Starting a company

How to Start A Business In Tennessee

Key Takeaways

  • Establishing a business requires executing the business idea using the proper structure. 
  • The business should have a unique name that has a similar website domain name.
  • A business plan and a marketing plan should be in order at the time of opening the business. 
  • Registering the business in Tennessee will depend on the business static tire and the regulations of the Secretary of State.  
  • The path of funding can be through loans and grants after using savings and loans from friends or family.

Critical Points for Starting a Business in Tennessee

A business in Tennessee has to abide by the laws and regulations of the state. It should also be able to hold its own in a competitive industry. Whatever structure you choose should also reap benefits in the long run. From funding to getting registered, everything should be done by the book. It is also essential to begin with, a targeted business and marketing plan so the business can make its identity in the state for its services. Starting a small business in Tennessee will require dedication and knowledge of everything that needs to be done. The following critical points outline everything that a new business owner should do in Tennessee:

Find the Right Business Idea

The primary concern while establishing a business is finding the right business idea. The right business idea depends on the entrepreneur and the industry they want to serve. Profit-making should be the end goal, but business owners should also aim to contribute something to the industry in which they will establish their business. The idea can vary depending on personal interest, prior knowledge, and business exposure. The right business idea would motivate the owners to go on and keep up with the changing trends in the industry. 

Choose the Correct Business Structure

The right business structure will decide the ownership and management style of the organization. The credibility and financial performance can significantly depend on an organization's business structure. There are five different types of ownership structures, all of which offer different benefits to the owners. 

  • Sole Proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is not separate from its owner. All the profits and losses belong entirely to the owner. The owner is also fully liable for any suits filed against the company. 
  • LLC: A limited liability company protects its owners or members in case of any personal or financial liability. An LLC is a company separate from its owners and will suffer its liability. One can also benefit from tax flexibility while running an LLC.
  • Corporation: A corporation is also a separate legal entity, but the ownership structure is different from an LLC. A corporation is owned by its shareholders. The ownership structure attracts investors and helps with funding. 
  • Partnership: A partnership works like a sole proprietorship in terms of liability, but it can have multiple owners. It is an informal business structure.
  • Non-profits: A non-profit organization is a business structure that works by obtaining donations. The main reason for the function of a non-profit organization is to help the community by furthering a social cause. 

Find the Right Name and Make a Website

After choosing the most favorable business structure, it is essential to start the registration process. For registration, one first needs to finalize the name of the organization. The right name should be unique and definitive of your business idea. If you have an idea, make sure to check it against the Tennessee name database to make sure there are no repetitions. 

One should also check out the Secretary of State's website to find the right name and book it until the registration formalities are complete. It is also essential to note that while choosing a suitable name for your business is important, one should also prepare to establish a dedicated business website. A domain name that corresponds to the business's name is just as important. Therefore, one should find a domain name that is the same or similar to the business name. If such a domain is unavailable, it might be helpful to have a backup name option.

Get the Plan in Order

The business plan should be ready when you are going to register it. You should be prepared with all the resources. After selecting the right name for the business and tech website, the next part is to conduct adequate marketing research. The reception to your services will depend on the locale and the shopping habits of people there. 

A thorough market research would prepare you to choose the correct location where the business can flourish and where you can find the resources to conduct the business smoothly. The location should make everything accessible, from inventory to customers. The next step is to formulate a business plan and how your organization would work once established. It can help regulate daily practices and give you promising results. 

Register the Business in Tennessee

Registering the business in Tennessee depends on the type of business structure of your choosing. For instance, an LLC might require additional documents like an Operating Agreement or Articles of Organization. The submission fees will depend on whether the document submission is online or offline. For a corporation, one has to submit formation documents and hold an organizational meeting. One can submit the required documents by mailing or online with a fee of $100. 

A non-profit organization requires you first to choose the board members and formulate a Conflict of Interest Policy. The Articles of Incorporation are also important, and a non-profit might also have to apply for a 501(c)(3) Status. Additionally, if the organization is a separate legal entity, one has to find a registered agent in Tennessee to represent the organization and handle all the communication. The register net can be a person who is a resident of Tennessee, or it can be an organization given a permit to function in Tennessee. The registered agent should have their mailing address. 

