This step-by-step list is compiled from numerous business support sources and is meant to illustrate the various processes related to starting a business. The links are not part of an automated transaction, so feel free to select links that best suited to your needs. 

Please select this link if you simply want to register your business with the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Step 1: Plan Ahead Before Going into Business links to PDF file

Is the timing right for starting your business? Complete our simple, five-minute questionnaire to find out if you're on the right track. -From the Small Business Development Center (MSBDC)

Step 2: Write a Business Plan

Every great business begins with a plan. And while that plan will evolve over time, this initial document will serve as your guide over the next 3-5 years. Click to view a collection of short articles on creating your own business plan. -From the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA)

Step 3: Get Training & Counseling

Starting a business can be tough, especially if it's your first time. Let us help you and your business succeed through training, counseling, and other assistance - all geared towards business owners. -From Mass.Gov

Step 4: Choose a Location

Whether you're new to Massachusetts or simply researching new locations and opportunities for your business, this section will help you gather the data and statistics you need. -From Mass.Gov

Step 5: Research & Obtain Financing

Here you'll find resources and information on a wide range of funding and financing options available to Massachusetts businesses. -From Mass.Gov

Step 6: Choose a Business Structure

Sole proprietor? Corporation? LLC? One of your first business decisions is deciding how to structure your company. Go here for a clear explanation of your options. -From the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Step 7: File for a "Doing-Business-As" Certificate

A "Doing-Business-As" Certificate (DBA) is a quick and simple way to set up your business through your town or city clerk's office. Click here to see if it's right for you and for simple instructions on how to file. -From the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Step 8: Register Your Business with the State

Corporations, LLCs and other business entities need to register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth before beginning business in Massachusetts. Annual updates are usually required as well. Click here to begin and/or update your filings. -From the Secretary of the Commonwealth

Step 9: Obtain an Federal Employer Tax ID (EIN)

Prior to registering your business with the state, you'll need an "Employer Identification Number," issued by the IRS. Obtaining one is free, and can be applied for easily online. Click here to get started. -From IRS.Gov

Step 10: Become Familiar with Tax Rules & Regulations

Understanding and managing taxes is an important part of running a successful business. In this section you'll find all you need to know on this vital topic. -From Mass.Gov

Step 11: Obtain Business Licenses & Permits

Successful businesses stay current and complete through federal, state and local rules and regulations. Use this section to make sure you're up to speed and up to date. -From Mass.Gov

Step 12: Understand Employer Regulations & Responsibilities

Here you'll find information and resources related to the hiring, training and managing of employees in your business. -From Mass.Gov