller Resources for Businesses” that’s Texas-specific and tackles just about everything you’re going to need.

STEP 4: OBTAIN LICENSING & PERMITS

Business LicensesJust more red-tape, but it’s necessary to legally conduct business. And trust me, you don’t want to mess with Texas. You may only need a simple license and to pay a quick fee, or it might be more complex if say, you plan on opening a steakhouse for example.

  1. For the DIY’ers head on over to SBA’s guide on Texas Business Licenses, Permits, and Registration to get started.
  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 AccountMixing your personal and business bank accounts is like mixing your collard greens with pastries. You just don’t do it. While this should be a no-brainer, you would (or wouldn’t) be shocked by the amount of new entrepreneurs who make this newbie mistake and miss out on so many financial benefits.

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STEP 6: PICK A STELLAR TEXAS LOCATION

How to Choose a Business LocationOh boy, so many options. Each “region” of Texas is a mammoth intermingling of cultures. The geography is immensely diverse. Will you stay near the Gulf and settle in Corpus Christi? Or maybe head north to Abilene or Amarillo? Maybe you’re going right into the heart of Texas, north of San Antone…remember each area has its own upsides and downsides. Be strategic.

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: BOOTSTRAP YOUR STARTUP

How to Finance a BusinessMany will argue Texas invented boostrappin, which is why today the state boasts a 1.4 trillion GDP (2013). Now, within that giant dust devil is quite a few funding options so don’t get your spurs in a bunch. Relax, evaluate your options (including non-conventional like Social Lending or CrowdFunding) and go easy.

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

STEP 8: BUILD A BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteBusiness websites aren’t as complex nor as expensive to design and maintain as they were not too long ago. But there’s no doubt about it, your brand’s website is its Alamo. It’s where your clients and customers learn about you, do business with you, engage with you, etc. And yes, we think they’re a necessity to compete and survive the onslaught from your competition.

Take Action: 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 ChannelStartup Savant doesn’t pretend to know the answers to modern marketing. We don’t. We don’t think anyone does because marketing is changing and evolving so quickly. What we do know though is that you still can’t beat experimentation, then capitalizing on activity.

Take Action: Whether you’re strictly online or brick and mortar, Texas is a powerhouse marketplace where you have to test and see what works. Leverage the power of more localized online marketing in conjunction with reaching out and really connecting with your niche to see what makes the most sense.

STEP 10: CONTINUE LEARNING & STAY INSPIRED

Sign Up For Entrepreneur InterviewsSomething else we’ve figured out is that there’s very little that can drive you and charge your engines the way personalized insight can. This is why we’ve put so much focus on establishing relationships with fellow change makers in the trenches.

Take Action: Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to tap into our daily feed filled with tips, lessons, and inspiring stories directly from entrepreneurs like you.

Texas Startup Toolkit

Out of all the resources available to help you start a business in Texas, here are the two we believe in most. With an incorporation service and business plan software, you'll take the first steps toward bringing your idea to life and having a solid plan behind it.

Incorporation services register your business with the state and handle all paperwork. For as low as $49, they'll bring your business to life by registering your LLC or Corporation in record time.

See The Top 7 Options
And

One of the most important aspects of starting a business can also be the most tedious: the business plan. A business plan software will walk you through the entire process in half the time.

See The Top 7 Options