How to Start your Business in Massachusetts Step by Step

You may be ready to turn your dream of opening a business and making it reality! You need to do everything to be in compliance so your Massachusetts based business can be successful. Sadly, many first time business owners fail because they didn’t have the right information to work from.

It definitely takes hard work and dedication to make it all fall into place. You can’t overlook compliance issues though or that can get you into deep trouble. When you follow the right format, you can have a thriving business doing something you are very passionate about!

There is plenty for you to think about. You have to develop the business by making very good decisions. You have to pay attention to the legal aspects and also the financial elements. With the right planning and information, you can be prepared, you can avoid common pitfalls, and you can reach the goals you set for your Massachusetts business!

Plan Early

While you may be eager to get your business up and running, don’t do it too quickly. Spend plenty of time in the planning stages. Give yourself ample time to bring it all together. Be patient with the process as it will pay off in the end. Think about why you are going into a certain type of business and what you will get out of it.

Create a Business Plan

You need a detailed business plan to help you launch your Massachusetts business. It will be a summary of what you plan to do, who your investors are going to be, where you will be located, your niche market, and how to make this a viable business opportunity. It will include forecasting for your first year and also who your competitors are.

Learn from the Best

Take advantage of business related resources in your state. They can help you to gain knowledge. You can learn through training and you can obtain business counseling. Such experiences can help you to feel confident and to create a solid foundation for your business. It can also help you to avoid common pitfalls that cause other Massachusetts businesses to fail.


You need a prime location for your business. It needs to be convenient for yoru customers to find. It needs to get plenty of foot traffic from those that just happen to see it when they go by. Think about the overall access, zoning laws, and even the cost to buy or rent property in that area.


How will you pay for your startup costs? That capital can come from your savings and from investors. You may have equity in your home or obtain a small business loan. There are various grants and loans out there you may qualify for based on your location and the type of business you are starting. Find out what they require and how you apply for them.

Type of Business Structure

You will need to select a business structure. The right one will depend on how you plan to operate your business. It will depend on the ownership. Each of the structures has different regulations for taxes and for legal elements. It is wise to take a look at them and to evaluate the pros and cons. This will help you to narrow it down for your specific business. The options include:

  • Cooperative
  • Corporation
  • Limited liability Company (LLC)
  • Partnership
  • S Corporation
  • Sole proprietorship

DBA Certification

You need to separate your personal finances from those relating to the business. A DBA is a Doing Business As certification. If you have your business in a name that isn’t your own, you need it. You will go to the county Clerk Recorder office in Massachusetts that services the region where your business will be located to obtain the DBA certificate.


You should obtain an EIN, short for Employer Identification Number, for tax purposes. This is a Federal number and it is used in lieu of your social security number for your business taxes.

Business Registration

If your business structure is any of the following, you will need to register the business with the state. They include:

  • Corporation
  • LLC
  • Partnership

By law, you must register the business with the Massachusetts Secretary of State before you can conduct any business activities.

Permits and Licensure

Find out if you a required to obtain any permits or licenses to legally conduct your type of business. There are different rules and regulations on the following levels:

  • Local
  • Federal
  • State

It is your responsibility to make sure you are in compliance with all of them. You will get into a great deal of trouble if you aren’t operating your business legally. You can’t use the excuse you weren’t aware of what you needed either.

Responsibilities and Regulations

You must understand and abide by the legal steps for hiring employees to work in your Massachusetts business. There are many areas you have to comply with. Take your time to learn all of the information and get help if you don’t understand something. Some of the big issues you need to be on top of include:

  • Health and safety standards
  • Health insurance
  • Minimum wage
  • Taxes
  • Unemployment insurance