How to Start a Business in Texas

You may be wondering how you could ever be similar to Suzy Batiz, self-made millionaire and founder of Poo-Pourri, the deliciously smelling toilet spray that’s built an empire eliminating bathroom visit odors. But just like you, she was once just a Texan small business owner with a dream.

The Benefits of Starting a Business in the State of Texas

If you think your fellow Texans only care about Tex-Mex, “Keep Austin Weird” merch, and Matthew McConaughey, you’re in for a treat. Texas is one of only five states in the U.S. without any business taxes for sole proprietors. If you’re an incorporated business, you’ll also reap business benefits in your state like a lowered franchise tax rate for corporations based on their margin.

In response to the recession in 2008, Texas also instilled equity crowdfunding opportunities, devising more opportunities for small businesses like yours to raise capital. You can also take advantage of funds and grants specific to Texas residents, including the Texas Enterprise Fund (TED), which awards a cash grant for promising small businesses. 

But we’re not just here to tell you why you should love living in Texas; we’re here to help you build that business that’s been sitting in your back pocket since you first thought of the idea months or even years ago.

Connect What You Love, What You’re Good at, and What People Need

What You Love

Your business starts with you, and you encompass passions, curiosities, and drives. Let the money talk come a bit later; but now, think about the driving force and vision behind the business you want to create. Is it nursing scrubs that you could also go running in? A digital marketing agency that delves far beyond Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and speaks to the voices behind the businesses?

What You’re Good at

You’re probably skilled in your passion already. If not, perhaps you have the capacity, time, and willingness to learn. Your passion might sign people on, but your talents will keep them coming back for more.

What People Are Desperate for

Your love for your business model might have already stemmed from a pain that keeps coming up in your life. Do you work as a nurse and want more than anything not to have to shove your workout clothes into your backpack every day? Do you work at a digital marketing agency as a writer and just yearn to deliver more than your company is willing to give? Discovering the gap that you — along with others like you — face will bring customers to the table, eager to take out their wallets.

Create Habits and Goals

Through Your Business Plan

Crafting a business plan isn’t just for others. In fact, it’s not required at all. Consider it a GPS to your destination to your business goals — at least, that’s what the SBA says. Without it, there’s no clear-cut end goal, leaving you floundering without much more than wasted dollars and time.

Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software and business plan expert, laments: “It’s a shame that so many people think business plans are just for startups, or to back up loan applications or for getting investors. The truth is that business planning offers serious benefits for everybody in business.”

He continues, highlighting the ease of even small business owners to create one, “I’d like to point out that none of these benefits require a big formal business plan document. A lean business plan (as in What Business Plan Type is Best for Me) is usually enough. It takes an hour or two to do the first plan, then just an hour or two to review and revise monthly.”

With a strong business plan, you can highlight exactly what you plan to do when you start your small business. 

Through Personal Logging

That same heart and soul you had envisioning your business ideas can be brought to the table through open and honest journaling. Unlike a business plan, you won’t need to worry about crafting sections and instilling goals. Instead, treat this as your daily log to track your progress, and concerns and highlight any ongoing needed support as you grow your business, all without worrying about the wrong person looking at it.

Through Breaking Down Large Goals into Bite-Sized Pieces

If you decided to include big product and marketing goals in your business, you may be wondering how exactly to hit them. You’ve got your GPS to guide you, but how will you know when to make a U-turn if you’ve gone in the wrong direction?

Even if you’re the only one in your business, you’ll benefit from sowing a project management tool like Asana or Notion into your early-stage business to help you break down big goals into manageable, planned chunks — as small as needed — so as not to seem like a daunting mountain.

Location, Location, Location (It’s More Than Just Physical!)

Physical

If you dream of harnessing a space that’s more than just a selling ground but a place for community, connection, and invitation and have a few thousand dollars to invest in a well-frequented storefront, then your GPS might be pointing you to a brick-and-mortar business. On the other hand, if your startup costs are equal to an evening’s worth of fancy ramen, a remote business will suit your entrepreneurial more fittingly.

