Congrats, Pet Boss! You’ve asked yourself some tough questions to build the foundation of that pet business idea you’ve been brainstorming for so long (if you missed those, you can find them here).
Now, what’s next?
It’s time to get serious and protect yourself while becoming a real business.
Protection can mean lots of different things, but first, let’s focus on the legalities! These are the things that will legitimize your business in the real world, and protect you should anything go wrong along the way.
Here are three ways to legally protect your new pet business:
1. Claim your name!
Sounds fun, right?! And it should be! Come up with a long list of potential names to work with, and then search them in the U.S. patent and trademark office database. You’ll want to choose something that isn’t already trademarked so you don’t run into any issues.
Once you decide on a name, make sure you can get the social media handles and website domain name that you want. If those are not available, you may want to consider something else. While you don’t necessarily have to trademark the name you decide on, we encourage it! Trademarking your name is an important piece of growth. The name sticks around, so really think about the future of your business! You can apply to trademark yourself, or work with a trademark attorney to complete the process.
2. Decide if you’re a sole proprietorship, a corporation, or an LLC.
You may be asking yourself, “what difference does it make?” The variations between these are in legal liability, tax implications, the cost of the formation of the entity, and any ongoing administration of that entity. You’ll have to dig into a little research to figure out what is going to be the best fit for the future of your business (which you already thought about when you built that foundation)! You can find some great initial information at legalzoom.com, but if you have the budget, hiring someone local who is well versed in establishing businesses legally is a great option! That way you always have access to someone specific for questions and concerns, and they can get to know your business more personally.
After you establish which type of business you are with your state, you’ll apply for a federal ID number (FEIN number). You’ll use this number to pay your taxes and apply for other resources for doing business. You’ll also want to seek out any other registrations you might need, like city registration, resale certificates, or specific permits or licensing (depending on what your business does).
To investigate what you might need further, team up with your local Chamber of Commerce or score office, and check out your Secretary of State’s website! This is also an area where a local point person would be handy to have on call.
3. Get business insurance.
We’ll just get straight to the point– you never know what kind of nonsense is going to happen when you start a business. It’s best to be as protected as possible!
When shopping around for insurance, you want to find an agent who truly understands the in’s and out’s of your business, everything you offer, and the potential risk factors associated with those offerings. (Here is our recommended insurer. He’s the best!)
What kind of insurance do you need exactly? You’ll want to look into:
- General liability
- Commercial property insurance
- Business income insurance
- Data breach insurance
- Workers’ comp
- Professional liability
- Commercial umbrella
- Commercial auto (if you’ve got any transportation vehicles)
Yes, that list is a bit daunting, but you don’t have to do this alone! Utilize the professionals. You are not a business insurer, but you can ask them the right questions to make sure that every scenario you might find yourself in would be covered. Leave no stone unturned!
Legalities can make our heads spin sometimes, but they are so important to building the legitimate pet business you’ve been dreaming of in your head!
For more details on the legalities surrounding starting a pet business, and MORE tips for getting started in general, listen to episode 14 of the Boss Your Business Podcast! Candace shares lots of real-life examples of what she experienced every step of the way.
Learn more with us!
- Need 1:1 support to make massive action now? Book a discovery call with us to see if working 1:1 with Candace is the right fit for you.
- Get on the waitlist! You’re passionate about pets. It’s time to have a business that supports the life you want, too! Learn the specific techniques to find new customers, to increase sales and to build a better team for ANY kind of pet business by joining the Pet Boss Club! Get on the waitlist here.