How to Start a Small Business in Texas

How to Start a Small Business in Texas

By: Nicholas Sollitto

 | 

October 3, 2022

While starting a small business in the State of Texas can be challenging, it can also be a very rewarding pursuit. This labor of love will require funding, focus, time, energy (maybe even affordable self-storage) and an endless supply of passion.

From Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos, the most successful business minds of our time all have one thing in common: they’re relentlessly passionate about their ideas. If you’re not passionate about your small business, you will have a hard time getting it off the ground, and an even tougher time dealing with potential setbacks and challenges. Therefore, choosing the perfect business idea is the first step you need to take toward starting a successful small business in Texas.

This guide will take you through the basic steps of starting a business in The Lone Star State. We’ll start by exploring exactly what “choosing the perfect business idea” means and then dive into more nuances of starting a small business in Texas.

1. Choose the ‘Perfect’ Small Business Idea

The perfect business idea doesn’t exist. It just doesn’t. Even Amazon, Twitter and Tesla have their own sets of flaws, and while it may seem like these economic giants simply sprouted overnight, they each required dedication, hard work and sacrifice from inception through implementation to become successful.

For this reason, choosing the perfect business idea is less about choosing what you think will be the most profitable and more about choosing an idea that combines your passion, expertise and abilities with the demand and desire from your target audience.

In other words, the best small business ideas are ones that leverage human talent, passion and interest to provide services or goods to an equally passionate audience. When deciding upon what type of small business you are going to start, make sure to also consider where you are going to start the said business.

Certain business ideas may be well suited for a particular town or city, where the services you offer fill a void. However, in other locations, there might be endless competition in the same vertical.

2. Develop a Small Business Plan

When it comes to starting a small business in Texas, you can’t plan enough. Make sure you scrutinize and carefully work through every step of your small business before dedicating significant resources to the idea. While each business will have its own endless list of variables, here are a few tasks you should complete in the first stages of planning:

  1. Research the competition and market
  2. Give your business a name
  3. Find a home for your business
  4. Develop a business plan

A: Research competition and local market

Before diving deep into the details of your business, you need to research your competition. If there are already three bakeries on the same street in Austin, is it worth starting your own? Researching the competition doesn’t have to dull your dreams, instead, it should actualize your ideas. Continuing to use the bakery business as an example, maybe you can find a portion of Austin that doesn’t have a bakery, or maybe the products you offer will differentiate you from every other baker on the block (a vegan bakery amid a sea of Krispy Kremes might do well).

B: Brainstorm a name for your business

Already have a name in mind for your small business? Make sure your idea abides by Texas’ naming conventions. You should also consider if your business’s name will attract customers and market your brand’s personality.

At this point, you should also check to see if domains and social media accounts are available. If you find your name is already taken on Instagram or Facebook, you might be able to secure an account with a slight variation. Think: RaisedInAustin versus RaisedBakeryAustin.

C: Find a home for your business

You will also need to decide where your business will be located. If you’re planning to open your business in a particular city, which area is best suited for your business? Will you be opening a brick-and-mortar business or running it from home? Do your research when deciding where your business will be located, as its location will determine what permits you need as well as your business’s marketing strategy.

D: Develop a business plan

Now, after you have researched the competition, brainstormed a name for your business, and given your business a home, you need to develop a business plan.

What value does your business provide? How will your business supply this value to customers? How will customers find your business? What will your business’ marketing strategy be? These are just a few of the questions you should be considering when developing a business plan. This guide from Forbes Magazine breaks down the process in more detail.

3. Raise Funds for Your Business

Once you have a good handle on the ins and outs of your endeavor you will need to secure funding. Every business has startup costs, and most business owners use outside funding to cover these costs.

The following are the most common funding strategies used to start a small business:

  • Small Business Bank Loans
  • Small Business Grants
  • Loans from Friends and Family
  • Personal Funds (bootstrapping)

Before looking for outside funding, make sure you have a financial plan in place. This financial plan should cover the extent of your business’s startup costs as well as an estimate of when the business will become profitable. A more formal report may be needed if you are attempting to secure a loan from a financial institution.

4. Register Your Business in Texas

Next, you will need to register your business in the State of Texas. The process for registering your business will be slightly different depending upon the structure of your business. Are you starting an LLC, a corporation, or a nonprofit? 

The steps for starting an LLC, corporation or nonprofit in Texas are listed below. For more information on starting an LLC, corporation or nonprofit in Texas, read the selecting a business structure guide from the Texas Secretary of State.

