Business Matters HOME
Analyzing the Market | Business Planning | Corporate Structure & Business Name
Financing the Business | Licensing & Regulation | Operating & Growing the Business
Small Business Links
Frequently Asked Questions (Preguntas Frecuentes)
Sign up for one of the library's free Small Business Seminars
Use our handy checklist to help get you started: Small Business Startup Checklist
Search the Library Catalog for books on small business
Locate Federal, State, and Local resources for beginning or expanding your business. Business plans, financing, legal, online courses, events and more. SBA Resource Guide, the basics of small business are covered in this handy guide from the Small Business Administration. Also find out what the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) means for your small business.
A variety of small business assistance programs to help get you started. Business development organizations, tax info., financial resources, minority business assistance, and contracting. A public-private partnership headquartered in Orlando.
Florida Small Business Development Center
Provides free, private consultations and a variety of assistance for the small business entrepreneur. Located at Seminole State College. A sub-center of the University of Central Florida's Small Business Development Center. Please see our
Business Support page for additional organizations that provide assistance and counseling to entrepreneurs.
Florida Trend's Small Business Page
Get up-to-date small business news related to Florida. Check out their Toolbox for a general overview of business plans, financing, forms, permits, licenses, labor law, taxes, insurance, trademarks, and more.
Analyzing the Market
Who are your customers? Where are your customers? Do you have any competitors? Market research is an important part of the decision-making process.
Begin your research with this Demographic Profile of Seminole County, an informative summary of population, housing, labor force, wages, education, taxes, crime, millage rates, and more. Then check out our Demographics and Economic Statistics page where you will find statistics for Seminole County and its 7 cities, the Orlando Metro area, and the State.
Find out if you have any competitors, where they are located, and if there is a need you can fill with your business by using the premier ReferenceUSA database. Find establishments in a specific geographic area by type of business, contact names, annual sales, and number of employees.
Business Plan Basics The Small Business Administration (SBA) explains the function of a plan, how to write it and use it, and includes links to sample business plans.
Business Plan Pro Software Available on designated computers at all five of our library branches. A fast, easy way to prepare a business plan. Step-by-step guidance, 500+ sample plans, provides SBA- and lender-approved formatting.
Business Plan Templates Easy-to-use templates for business plans and more from SCORE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping small business owners.
Business Plans Handbook Actual business plans written by entrepreneurs who are seeking financing for their businesses.
Sample Business Plans Hundreds of free samples for B&B's, day spas, pet services, daycares, event planning, consulting, restaurants, non-profits and more.
Corporate Structure & Business Name
Sole proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation or S Corporation? Deciding on a corporate structure boils down to one basic legal issue: the personal liability of owners for business debts.
Florida Division of Corporations The Division's Sunbiz Web site serves as the central location for Florida business filings, fictitious name registrations, trade and service mark registrations, notary commissions, and more. Start here for Florida business registration, tax registration information, and more. Get answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding doing business in Florida. Print forms or file electronically.
Registration of fictitious name for your business can be done online. Search the State of Florida Fictitious Name database for all establishments doing business as (dba) a certain name, or by keyword. The database allows searching within your county for new business names registered in the last week. Search the U.S. Trademarks database for current and past usage of names.
Please note: Registering a business in Florida may require an entity to register not only with the State but also with the local county and city governments. Corporate entities are usually required to register with the Florida Division of Corporations, while many professions are required to register with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Occupational licenses can be obtained from the county and city where you are doing business.
Financing the Business
Read a basic primer on financing from the U.S. Small Business Administration and get ideas from Florida Trend magazine on financing your business.
BusinessUSA Locate government resources to help you finance your business. BusinessUSA is a collaborative effort of government agencies to assist small businesses and exporters.
Capital Funding Government funding, grants, venture capital, bonds, start-up financing, and more. Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission.
Enterprise Florida Find out what is available to you from their funding resources.
Government Grants Find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all Federal grant-making agencies.
Government Loans Check out business loan opportunities.
Times Topics Stay up-to-date with the world of venture capital. From the New York Times.
vFinance They connect investors with entrepreneurs. Find venture capital firms and angel investors. vFinance is not a venture capital firm, agent, or broker dealer.
Licensing and Regulation
MyFlorida.com General business information including licenses, permits, regulations, taxes, and more. See also Florida Trend's Toolbox for licenses, forms, and permits.
