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How to start a business in Austin

Step by Step Guide to Starting a Business in Austin

Pondering over the idea of starting a business in Austin, Texas? This relaxed, comprehensive guide will help you navigate the different business structures, their perks and drawbacks, and the critical steps to take.

Texas Business Structures:

Sole Proprietorship: Pros:

  • Affordable and simple to create
  • Complete authority over your enterprise
  • Tax filing is uncomplicated, using your personal income tax return


  • Personal assets are at risk due to unlimited liability
  • Difficulty in securing capital
  • The business ceases to exist if the owner passes away or becomes incapacitated

Limited Liability Company (LLC): Pros:

  • Safeguards personal assets through limited liability
  • Pass-through taxation on individual profits
  • Adaptable management options


  • More intricate and costly to establish compared to a sole proprietorship
  • State filings are required annually
  • Self-employment taxes may apply

Corporation (C or S Corporation): Pros:

  • Limited personal liability for shareholders
  • Ability to raise capital by issuing shares
  • The business endures regardless of shareholder changes


  • Expensive and complex to establish
  • C corporations face double taxation (corporate and individual levels)
  • Rigid regulations and thorough record-keeping are mandatory

Steps to Launch a Business in Austin, Texas:

  1. Evaluate the most appropriate business structure, considering the pros and cons mentioned above.
  2. Choose a unique business name and register it with the Texas Secretary of State. For an LLC or corporation, this process occurs during formation.
  3. Acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, which is essential for tax purposes and required by most businesses.
  4. Register with the Texas Comptroller to manage state taxes, including sales and franchise taxes.
  5. Research and secure any necessary licenses and permits from the City of Austin and Travis County, as requirements differ by business type.
  6. Open a separate bank account to effectively manage business and personal finances.
  7. Obtain suitable business insurance, including general liability, property insurance, and workers' compensation (if hiring employees).
  8. Craft a detailed business plan to steer your operational, marketing, and financial strategies.
  9. Seek financing from banks, investors, or government programs for small businesses, if needed.
  10. Design a marketing strategy that appeals to your target audience and showcases your products or services.

Extra Tips for Businesses in Texas:

  • Stay informed about federal, state, and local regulations that affect your industry and ensure your business adheres to them.
  • Keep up to date with federal, state, and local tax obligations, filing and paying on time.
  • Engage with local business organizations, attend relevant events, and consult with accomplished entrepreneurs or industry mentors for invaluable advice.
  • For assistance with particular aspects of running your business, consider enlisting professionals such as attorneys, accountants, or business consultants.

By staying well-informed and weighing these factors, you'll be better equipped to make educated decisions and pave the way for a successful business in Austin, Texas.