Starting a business? Here’s how.
One-on-one and online assistance to start a business.
Tennessee Small Business Development Center
For one-on-one assistance getting started, contact your local TN Small Business Development Center. The TSBDC offers free assistance to help business owners grow and develop successful, thriving businesses.
TN Smart Start Guide – Smart Start Guide
This popular resource is a comprehensive guide for small businesses and would be entrepreneurs who want to know more about how to start and grow a business in Tennessee. Topics include selecting a business, setting up your business, the business plan, getting funded, business assistance and training, taxes and insurance, responsibilities and regulations, and many other great resources and contacts.
One Stop Business Resource – tn.gov/topics/Business
Get your business up and running online. Decide on a business name, file a business charter, obtain a state tax ID number, obtain an unemployment insurance number.
How to obtain a business license in Williamson County
Online tool to file for an LLC with the State
If forming a limited liability company is right for you, use the State of Tennessee’s online tool to file. The online tool will allow you to complete the required paperwork to file the necessary formation documents and pay the filing fee.
Before you begin
Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
Turning your creative idea into a business takes more than just time and money. It’s about preparation and good planning. Before you start your business plan, access your personal strengths and weaknesses. Are you a self starter? Will you be able to handle the tasks at hand – dealing with the public, becoming the decision maker, staying organized and on top of issues when they arise? With careful thought and planning, you will have a better understanding of whether or not your business will be successful.
Information on starting a business including a checklist, facts and questions, glossary of business terms, and a small business start-up guide.
Protect your idea
What makes your product different from competitors in your customers mind? Why do you think it will be successful? Does your product need a trademark or patent? Research your product and protect your idea.
File a patent application, which excludes others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the United States or importing the invention into the United States. To get a U.S. patent, an application must be filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Online resources when starting a business
Use the links below and information in this section to help guide you though the business process from creation of your business plan to networking after you’re up and running.
Tennessee Dept of State - A one stop business resource to help with deciding on a business name, filing a business charter, obtaining a state tax identification number and obtaining an unemployment number.
TN SBA - State branch of the Small Business Administration. Includes information on planning, starting and managing your small business. Also includes an exit strategy.
Nashville Entrepreneur Center - Connect with nearby entrepreneurs and get the critical resources to accelerate your business at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
Small Business Administration - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal organization with information and help with all things business related.
Social Security Administration - Business Services Online (BSO) enables organizations and authorized individuals to conduct business with and submit confidential information to the Social Security Administration.
U.S. Dept of Labor - The Department of Labor fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements.
TN Dept of Labor - Functions as the state branch of the U.S. Department of Labor. Provides services as listed above.
U.S. Patent Office - For over 200 years, the basic role of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has remained the same: to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries (Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution).
Business.gov – The official business link to the U.S. government. Information on starting a business, register, licenses and permits, taxes, expanding your business and more.
USDA Dept. of Agriculture Departmental Administration – The mission of the OSDBU is to provide maximum opportunities for small businesses to participate in USDA contracting activities by establishing and attaining small disadvantaged business program goals.
U.S. Dept of Commerce - The historic mission of the Department is “to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce” of the United States. This has evolved, as a result of legislative and administrative additions, to encompass broadly the responsibility to foster, serve, and promote the Nation’s economic development and technological advancement.
TN.gov – Provides information and links for doing business in the State of Tennessee.