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Starting a New Business?

(Small Business Administration)


10 Steps to Starting a Business

Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. These 10 easy steps can help you plan, prepare and manage your business. Click on the links to learn more.

Step 1: Write a Business Plan

Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.

Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training

Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.

Step 3: Choose a Business Location

Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.

Step 4: Finance Your Business

Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.

Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business

Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.

Step 6: Register a Business Name ("Doing Business As")

Register your business name with your state government.

Choosing a Business Name: 5 Interesting Things to Know

There’s plenty of advice out there about choosing a business name, such as the need to do a name search in your state, a trademark search, register the name, and other key legal issues.  Those are all important factors to consider as you choose a business name.

 >>Read More

Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number

Learn which tax identification number you'll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.

Step 8: Register for State and Local Taxes

Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers' compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.

Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.

Need a Business License in the City of Wetumpka, Alabama?


Need a Business License in Elmore County, Alabama?

Probate Office - County Business Licenses http://www.elmoreco.org/Default.asp?ID=157&pg=Probate+Office

100 East Commerce Street
Wetumpka, Alabama 36092
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 280, Wetumpka, AL 36092
(334) 567-1140 Phone
Office Hours: 8:00am - 4:30pm Monday - Friday (except as noted below)

The Probate Office is located on the first floor of the Elmore County Courthouse in downtown Wetumpka.  The offices are responsible for licensing, recording, tags and titles, and Probate Court.

The functions of the Probate Court are to preside over wills, administrations, annexations, commitment and condemnation hearings, and property records.  The Probate Judge is responsible for county elections.  The Judge is also responsible for processing name changes, legitimations, adoptions, conservatorships, and guardianships.

Boat registrations and business licenses are issued in the License Division of the Probate Office in the courthouse.  In addition, the division offers resident hunting, non-resident hunting, resident fishing, non-resident fishing, lifetime and specialty licenses.

The Recording Department records mortgages, judgments, corporations, affidavits, delegations/acceptances, deeds, liens, lien releases, notaries, plats, and powers of attorney.

The Tag and Title Department issues automobile and motorcycle registrations, special tags, titles and mobile home decals.

Drivers, motorcycle, commercial drivers licenses and non-drivers identification are available at 100 E. Commerce Street. Please visit the License Office.

Wetumpka License Office, 303 Hill Street, Wetumpka, AL 36092
(334) 315-5849 Phone  ****Please call about current status of marriage licenses and certificates****
Wetumpka License Office Hours:  8-12pm and 1-4pm Monday – Friday
Services: Drivers, motorcycle, commercial drivers licenses and non-drivers identification

Millbrook Satellite Office, 4864 Main St, Millbrook, AL 36054
(334) 285-3054 Phone
Millbrook Satellite Office Hours: 8:00am – 4:00 pm Monday - Friday
Services: Drivers License Renewals, Tags, Titles, Boats

Tallassee Satellite Office, 3 Freeman Ave, Tallassee, AL 36078
(334) 252-1804 Phone
Tallassee Satellite Office Hours: 8:00am – 4:00pm Tuesdays only
Services:  Tags, Titles, Boats

 More Information on starting new business:

Alabama Department of Revenue Starting a New Business Booklet

20 Questions to Answer Before Starting a Business

So you’ve got what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Now, ask yourself these 20 questions to make sure you’re thinking about the right key business decisions:

  1. Why am I starting a business?
  2. What kind of business do I want?
  3. Who is my ideal customer?
  4. What products or services will my business provide?
  5. Am I prepared to spend the time and money needed to get my business started?
  6. What differentiates my business idea and the products or services I will provide from others in the market?
  7. Where will my business be located?
  8. How many employees will I need?
  9. What types of suppliers do I need?
  10. How much money do I need to get started?
  11. Will I need to get a loan?
  12. How soon will it take before my products or services are available?
  13. How long do I have until I start making a profit?
  14. Who is my competition?
  15. How will I price my product compared to my competition?
  16. How will I set up the legal structure of my business?
  17. What taxes do I need to pay?
  18. What kind of insurance do I need?
  19. How will I manage my business?
  20. How will I advertise my business?

Source : http://www.sba.gov/content/20-questions-before-starting-business 

Naming your business is an important branding exercise, but if you choose to name your business as anything other than your own personal name then you’ll need to register it with the appropriate authorities.

This process is known as registering your “Doing Business As” (DBA) name.

What is a “Doing Business As” Name?

A fictitious name (or assumed name, trade name or DBA name) is a business name that is different from your personal name, the names of your partners or the officially registered name of your LLC or corporation.

It’s important to note that when you form a business, the legal name of the business defaults to the name of the person or entity that owns the business, unless you choose to rename it and register it as a DBA name.

For example, consider this scenario: John Smith sets up a painting business. Rather than operate under his own name, John instead chooses to name his business: “John Smith Painting”. This name is considered an assumed name and John will need to register it with the appropriate local government agency.

The legal name of your business is required on all government forms and applications, including your application for employer tax IDs, licenses and permits.