Start Banking in the Name of Your Business

Making a bank account in the name of your business will not only help to sort through your finances but will also help in filing taxes. The taxes will be filed with the Internal Revenue Service of Tennessee. Separate banking accounts and cards can also help in asset protection and easy management of daily operations. The business is also eligible for credit cards which can build their credit history and make them suitable for loans in the future. When the business separates its bank accounts, it is also helpful to hire professional accounts to get the financial affairs in order. The expenditure and the management can be better managed with accounting. 

Find the Path of Funding

Every business needs capital. The funding of the business will depend on the overall costs of the business. The inventory of the operations needs to be factored in a while estimating the organization's general expenses. In Tennessee, the path of funding will depend entirely on the needs of the business. The following are the usual types of funding options available to new business owners: 

  • Bootstrapping: This is the first funding option when you dip into your savings to collect capital for your business endeavors. Your current earnings can also factor into the budget. After the business starts earning a profit, it will be reinvested in the company. 
  • Friends and Family: After collecting as many funds as possible from one’s reserves. The next natural step is to ask friends and family for assistance. Friends and family can be great lenders as long as you enter into an agreement beforehand to avoid any possible conflicts in the future. 
  • Small Business Loans: If your business has been established for a while and has a credible credit profile, you can approach any bank or lending institution for aid. Small business loans are a principal source of funding. 
  • Small Business Grants: While loans from institutions and families need to be repaid in some capacity, one has to pay back money received through a grant. To avail of the grants, one has to submit an application or fill out a form from the grantors. 

Get Everything Insured

One should pay attention to insurance, especially when they are setting up a business. This is because it can help manage a lot of factors in case of any accidents in the future. The following three are the most common types of insurance policies: 

  • General Liability Insurance: It is perfect for all small businesses and business owners currently operating from home. 
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Any company or organization that has more than five workers is mandated by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. 
  • Professional Liability Insurance: Professional liability insurance offers protection against the non-completion of contracts. It is most helpful for companies offering professional advice, like consulting firms. 

Looking into the details of the insurance policy, like the premium and the duration of coverage, is very helpful for a business. 

Get all Licenses and Permits

Even after your business receives its registration details, some prerequisites are left. For instance, one must comply with all federal and state laws. In addition, the licenses allow for operating in a particular area and a particular industry, whereas permits are more specific to the business practice. For instance, any business that offers dining or food delivery would need to comply with health regulations and other building permits. In Tennessee, you can filter the search by the type of business and the location where you are establishing it. 

  • Federal: The US SBA (Small Business Administration) guide can help find the relevant licenses and permits. 
  • State: For state compliances, you can look through the website of the Tennessee State Government on their Licenses & Permits webpage.
  • Local: For specific small areas, it is essential to check with the local county clerk for details about the licensing in the area. 

Become an Employer

There might be instances where a new business owner would want to work alone until the practice is established. However, if the business wants workers, they would need to become an employer on paper to be eligible for hiring employees. Hiring new employees is an internal process related to the IRS and employee taxes. Additionally, the state of Tennessee also needs to know which business is hiring employees in a professional capacity. Reporting new hires can be very easy when you have received your Employer Identification Number or EIN. 

Choose the Right Marketing Strategy

When a business is set up, one has to build its image and create a brand. An excellent promotional strategy can help introduce your new services into the location of the business or worldwide if you are providing service remotely. The marketing strategy will include brand building which is essential in any competitive industry or in a locale where existing businesses providing similar services are present. The primary focus should be on your mission and vision while holding on to your core values. Additional marketing can be executed through the use of social media and brochures. One also needs to create a logo to be more identifiable to all potential clients. Using word-of-mouth references can also help increase footfall in the initial days. 


A business in Tennessee would be registered with authorities by understanding the business structure. The fees for the registration process would be different depending on the legal form of the business. Additionally, business owners will need to have licenses and permits. A good business plan and marketing strategy would give the new organization a chance to build a good customer base based on the demographic in Tennessee. 

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