How to start an LLC in Texas

  1. Name your LLC
  2. Choose a Texas registered agent
  3. File your LLC in Texas
  4. Draft an operating agreement
  5. Get an Employer Identification Number

How to start a corporation in Texas

  1. Name your corporation
  2. Choose a Texas registered agent
  3. Hold an organization meeting
  4. File formation records
  5. Get an Employer Identification Number

How to form a nonprofit in Texas

  1. Name your nonprofit
  2. Choose a Texas registered agent
  3. Select board members
  4. Draft bylaws and policies
  5. File formation records
  6. Get an Employer Identification Number
  7. Apply for 501(c)(3) status

5. Set Up Business Accounts

Opening banking accounts for your small business is necessary to properly protect your personal assets. If you don’t separate your business and personal accounts, your personal assets (home, car, other valuables) will be at risk if your business is sued.

The best way to protect your small business in Texas is to follow these steps:

  1. Open a bank account using your business’ legal name
  2. Apply for a credit card using your business’ legal name
  3. Hire a business accountant to manage your finances

6. Get Insurance, Permits and Licenses

The next steps in starting your small business in Texas are to get insurance, permits and licenses. The type of insurance you need for your business will vary depending upon the type and scope of your business.

The most common types of business insurance are:

The State of Texas does not require businesses to obtain common types of business insurance. However, to be best protected, you should still obtain a policy to cover each of the three listed above. Permits, on the other hand, are required at the federal, state and local level. At this point, you will need to research what type(s) of licenses and permits your business needs to comply with regulations at each level.

7. Hire Employees

Unless you are your business’s sole employee, at some point you will need to hire employees to take your business to the next level. You’ll need to balance finding the right talent and following all requirements for hiring employees legally in the state of Texas. You’ll also need to be mindful of IRS laws when hiring employees.

As your business grows, you should start to develop a benefits package for your employees. Developing a benefits package will allow you to attract greater talent and create a culture of support.

8. Develop Your Brand

While “brand” might seem like something reserved for million-dollar corporations, even the smallest of businesses can benefit from having a memorable brand. A great way to develop a brand is to consider the following questions:

  • Why will customers want to do business with me?
  • What are the values of my business?
  • What value am I providing to my business?
  • What personality traits define my business?
  • How does my business stand out in the marketplace?

At this point, you will also want to lay the framework for how your business speaks with its customers and how it appears to its customers. To achieve this, you will want to draft a verbal and visual guide for your brand and business.

9. Market Your Business

There are a variety of strategies small businesses use to promote their goods and services. Once you start your small business, you can develop a marketing strategy of your own. The best marketing strategies take a multi-level approach, which involves using a variety of interconnected methods to promote a business.

The most common methods for promoting a small business in Texas are:

  1. Press releases
  2. Social media
  3. Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)
  4. Print and video advertisements
  5. Search engine optimization or paid search

10. Utilize Self Storage

Once you have your business up and running, you may find that you have a real need for self-storage. Whether you need space to increase your inventory or store documents, you can count on Store Space to provide affordable and secure business storage solutions.

Use our storage finder to locate the Store Space facility nearest to you. Our facilities are equipped with a variety of storage options including:

Texas Startup FAQs:

Residents of Texas frequently research a number of small business models. We’ve included some of the most common ones below, as well as a couple of tips you’ll need to keep in mind.

How to start a cleaning business in Texas?

Starting a cleaning business in Texas is a great idea! To get started, you will need to conduct market research, create a business plan and name your cleaning business. After completing each of these steps, you will then need to register your business with the state of Texas, get insurance, and file for all the necessary permits and licenses.

How do I start a food truck business in Texas?

  1. Form an LLC for your food trailer
  2. Apply for a Texas Sales and Use Tax permit
  3. Complete market research
  4. Check for, and join local food truck associations
  5. Purchase a food trailer or food truck
  6. Buy insurance for your food truck
  7. Register your truck or trailer with the DMV
  8. Pass a Food Managers Certification class
  9. Set up an appointment for inspection
  10. Make arrangements with local businesses to park your truck

How to start a catering business in Texas?

To start a catering business in Texas you will need to follow the standard steps for creating any business and obtain some permits and licenses specific to catering and food handling. Start by drafting your business plan, obtaining insurance and applying for permits and licenses that are required for catering businesses.

Final Thoughts on Starting Your Small Business in Texas

Now that you have read our guide on how to start a small business in Texas, you are one step closer to getting your business up and running. Remember as your business evolves, you may need to refocus your marketing strategy or reposition your target market.

It’s also important to remember there are several free resources you can use to assist you and your small business.

If you’re ever in need of affordable storage solutions, simply stop into one of our facilities, complete a Touchless Rental online or give us a call.

Yes, it’s that easy. Within minutes, your small business can start benefiting from secure and affordable storage.

writer nicholas sollitto and his sweater

Nicholas Sollitto is a contributor to Store Space who also enjoys rooting for the Detroit Red Wings, reading Vonnegut, and hiking.

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