Your Startups Pre-Launch Checklist: Business License (Part 3 of 14)

The Business License from the Startup Garage
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As mentioned before in the introduction to this series, there are various legal preparations an entrepreneur must take before launching his or her startup. Over the next few posts we will discuss all of the different licenses, permits and documents you, the entrepreneur, will need and how to get them. One of the fundamental actions that almost every business must take is getting a business license.


What is a Business License?

Almost all startups need a local business license. In basic terms, a business license gives an entrepreneur permission to operate his or her startup in a certain geographical area, whether it is for the city, county, state or federal level. As a result, the type of business license you will need will depend on how big your new venture is going to be. The nature of your business may also determine if you need more than just a general business license. For example, if you are going to open a juice bar, not only will you need a general business license at the city level, but you are also going to have to apply for a health permit because of guidelines related to food service businesses.

What Do You Need?

Getting the business licenses you need for your startup isnt the most difficult thing to do, so you wont need a lawyer. What you do need to do is to organize all of your paperwork beforehand. This means making sure that you have any fictitious business name certificates as well as your Employer Identification Number. Once youre organized, the best bet is to contact your local and county government offices and check what kinds of licenses you need to apply for. Your local government will most likely give you some applications to fill out along with a list of fees to pay. Once you hand in all of your paperwork, you should be good to go!

What Kind of Business Licenses Are There?

Below we have listed some of the most common business licenses. If you want to go into more detail, visit and checkout if there are any special permits you need for your specific area.

  • General Business License
  • Zoning and Land Use Permits
  • Health Department Permits
  • Sales Tax License
  • Fire Department Permits.

We would also like to recommend that you finish writing your business plan before you start any of these pre-launch action items. Many people think that getting your business license is one of the first steps to starting a business, but creating a solid business plan before you launch will greatly improve your chance of success.

Next we will be going over how to register a fictitious business name. Read on!


Whether you have a question about your Business License or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

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About Tyler Jensen

I work with entrepreneurs who are looking to attract investment and get out of the "Garage". I am passionate about helping entrepreneurs start companies that matter. I helped launch over 100 Companies, Non-Profits and Social Enterprises. I consider myself a serial entrepreneur, startup coach & trusted advisor. * Launching New Companies (For Profit, Non-Profit and Social Enterprise) * Expert Business Plan Writer * Extensive Network of Business Relationships focused on Launch & Rapid Growth of New Companies * Startup, Growth, Marketing, Technology, Web, Business Systems * Trusted Advisor to CEO’s & Entrepreneurs * Capital Raising Strategy Development * Startup Team Development The first company I started and sold is VAVi Sport & Social Club which grew to over 25,000 members in six years, was recognized as San Diego’s 30th fastest growing private company in 2006 by the San Diego Business Journal and 32nd fastest in 2007, and sold for over 25X the capital investment.