Are you looking to start a business in Florida? The first step is to search for business entities in the state. The SunBiz Secretary of State website is the official index of business activities and entities in Florida. You can use the website's search function to look up a company's EIN, even if you only have the name of a company official or the business owner. The Florida Department of State maintains an organized registry of all existing and dissolved businesses in the state.
This database is free to use and makes it easy to search for existing companies or query an available business name. Additionally, the Florida Division of Corporations offers users the ability to search by business address and zip code. It's important to perform a brand search through the Electronic Brand Search System before selecting a business name, as this could prevent headaches in the future. Sole proprietorships do not need to file an application with the Division of Corporations to start their business operations.
However, businesses must have a business mailing address in order to open a bank account and cannot use a P. O. Box as their primary mailing address. A large logo can help distinguish your company from the competition and create a positive visual memory for customers.
Writing a business plan can help organize your ideas and create a path for your business to follow. An LLC (limited liability company) is an independent legal entity that separates business interests, debts, and liabilities from personal liabilities. Many entrepreneurs create an LLC because it's simple and can protect their personal assets in case of a lawsuit or when the company can't pay its debts. It also helps build credibility should you need business loans in the future.
The Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing elections, businesses, and other state affairs. Every business must have an EIN (Employer Identification Number) which is used to identify businesses and taxpayers for filing tax returns. A DBA (doing business as) or trade name is a fictitious business name used when companies operate outside their formal LLC name. Once you've selected a company name from the search results, you can view more information about it on the Corporate Details page.
It's important to understand the different naming requirements for each type of entity when selecting a Florida business name. The database also maintains a list of active and expired commercial licenses that are free to search.