How to start a business in Delaware

10 Simple Steps

STEP 1: PLAN YOUR BUSINESS IDEA

Write a Business PlanOne of the world’s foremost authorities on the topic, Tim Berry, famously said, “Good business planning is 9 parts execution for every 1 part strategy.” So listen, start this journey by having a game plan in place, but make it an approach you’re going to act on.

Take Action: Check out 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 StructureNow it’s time to cover tons of ground and protect your personal assets (house, car, etc) in one swoop. Choose the type of business structure your business will operate under, register it and in the process secure your brand name.

Most entrepreneurs form an LLC because it harnesses all the benefits of a Corporation without taking on any of its disadvantages like double taxation, board of directors or corporate officers. However if you’re trying to take your company public via an IPO or raise substantial outside capital, consider forming 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 DELAWARE TAX OBLIGATIONS

Small Business TaxesLeverage tax incentives. Use the financial boons and kickbacks of Delaware’s startup-friendly regulatory environment. Getting compliant with the state/federal agencies can be rather exciting, like clothes shopping during the holiday season – so many savings! For your business though, these savings transform into more marketing $ and optimization.

Take Action: To get you started head on over to Delaware.gov’s Services for the Business Taxpayer. Feel free to bookmark their General Overview as well.

STEP 4: OBTAIN LICENSING/PERMITS

Business LicensesThe regulatory environment in Delaware is definitely entrepreneur-friendly for a variety of reasons but it’s really dependent on a number of variables including what business you’re in, where you situate your base of operations and what type of business entity you’ve created. There’s two solid options:

  1. For DIY’ers use the state’s One Stop Business Registration and Licensing System.
  2. If you need additional help getting everything together, this Business License Package is very helpful. 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 financials with your business accounts is like trying to zip-line in Death Valley. Your next step is to establish a separate account for your brand’s financial data and leverage all the benefits depending on the institution you choose.

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STEP 6: PICK A STELLAR DELAWARE LOCATION

How to Choose a Business LocationSo what’s it going to be, the Upper Faster portion of the state or the Slower Lower? If you’re going to be purely an online platform that’s one thing, but if you intend on establishing a physical presence do some homework because knowing the habits and preferences people you serve will go a long way for you as a business owner.

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: FUND YOUR BUSINESS

How to Finance a BusinessFunding is always and will always be an issue as an entrepreneur, so just embrace it. No sense in fighting the tide. Just please don’t lose sight of the fact that you have access to trillions of capital waiting to be put behind good ideas. Which of all those local, state and county (despite there being only three) benefits apply?

Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like cheesesteaks and a Wawa icee. 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 WebsiteAt Startup Savant we now officially hold the opinion websites aren’t discretionary anymore; they’re not optional. We approach it the way Delawareans approach disc golfing among the trees – indispensable. And what it comes down to, at the end of the day, is how easy is your website to use and investigate your brand?

Take Action: If you could use some help in this department the first step is finding the right platform. We highly recommend checking out Wix or Weebly since they are the easiest to use while having the best prices. Zero tech-skills required.

STEP 9: MARKET YOUR BUSINESS

Social Media ChannelOne of the very best pieces of advice in terms of marketing your brand after it’s setup sounds something like this: “Everything you need is within reach.” Honestly, look through our Entrepreneur Interviews and time after time you’ll discover businesses that get their initial bursts of growth very close to home and through close personal networks.

Start small and build. Digital marketing, local search engine marketing, and social media all have their place. But, in the beginning stop and take a good look at what’s already within reach, especially your initial customers which will probably be friends, family, and people within a very small number of degrees of separation.

Take Action: Take some time to see what resources you have right now, around you at this very moment. Trick is, there’s more than one layer and this is true of most people. Start by listing everyone you can think of in your personal/professional network and assets within about 5 to 10 miles of your front door in every direction.

STEP 10: CONTINUE LEARNING & STAY INSPIRED

Sign Up For Entrepreneur InterviewsFrom this point on, consider Startup Savant a valuable and reliable source of useful information from fellow change-makers, innovators and ambitious creatives. On a daily basis we interview current business owners to see what makes them tick and what future entrepreneurs can learn from them.

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.

Delaware Startup Toolkit

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