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How to Start a Business In Michigan

May 8, 2023 · 7 minutes to read

A female entrepreneur sitting in her home office

The Great Lake State is home to nearly 912,000 small businesses as of 2022, and yours could be next! This guide will walk you through starting a business in Michigan, including finding business insurance to help protect your growing company.

Great business ideas in Michigan for 2023 (and beyond!)

You might already have a great business idea that you’re ready to launch. However, you might be stuck for ideas or just unsure if what you have in mind will work. Here are a few great business ideas to inspire your brainstorming efforts:

  • Consulting – Do you have years of experience working in a particular industry? You could put that expertise to use as a consultant. You can advise other businesses how to become more efficient, boost their profits, improve employee morale, and improve other parts of their company. Agriculture and manufacturing consultants may be in high demand in parts of Michigan, as these are two of the top industries in the state.
  • Online content writing – If you’re a clear and concise writer, then you might consider starting an online content writing business. One benefit is that you can work with clients anywhere in the world, not just those in Michigan!
  • Bed and breakfast – Tourism is another big industry in Michigan. Opening a bed and breakfast (B&B) could be a great way to earn money, particularly if you already own a nice home with extra rooms. Depending on where you live, your B&B might cater to specific groups of tourists, such as people following the fall foliage or hunters.
  • Handyman or handywoman – The “jack of all trades” of the contractor world, a handyman or handywoman helps busy homeowners, renters, and business owners keep their properties in tip-top shape. This could be a good way to earn money while using your home improvement and repair skills.
  • Cleaning services – If you’re a cleaning whizz, then offering cleaning services could be an excellent business idea. You can offer your services to residential or commercial clients. Many cleaning businesses focus on specific tasks, such as windows and screens or kitchen appliances.

How to open a small business in Michigan

Ready to start a business in Michigan? There are several steps to bring your idea to life. This starting a business in Michigan checklist walks you through these steps.

1. Research and plan

Doing some prep work before registering your business could help set you up for success. For many small businesses, writing a business plan is an essential first step. This document helps you set goals and measure your performance in the early days of running your business.

A business plan typically includes market and competitor research. This information can be used to determine the demand for your products or services in your area, what your competitors are offering, and how much they are charging. You may identify opportunities to make your business even better from day one.

2. Choose a business structure

Michigan businesses can choose to structure themselves in different ways. The structure you choose will impact how you must register your business and file business taxes. An accountant may be able to help you pick the right business structure for your company.

Sole proprietors and partnerships are common business structures used by Michigan small businesses. These structures are made up of one person running a business by themselves (sole proprietor) or two or more people running a business together (partnership).

3. Register your business

Registering a sole proprietorship in Michigan does not require special paperwork if your business name includes your given name (for example, an John Smith – Mechanic). However, if you are doing business under a different name (like Speedy Mechanic Shop), you will need to file an assumed name certificate with your local county clerk’s office.

LLCs and corporations must take additional steps to register in Michigan. You will need to file either articles of organization (LLC) or articles of incorporation (corporation) with the Michigan state government.

4. Apply for tax IDs

You may need to apply for a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. This number helps identify your business and allows you to open business bank accounts, file taxes, and handle payroll. An EIN is optional for sole proprietors and required for LLCs and corporations.

Michigan businesses must also register with the state Department of Treasury. You will receive a Sales Tax License, which allows you to collect sales tax on applicable goods and services.

5. Apply for licenses and permits

Not everyone needs a business license in Michigan to operate legally. You can search the state’s License Search to learn which licenses and permits may apply to your small business.

6. Consider Michigan business insurance

Many small businesses consider different types of insurance to help protect their business against unexpected expenses, like legal fees, compensation costs, employee medical bills, and damaged property.

Depending on what you do or sell, you may be required to have certain types of coverage. General Liability may be necessary to lease commercial space or work with specific clients. Errors and Omissions in Michigan may be required to obtain or renew a professional license. Workers’ Compensation is required for most Michigan businesses if you have employees.

7. Open a business bank account

You may be required to open a separate bank account for your small business. Even if it’s not mandatory, you might still consider doing so. Keeping your personal and business finances apart can simplify running your business. It will be easier to track money coming in and going out of the account and file business taxes.

8. Look for other funding

Small business owners often seek additional funding to help them get started. This money may be used to buy stock or equipment, pay your staff, and generally run your business until you’re able to turn a profit.

Bank loans and small business grants are popular options for many small business owners. You may also look for investors, either someone with a history of funding new startups or family and friends who are able to help build your dream.

9. Build your brand

To attract new customers, you’ll probably want to think about your business’ brand. A brand is made up of the different elements that make your business unique (business name, logo, colors, language used in writing, services, etc.). Great branding makes a business easy to identify and remember.

Part of building your brand is crafting your online presence. A professional website is expected for nearly all small businesses, and social media accounts are also essential for many. These online platforms are great ways to promote your business and share your brand with potential customers.

BizInsure helps protect Michigan businesses

A successful and thriving small business may be part of your future with hard work and a little luck. As you make your dream a reality, consider Michigan business insurance options to help safeguard what you are building.

BizInsure makes it simple for Michigan small business owners to find and buy coverage online in as little as 10 minutes. Compare policy options, including Errors and Omissions for Michigan businesses, from A-rated insurers from across the country and save!

*As with any insurance, coverage will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.
**This information is a general guide only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always check with your local licensing board when getting or renewing your electrician’s license to ensure you are meeting their current licensing requirements.
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