Starting a company

How to Start A Business In Pennsylvania

Key Takeaways

  • It's possible to have a great time and make money by starting a business in Pennsylvania, but only if you put in the time and effort required to do so.
  • Launching a successful company in Pennsylvania requires a significant investment of time and resources.
  • Take your time and ensure there is a demand for your product or service in Pennsylvania before moving forward.
  • Attracting investors who can finance your company's expansion requires a business plan that outlines your company's trajectory from infancy to mega-success.
  • You can look for other options to avoid putting your money into your business. Your business's future is heavily dependent on the legal structure you choose.

Looking for a way to start a business in PA? Entrepreneurs in Pennsylvania considering venturing out on their own will find a wealth of resources available. Things like making a business strategy, filing taxes, selecting a legal structure, and promoting your product or service are all part of starting a small business in PA. It's not only about the procedure but also the hospitable corporate environment. Starting a small company in Pennsylvania will take a lot of time and money, but the benefits of a thriving business are well worth the investment.

What Steps Are Involved In Starting A Business In Pennsylvania?

1. Ideate & Innovate

A solid concept is the cornerstone of every successful enterprise. First, find out what you're good at and what you're interested in; this will help you develop a business plan that will keep you motivated as you put in the long hours required to overcome the many obstacles you'll encounter. You need to have complete confidence in your company's concept and feel like you can sell it well to make it a success.

2. Read Up

A concept has to be rigorously examined to see whether it has marketability. You may need to abandon your first idea in favor of a new one to find a working answer. Take your time with things once you've shown that there's a market for your business idea in Pennsylvania.

3. Create A Business Strategy

If you want to attract investors who can fund your company's growth, your business plan has to detail that growth from its infancy through its potential for massive success. Therefore, in your business strategy, you should cover the following ground:

  • An overview of your company and the reasons you think it will be successful
  • Outline the value proposition, highlighting the issues you are addressing.
  • Conduct market research that includes an analysis of your business's target audience, current market, and significant rivals.
  • Explain in detail the inner workings of your company, including its organizational structure and the people responsible for running it.
  • Provide details on the products and services that you are offering.
  • Describe how you aim to acquire clients in your marketing plan. How much and when you'll need to raise money for your company's expansion over the next five years is an essential part of any fundraising pitch.
  • The financial outlook for your company may be gleaned from historical data and current balance sheets.
  • If necessary, resumes, letters of recommendation, licenses, and supplementary materials may be included as an appendix.

4. Put Together A Financial Plan

When starting a company, financial backing is a necessity. In fact, according to recent research by the U.S. Bank, cash flow problems are the primary reason for company failure for 82% of companies. It is time to start raising capital. Your business plan should contain a detailed forecast of the money you'll need to pay operating costs for at least a year. It is time to start raising capital. Your business plan should contain a detailed forecast of the money you'll need to pay operating costs for at least a year.

There are several other options if you need more money to fund your business. For example, you can apply for a loan from the Small Business Administration, a commercial bank, equity crowdsourcing, an angel investor, or a venture capital firm in Pennsylvania. 

A venture capital firm is a group of investors who will fund a company throughout its entire life cycle. On the other hand, an angel investor is a wealthy person who puts their own money into a startup when it is just getting started. Depending on the sort of business, it's better to seek money from angel investors, who contribute lesser amounts to help a startup get off the ground, or venture capitalists, who invest more but expect a more significant piece of the business in return.

Angel investors are often a good choice for smaller companies seeking their first round of capital. Angel investors are typically individual high net worth individuals who provide a smaller amount of capital than venture capitalists but can offer valuable insights and mentorship to the business owners They often have specialized expertise and knowledge in the industry they are investing in, as well as connections to potential customers, partners, and other investors 

5. Establish Your Company's Legal Structure

The legal structure you choose for your business will have a big impact on the decisions you make about its future. LLCs are the most popular business entities in modern times because they are simple to maintain while still providing all the advantages of a corporation. Specifically, concerning taxes, they behave more like an individual. It is recommended that you get the advice of an attorney when deciding what legal structure is ideal for your company.

6. Register Your Business

After you settle on a business entity, it's time to register your business with the state of Pennsylvania. The registration process goes differently depending on whether you are starting a sole proprietorship, an LLC, or a corporation.

7. Get Your Tax IDs From The Government

You need a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) to legally run a business in the U.S., open a bank account, pay employees, and file taxes. For businesses used by one person only, an EIN is not necessary but is recommended for legal protection. Fill out this form, submit it to the IRS, or apply for an EIN online. This form can be filled out, mailed, or submitted electronically for an EIN on the IRS website. Different states have different business regulations and tax rates. Learn more about state taxes that may affect your company by visiting the Business Taxes Portal of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. The platform may also register a company and submit tax returns electronically.

