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How Long Does It Take to Start a Business?

how long does it take to start a business

By Jean Murray. US Business Law / Taxes Expert

Jean Murray has the education and experience to help you become an expert in your small business, and to provide you with information about business legal and tax issues. With an MBA and a PhD in entrepreneurship, she brings almost 30 years of experience and knowledge to these important business subjects.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a CPA or attorney, and nothing on this site in articles, emails, blog posts, or other communications is intended to be tax or legal advice. The purpose of this site is to provide general information to readers. No claim is made regarding the accuracy or legal status of information on this site. Federal, state, and local laws and regulations change, and every business situation is unique. Readers should not take action on any tax or legal matter without reviewing options with a tax advisor or attorney.

You have a great idea for a business, and you are ready to get started immediately. But, there are some steps you need to take and the process of business startup can take a while. In this article, I discuss some of the basic steps in business startup and how long they take.

Before reading this, a Rule of Thumb to remember:

It ALWAYS take twice as long and costs twice as much as you think it will. ALWAYS. So double the time and double the money, and you'll be close.

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How long does it take to start a business?

The length of time it takes to start a business depends on the type of business, the complexity of the business, and the type of location.  To start a home business with no employees, no bank loan, and no manufacturing, you could probably get started in a month or two.  At the

other end of the spectrum, a business that manufactures products in a large facility, with lots of employees might take nine months or a year to get started.  In general, though, if you can find a location that doesn't need too much renovation, you can start a retail or service business in less than six months.

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  • Finding a business location - If you are going to work from home, you can start immediately. If you need a location, it might take 2-3 months to find and lease a space. If you must do renovations, it could take 6 months or more to occupy the space.
  • Starting your website, getting a phone number, local business licenses and permits - Several weeks to a month, depending on whether you must get a variance for a home business or wait for an inspector for permits.
  • Applying for state business registration (LLC, corporation) - About a month, including time to meet with an attorney and decide on the business type and details. You can apply for state business registration before you have a final location, and make that change later.
  • Getting your Employer ID from the IRS - You can apply for an EIN a online and receive the ID immediately.
  • Purchase and receive equipment and supplies - Depending on the complexity of your business, this can take several months. You will need a place to put everything, so you must coordinate deliveries with the availability of your business location.
  • Determine financing needs and search for funding sources. As I describe in more detail below, this step can take many months, so you will need to start this process many months in advance of your planned startup.

What takes the most time in starting a business?

Two tasks take the most time:

Category: Personal Finance

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