HOW TO START A BUSINESS IN Alaska

10 Simple Steps

STEP 1: PLAN YOUR BUSINESS IDEA

Write a Business PlanFor the same reason you don’t go hiking in the Alaskan wild without a compass, you shouldn’t open your doors in this state without a professional business plan. Not only will you need it to secure any serious funding, it ensures better-managed cash flow, more seamless growth, and you’ll be far less likely to get lost along the way.

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 StructureAlaska has built an amazing framework of incentives to attract new companies like yours. Can you say, “No individual income tax”? And that’s just the beginning, no sales tax either which decreases your costs across the board. But most importantly you’ll be protecting your personal assets (house, car, etc).

In reality, 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 ALASKA TAX OBLIGATIONS

Small Business TaxesAre business taxes in Alaska rather simple? Yes. But, you need to make sure you have all your t’s dotted and I’s crossed. This way tax time will go by like that chilly northern breeze the polar bears love so much.

Take Action: A good place to start would be the free online PDF published by the state that explains everything involved with Establishing a Business in Alaska. There’s also the Small Business Assistance Center through the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development.

STEP 4: OBTAIN LICENSING/PERMITS

Business LicensesBecause of the climate and geography, unless you intend on being a completely online operation you need to make sure you have the right licensing and permits to conduct business. Like taxes, this can be pretty straightforward. You may only need one simple permit or a basic business license.

  1. For the DIY’ers bookmark the Search Permits & Licenses page through the Alaska Department of Revenue.
  2. If you need help with this step, there is a Business License Service we recommend. 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 AccountPlease, don’t make the mistake of melding your checking account with a business checking account. They need to be completely separate to simplify the financial aspects of your company and give you access to all kinds of discounts, waved fees, and so forth.

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STEP 6: PICK A STELLAR ALASKA LOCATION

How to Choose a Business LocationRegardless of where you set up shop, Alaskans will tell you it takes a go-getter to succeed in this entrepreneur-friendly state. From the waterfronts of Petersburg to the bustle of Anchorage or even Palmer, be sure you understand local demographics!

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 STARTUP

How to Finance a BusinessSooner or later your brand will grow to a point where outside funding is necessary (ideally right?). Rather than quaking in your snow boots, take a gander at the Alaska Division of Economic Development because there are a large variety of options – on top of more modern social lending and CrowdFunding.

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 WebsiteAt Startup Savant we believe professional business websites are a necessity and no longer optional. No one’s saying you need a complex digital storefront, but there needs to be something online in place where potential clients, users, or customers can investigate who you are and what you’re about using their mobile phones.

Take Action: The first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there are some very good options. We highly recommend checking out Wix or Weebly, which are two of the most popular. Both help you build a professional business website while being very easy to use. No previous tech-skills required.

STEP 9: MARKET YOUR BUSINESS

Social Media ChannelMarketing is about as easy for new business owners in Alaska as it would be for you to build an igloo right now from scratch. The point is, don’t be shy, be strategic! Know who you need to connect with and find multiple ways to reach and let them know you and your solution exists. Become the Aura Borealis of your niche.

Take Action: Once again your business plan is going to make marketing much more effective and cost-efficient. Map out your target markets, financial forecasts, and cost-per-acquisition costs.

STEP 10: CONTINUE LEARNING & STAY INSPIRED

Sign Up For Entrepreneur InterviewsNo doubt, it can be challenging to stay driven during the rough winter months in Alaska, or in general really. This is why along with being a helpful resource for business, Startup Savant continuously interviews change makers to see what they do to continue thriving.

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

Alaska Startup Toolkit

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