8. Activate Corporate Banking And Credit Accounts

You should open a business bank account as soon as possible since doing so will help you keep track of business and personal finances separately and streamline tax time. It's still a good idea to do this, even if your company consists of just one person. A corporate credit card is also a great choice because it will help you keep your business and personal finances separate.

9. Acquire All Mandatory Authorizations And Registrations

Before you can lawfully launch your firm, numerous licenses and permissions may be required. Filling out all documentation is essential to avoid penalties, lawsuits, and other legal repercussions despite the potential trouble. However, licenses and permits needed to run a business in Pennsylvania may be obtained quickly and easily. Thanks to the Pennsylvania Licensing System, you may perform all your licensing business online. A checklist on the website outlines everything you'll need to submit your application.

10. Choose A Location

Location is critical when starting an e-commerce store or a brick-and-mortar eatery. Check out the population and age distribution of the area you're considering moving to. Entrepreneurs in Pennsylvania face higher-than-average tax rates, but the state's cost of living is lower than that of neighboring states like New York and Massachusetts, which helps ease the financial strain. Philadelphia, the state's largest metropolis, is the greatest city in Pennsylvania for new entrepreneurs who aren't afraid of the hustle and bustle of city life.

11. Purchase Insurance

Getting insurance to cover losses from fires and lawsuits is a smart move for any business owner. Two forms of insurance are mandated by the federal government for companies with employees, while other types may be strongly recommended or required by the state government. If you are still figuring out what kind of insurance coverage you need, it is best to speak with a professional insurance broker. It's recommended to invest in the following insurance:

  • Workers' compensation provides salary replacement and medical benefits to employees injured on the job in exchange for relinquishing the right to sue their employer for carelessness.
  • Unemployment insurance is government-provided insurance that provides weekly benefits to unemployed people who meet specific criteria.
  • Professional liability insurance protects counseling, consulting, and service-providing people and corporations from defending against a client's negligence claim and damages granted in a civil action.
  • Commercial property insurance protects a business's buildings, equipment, and office furnishings. In addition, the insurance covers property damage from covered losses.
  • Disability insurance protects a beneficiary's earned income if a disability impedes fundamental employment tasks.

12. Establish a Strong Online Identity

Putting in the time and effort to build brand recognition on the internet is a wise move for any company serious about succeeding in the future. Here are a few of the more important ones:

Design A Memorable Logo

Make logos that are easy to remember and show what your brand is all about. A simple layout will stand out more in the sea of images your customers are regularly exposed to. In addition, pictures used as thumbnails benefit greatly from minimalistic designs.

Create A User-Friendly Website 

Online shoppers are used to being able to quickly find a business's phone number, address, business hours, and products all in one place. But if you want to build a strong online presence and give your company a unique identity, you need a website that is easy to use.

Develop A Brand Message

The content and tone of your brand message should always reflect the mission and values of your business and meet immediate needs.

Prioritize SEO 

Placing your brand's success in the hands of viral content is a risk. But SEO, or search engine optimization, will make it easier for Google and other search engines to find your site.

Create Marketing Content

Any work produced in the name of a brand must adhere to specific brand guidelines. Some ways to add a human touch to your business include blogs, how-to videos, recipes, and playlists.

Starting A Business In Pennsylvania: FAQ

What Are The Prerequisites For Establishing A Business In Pennsylvania?

Follow the municipal or town's rules if you've registered your business with the state and the Pennsylvania Department of State has approved your papers.

Is A Business License Required In Pennsylvania To Establish A Business?

You don't necessarily need a business license if you are a sole proprietor in Pennsylvania. Depending on the size of your business and your own needs, however, your local government may require you to have a license to work in a certain space or, more generally, to be able to offer services.

What Does A Pennsylvania Business License Cost?

At the state level, obtaining a business license is not mandatory. But the applications and permissions you need to run a business in Pennsylvania will cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on what kind of business you start there. In addition, depending on the criteria of your profession's governing organization for licensure, you could also be required to pay annual fees to that body.


Pennsylvania has a few restrictions for starting a business, but new entrepreneurs have a lot of flexibility in structuring their enterprises. The initial investment, insurance coverage, and licensure requirements are flexible, and there are many resources to help you get started. Thanks to the state's robust small business ecosystem, entrepreneurs who want to help the Pennsylvania economy have many options.

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Note: Our content is for general information purposes only. Levy does not provide legal, accounting, or certified expert advice. Consult a lawyer, CPA, or other professional for such services.

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