Social

Do your dream clients live on TikTok, hopping on every trending video to their heart’s content? Or, are they more introverted, browsing blog posts, introspecting from engaging newsletters, and purchasing books from creators they love? Find the social media outlet your audience is spending time at, and show up.

Digital (Website)

Consider your website a digital storefront, giving your audience a top-level view of your brand through enticing copy, color coordination, and curated photography. Get inspiration by gathering websites you love, finding the commonalities between them, and asking yourself if the approach would fit within your own business’s brand.

Manage Your Finances

Your inventive, creative mind has brought you to the strategic part of your business: the finances.

Keep Up With Bookkeeping

Track the daily, weekly, and monthly expenditures of your Texas-based business to make sure your business doesn’t end up running you. If the idea of doing this yourself gives you goosebumps, hire a doola bookkeeper to keep your business GPS on track.

Find an Awesome Tax Professional

Imagine spending tax season with a tub of ice cream watching your favorite sitcom. Daydream or reality? Finding a tax professional will help tax season be the opposite of dread where you never feel like you’re scrambling for receipts again. Plus, with a stellar bookkeeper, you’ll have consistently up-to-date records that are well-prepped so even your tax professional won’t be stressed.

Open a Business Bank Account

Separate work expenses from personal through a business bank account. It’ll make tax time come easier and could open you up to small business loans and programs through your bank that you might not otherwise be approved for.

Decide on a Business Structure

Your business entity, like you, can shift and grow. Nonetheless, you can start simple and expand your business type if needed. Here are some of the basics:

Sole Proprietorship — an unincorporated business structure consisting of a single owner, without separating the business from the business owner.

General Partnership or Limited Partnership — partnership agreements where a general partnership (GP) has full operational control or a limited partnership (LP) where some partners don’t participate in basic business operations.

Limited liability company (LLC) — a business structure that separates the owner’s personal assets from their business’s.

C Corporation owned by shareholders who purchase stock shares. C-corps are typically less flexible with more paperwork and governance.

S Corporationwhere business owners are seen as stakeholders, taxing the business as a partnership. A Texas LLC or C-corp can file as an S-corp.

Once you’ve decided on your business structure, you can register online at the Texas Department of State or have our doola team take care of it.

The Nitty-Gritty of Licenses, Permits, and Requirements

Are you an aspiring tea shop owner who needs to get licensed to serve food in your establishment or a barber who needs to ensure your license is up-to-date to legally practice? Research the business licenses and permits you need for your given field in the state of Texas. Along with this, you should know the Texas business laws, like how to report new hires, where to display posters in your building, and how to authorize an agent on your behalf. These can be found through the Texas Secretary of State website and business employer requirements.

Promote Your Products and Have Fun 

Whether you’ve been waiting for the opportunity to hop on TikTok and incorporate your favorite dance into your business model or if marketing and promotion give you nausea, there’s no need to get overwhelmed by too many marketing channels and techniques, at least at the beginning. Start simple, by trying one:

Create one social media account and post consistently for a few weeks.

Design a simple website through a site builder like Squarespace to easily refer prospects to your portfolio of offerings.

Start a blog on your website and write about your journey as a small business owner, your vision for the future, and what you believe to be true about the niche you’re in.

Professional Help – The Biggest Stress-Reliever

Starting your business doesn’t have to be scary. With a partner like doola, you can eradicate the idea that you’re the only one with skin in the game to make your business succeed. Let a team of affordable professionals help you carve the path to your bigger-than-Texas dreams. 

FAQs

How much does it cost to start a business in Texas?

The current cost of forming your LLC in Texas is $300.

Is an LLC worth it in Texas?

There are tax benefits to having an established LLC in Texas, like not having to adhere to double taxation as you would for a C-corp.

Is Texas small business-friendly?

Texas has established quite a few small business incentive programs, including the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Texas Small Business Credit Initiative.

Does Texas require a business license?

You don’t need a general business license in Texas, but you can see what you need for your business through the Texas Business Licenses and Permits Guide.

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