City/Municipal If your business establishment is located within the city limits, you will be required to obtain both a city and county Business Tax Receipt/Occupational License. Altamonte Springs - Casselberry - Lake Mary/Heathrow - Longwood - Oviedo - Sanford - Winter Springs.
County Every business in Seminole County is required to maintain a current Business Tax Receipt/Occupational License. These are valid for one year, from October 1 through September 30. Check out this handy Information Guide for New Business Owners from the Seminole County Tax Collector.
State The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation regulates Florida businesses and professionals in hundreds of categories. Check here for a list of professions that require a DBPR license.
Please note: For those professions/businesses not covered by the DBPR, see the following: Child care facilities are licensed through the Florida Department of Children and Families. Agricultural services, auto repair shops, movers, health studios, travel agencies and others are regulated through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Finance-related entities such as banks, mortgage lenders, and collection agencies are licensed through the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
Operating and Growing the Business
Get answers to your questions on taxes, health insurance, workers' compensation, and more.
Assistance and Counseling Be sure to take advantage of the wonderful services provided by a variety of local organizations and educational institutions. Free or low-cost counseling, seminars, resources, and more are available.
E-Verify Use this Federal database to determine the eligibility of your employees to work in the U.S.
Employer Identification Number Apply here for your Federal Tax ID Number.
Florida Department of Revenue The DOR is responsible for collecting business taxes in Florida. A DOR Tax Payer Service Center is located in Maitland.
Florida Small Business Guide Find answers to your questions from Florida Trend magazine. Check out Florida Trend's Toolbox for Federal and State tax information.
Health Insurance Marketplace Shop for health insurance for your employees through the Federal Government's official consumer site. In addition, see Florida's Health Insurance Marketplace (not subject to Federal rules) and Health Insurance Reform & You. Find out what the Affordable Care Act means for your small business.
IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center Information, forms, publications, and more.
Labor Law Federal and State information from Florida Trend magazine.
MyFlorida.com Tax Information Sales tax, corporate income tax, online forms, and more.
Small Business Administration Florida tax obligations.
Tangible Personal Property Taxes Paid yearly on furniture, equipment, etc. that is used in a business.
Workers' Compensation As an employer, find out what you need to comply with State regulations.
Small Business Links
This is a sampling of links available for the entrepreneur. Please return to our main page for additional Web links for magazines, newspapers, networking, finance, forms, demographics and more.
BusinessUSA Locate Federal, State, and Local resources for beginning or expanding your business. Business plans, financing, legal, online courses, events and more. A collaborative effort of government agencies to assist small businesses and exporters.
Business Owners' Idea Cafe Small business tax tips, grants, business plan samples, and business owner forum.
Business Statistics Useful Financial ratios, business statistics and benchmarks.
Florida Division of Corporations Search, electronic filing, forms, fees. Sunbiz.
Florida Small Business Development Center Provides free, private consultations and a variety of assistance for the small business entrepreneur. Located at Seminole State College. A sub-center of the University of Central Florida's Small Business Development Center.
Florida Trend's Florida Small Business Start-up, Doing Business, In the Know, and Hot Topics.
Home Business Online magazine for home-based business owners.
Investor's Business Daily Investing advice for the beginning as well as the experienced investor.
My Own Business Free Internet courses on starting a business with resources and forums. Presented by successful business owners.
National Entrepreneur Center Provides a single location where small businesses can access a variety of business resources, technology, and research tools. Get free one-on-one counseling, sign up for low-cost seminars, and more. A public-private partnership. Sponsors include Walt Disney World, Bright House, UCF, and Orange County. Exporters might want to check out the U.S. Export Assistance Center, located within the NEC in Orlando.
Orlando Business Journal Local business news, resources, and more. Check out their Book of Lists, available at Reference in various branches.
Orlando Sentinel Business Central Florida business news from the area's popular, daily newspaper.
SCORE This non-profit organization is dedicated to entrepreneurial education and the success of small businesses. Contact them for free, one-on-one counseling services or sign up for one of their business seminars.
U.S. Small Business Administration Financial, technical, and management assistance. SBA Resource Guide The basics of small business are covered in this handy guide for the North Florida area, including Orlando. SBA Online Learning Center Online training, videos, and chat sessions on a variety of topics. Also find out what the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) means for your small business.
Wall Street Journal Small Business Business and financial news of interest to entrepreneurs.