How to start a business in Arizona

10 Simple Steps

Step 1: Plan Your Business Idea

Write a Business PlanFor the exact same reason you don’t hike the Grand Canyon or the lower deserts in Arizona without water, you don’t open up shop inside her borders without a professional business plan. It’s about being savvy-strategic. And, trust us, Arizona is a VERY competitive state.

Take Action: Seize upon our 100% free Business Planning Guide 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 StructureYour next step is to choose the type of business entity you intend on building or basing in Arizona. Each entity comes with its own set of pros and cons and it’s your responsibility to understand them. But the most important thing to keep in mind is that you’ll be protecting your personal assets (car, house, personal finances) in the process.

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: Since this step is so important and expensive if it’s not done correctly, we highly recommend investing 10 minutes to go over your options through our business structure comparison guide. You’ll get a better idea of the advantages and disadvantages of each while building a solid legal foundation for your business.

Step 3: Tackle Arizona Tax Obligations

Small Business TaxesOnce incorporated and registered it’s much easier to handle your tax obligations, whether you’re a brick and mortar business or strictly online. Don’t hesitate. Don’t put this off and procrastinate. The sooner the better, and the sooner your financials will begin writing your brand’s story under the law.

Take Action: First, bookmark the free online PDF “Business Basics: A Guide to Taxes for Arizona Businesses” as well as the homepage of the Arizona Department of Revenue business section. Be sure to do your homework and understand what Arizona expects you to take care of when starting a business.

Step 4: Obtain Licensing/Permits

Business LicensesDepending on the kind of business you’re starting, you may need different permits and or a simple business license. Like taxes and company registration, get this out of the way as close to conception as possible to ensure you don’t get in any trouble down the road.

  1. For the DIY’ers head on over to the AZ Dept. of Revenue’s Licensing Guide section to get started.
  2. Our list of Business License Services is great if you need help with this step. 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 AccountArizona banks and credit unions are awesome when it comes to business banking. Don’t add your personal checking account into the mix. Keep them separate, especially for financials and tax purposes but also because that way you get all the great incentives, waved fees, etc.

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Step 6: Pick A Stellar Arizona Location

How to Choose a Business LocationFrom the northern mountains around Flagstaff to the many thriving suburbs around Phoenix in the Valley of the Sun, to the southwestern charm of Tucson or the fantastic red rocks of Sedona, wherever you stake your claim it’s going to be gorgeous.

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 Your Business Idea

How to Finance a BusinessWhile Arizona is a relatively inexpensive place to be in business, sooner or later your brand will reach a level of growth where outside funding becomes a necessity just to maintain your platform.

Thankfully there are tons of options, both conventional and more modern like CrowdFunding and Social Lending. See what Arizona has to offer, especially if you’re in or around the Phoenix area.

Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like lemonade and sunny days. 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 WebsiteAs we approach 2020 the process of designing, building, and publishing a professional business website gets easier and easier, not to mention somewhat cheaper. What matters is that you have one, at the very minimum a responsive one-pager that lets potential clients and customers investigate your brand.

Take Action: The first step is finding the right platform, which we highly recommend checking out Wix or Weebly. Both walk you through the process of building a professional website and are very easy to use. No need for you to have any previous website building experience.

Step 9: Market Your Business

Social Media ChannelIt’s true, marketing a product or service anywhere, let alone in Arizona, is challenging. But if there was one almighty bit of advice we could give you it would be to NOT focus exclusively on digital marketing.

Take Action: Get out there! Apply some sunscreen and hit the proverbial pavement (which in the summer months in Phoenix you can in reality cook your breakfast on, no kidding). Be VERY aware of the seasonal “sun birds” who visit southern AZ in the winter months when it’s a tropical 80 degrees. That’s a huge part of the culture for a good chunk of the year.

Step 10: Continue Learning & Stay Inspired

Sign Up For Entrepreneur InterviewsIn some respects, after all the previous 9 steps are squared away you’ve just begun. The most important things you can do now are to continue learning, staying on top of your game, and don’t be fooled by the any marketing mirage. The oasis you’re looking for comes after many lessons and lots of hard and smart work!

Take Action: Follow our Facebook and Twitter filled with tips, tricks, lessons, and inspiring stories directly from entrepreneurs like you to keep your ears to the grindstone!

Arizona Startup Toolkit

Out of all the resources available to help you start a business in Arizona, 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

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