Do I Need a “Doing Business As” Name?

A DBA is needed in the following scenarios:

  • Sole Proprietors or Partnerships – If you wish to start a business under anything other than your real name, you’ll need to register a DBA so that you can do business as another name.
  • Existing Corporations or LLCs – If your business is already set up and you want to do business under a name other than your existing corporation or LLC name, you will need to register a DBA.

Note: Not all states require the registering of fictitious business names or DBAs.

How to Register your “Doing Business As” Name

Registering your DBA is done either with your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where your business is located. There are a few states that do not require the registering of fictitious business names.

Related Articles: Related Blogs:
  • Community  The Difference Between a Trade Name and a Trademark – And Why You Can’t Overlook Either
  • Community  How to Change Your Business Name – Legal and Regulatory Steps Explained
  • How to create an LLC from the Alabama Secretary of State Website -  https://www.sos.alabama.gov/business-entities/llcs


    Domestic LLC Filing

    Filing Fees
    Secretary of State: $100.00
    Expedited Process to SOS: $100.00
    Minimum Probate Judge fee: $50.00

    Domestic LLC Procedures

    Your entity name must contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation L.L.C. or LLC. You must obtain a Certificate of Name Reservation [10A-1-4.02(f)] prior to filing your formation documents in the county.
    (Name Reservation for Domestic Entities)

    File the original and two copies of the Certificate of Formation in the county where the LLC's registered office is/will be located.

    The Probate Judge will collect the Secretary of State Filing fee and expedite fee, if applicable. Some Probate Judge's Offices do not accept expedited processing fees to be forwarded to the Secretary of State and some do not accept credit cards as a payment method. Please be sure to check with the Office of the Judge of Probate prior to filing to determine payment methods and ability to expedite processing as well as county fees.


    Foreign LLC Filing

    Filing Fees
    Secretary of State: $150.00

    Foreign LLC Procedures

    Your registered name must end with the words Limited Liability Company or an abbreviation of these words (L.L.C. or LLC). You must obtain a Certificate of Name Reservation [10A-1-5.11] prior to filing the Application for Registration.

    File two original copies of the "Foreign Limited Liability Company Application for Registration" with the Business Entities Division of the Secretary of State.
    (Name Reservation for Foreign Entities)

    Mail the $150.00 filing fee and two original copies of the "Foreign Limited Liability Company Application for Registration" to Alabama Secretary of State, Attention: Business Entities Division, P.O. Box 5616, Montgomery, Alabama 36103 or 11 South Union Street, Suite 119, Montgomery, Alabama 36130.

    File Foreign LLC Online - Filing Fee $250.00



  • Domestic Limited Liability Company Certificate of Formation and Foreign Limited Liability Company Application for Registration forms are available. To obtain either, see "File Download/Links" at the bottom of this page. Our Business Entities Downloads page provides various other forms for certificate requests and filing purposes.

Interested in receiving an alcohol license in Elmore County, Alabama?

Alcohol Licenses in Elmore County http://www.elmoreco.org/Default.asp?ID=277&pg=Alcohol+Licenses

The Elmore County Commission welcomes your request for approval of an Alcohol Beverage License in our jurisdiction.  The following procedures need to be followed in order to process your request:

  • An application must be obtained from the State ABC Board.
  • Completed applications will be accepted in the Elmore County Commission office located at 100 East Commerce St., Wetumpka, AL, Suite 207, during regular business hours, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • The application must be received by noon the Wednesday prior to the Work Session for which you wish to be placed on the Agenda (or it will be placed on the next Work Session Agenda).
  • The application will be placed on the agenda for the next regular meeting of the Commission.  The Commission meets the second and fourth Mondays of the month with the Work Session beginning at 5:00 p.m. (with Business Meeting immediately following) in the downtown Courthouse unless otherwise posted.
  • At the Commission Meeting, a vote will be taken to allow the applicant to advertise for a Public Hearing on the application.
  • If the applicant is approved for a public hearing, Commission staff will prepare a legal notice.  The applicant must advertise the notice for two consecutive weeks at his/her expense in the local newspaper closest to the physical location of the application site.
  • The Commission staff will also provide a poster to be clearly displayed on the application site for the duration of the two-week advertising period up to an including the day of the hearing.
  • The Commission will hear any comments from any concerned citizen during the public hearing on the application.
  • Following the public hearing, the Commission will take formal action.
  • If the application is approved, an approval letter will be issued by the Commission Office.  Once the letter is ready, someone from the Commission Office will contact you.  The application and additional documents provided need to be turned into the State ABC Board to obtain your license.
  • If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Commission Office at (334) 514-5841.  Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

    Alabama ABC Licensing Information
    Application for an alcohol license

    Startup Resources

    There are a number of available programs to assist startups, micro businesses, and underserved or disadvantaged groups. The following resources provide information to help specialized audiences start their own businesses.

    You can save money when starting or expanding your business by using government surplus. From commercial real estate and cars, to furniture, computers and office equipment, find what you need for your business in one place.