Do you want to start an entrepreneurship? If so, surely you have already thought about things like what type of company it is going to be, the products or services you are going to sell, where you are going to place your premises …
But what about the procedures to open your business? Do you know what papers you need, or where you have to present them?
Most entrepreneurs starting their first adventure in the business world forget that there are a series of very important documents without which a business cannot exist.
And when they realize this, it is already too late, and the time it takes to make these efforts forces them to delay the opening of their company by several weeks or even months.
So that the same does not happen to you, I have created this guide in which I will explain all the mandatory documents that you will have to prepare so that your business is ready on time and you do it in a completely legal way.
Just remember one thing: each country, and even each department or autonomous community, also have their own regulations and procedures that can change from one place to another.
So even if you have all the documents that I will show you below, you should also inform yourself if you need any specific role that is requested in your city.
To get it you can go to your town hall, and ask them for help there to tell you if you have all the documents in order, or if you lack any more that you must manage.
If you need it, seek help
Doing the paperwork to open a business can be a real headache. You will have to go to different places, fill out enough papers, and sign so many documents that in the end you will not even remember your own name.
But although it may seem like a maze of papers, in reality they are not complex procedures and anyone can do them.
The only thing you should have is calm and patience, because these documents usually take some time to process, and that’s why it’s a good idea to prepare all the papers you need well in advance.
If you need help to manage or find out about the entire process, you can also go to places where they will help you a lot, such as business associations, chambers of commerce, or your town hall.
Care with fines!
Although after reading all of the above, the paperwork seems somewhat complicated, relax: you just have to organize yourself well, write down all the documents you need and where to present them, and then do the corresponding procedure.
But don’t be tempted not to go through the procedures to open your business because it seems boring or a waste of time.
If after opening your business, you do not have all the necessary licenses, permits and authorizations, and the authorities hunt you down, it can have very serious consequences for you and your business.
The first is that they will completely close your business until everything has been solved.
You will have to continue paying all the expenses you have on those days, but you will not generate benefits because your business will be closed.
That is, you will be losing a lot of money during that time.
But the worst consequence is this: you will have to pay a fine for not having all the papers in order.
This sanction will depend a lot on the infraction committed, but it can go from $ 3,000 to more than $ 40,000 if it is something very serious.
And that for most businesses and their owners means not only the closure of the company, but also having large debts that you may be paying for years and years.
So if you do not want this to happen to you, do not be lazy and have all your papers in order before the opening of your business.
The 4 general procedures to open any business
In business there are two types of procedures that depend on the type of company you are going to open. Some are the generals, which are the same for any company you are going to start.
And the second types of procedures are special depending on what your venture is. For example, if you want to open a clothing store, surely no special permission is required.
But if you want to start another business such as opening a restaurant, you will need special licenses such as alcoholic beverages (if you are going to sell them), an ordinance of hygiene measures, etc.
Here I am going to explain the general documents that you will need to open your business, whatever your type of company.
1. Registration in the taxpayer registry (Treasury)
The first thing you should do is register in the taxpayer registry to register as a person who is going to start an economic activity (start your business).
In most countries, you will have to go to your tax administration and do these roles there.
The first procedure you must do is a pre-registration in which you will request an appointment to fill out the necessary forms at your Tax office.
Then they will ask for your basic information (name, surname, address, ID number or identity card) to make the final registration, and to obtain an identification number for your business.
With this, your company will be registered in the registry as a new business to be able to start trading in it.
The time it will take to resolve your request will depend on your country and your city, but usually it takes from 1 day to about 15 days.
2. Registration in the Commercial Registry
The next place to go is to the Mercantile Registry. All people who want to open a business must register their business there in order for it to be registered.
In most countries, this business registry must be renewed annually, that is, each year you will have to renew it and pay the corresponding taxes.
3. Registration with Social Security Health
This body has two different names depending on the Latin American country you are in or if you live in Spain.
In some places it is simply called Social Security, and in others it is Social Health Insurance.
In any case, you must go there and register your company with this body, and if you are going to hire employees , you must register them so that they can be listed on health insurance.
4. Register your opening license
The opening license is the document that indicates that the place for your business has all the necessary conditions for you to start trading in it.
Your location must have different characteristics depending on the type of company you are going to establish there.
For example, if it is going to be a food place, it should be well ventilated so that the kitchen fumes do not concentrate inside; if it is a clothing store, it should not have humidity that could affect the health of employees or customers, etc.
This license is compulsory for all the premises where a business is going to be set up, and must be registered in the name of the owner of the company.
To request it, you have to go to your town hall, where they will ask you to fill out a form in which you will have to say what your venture is, what activities you will do there, and what are the characteristics of the place where your business will be.
The term in which they will deliver your license will depend on the work they have in the town hall, but it can be from a few weeks to even months.
Although before giving you the final license, if the city council approves your application, they will give you a provisional license with which you can open your business much earlier.
The 3 special procedures to open your business
The above documents are the general licenses that every business must have before starting. But there are a series of special permits that you will need to obtain depending on the type of company you are going to set up.
1. Works license
Have you leased a premises but need to install shelving, change the floor, cut a wall, or replace the entire electrical system?
Then you must have a building license.
Before starting the renovations, you must make an appointment with a municipal technician from your town hall so that he can see the premises, indicate the works that need to be done, and approve the ones you want to carry out.
When you already have this license in your possession, you can make the changes you want.
If it is a major work, when you finish the remodeling you should call the technician again to make another inspection and approve what you have changed in your premises.
2. Measures to avoid noise
If in the business that you are going to start there are going to be activities with a large amount of noise or vibrations (cafes, educational centers, shows, etc.), you will need to take the necessary measures to condition your premises and prevent those noises from going outside.
The first thing you should do is ask a technician to sign a study of the noise that may be generated within your premises, and what measures should be taken to avoid noise pollution.
Then you will have to implement those measures following the instructions of said technician. For example, you may be asked to put special insulation in a specific area, a double door, etc.
Once this is done, that expert will go back to check that everything is correct, and will give you the final permission approving that your business can open.
3. License to sell alcoholic beverages
Not only do cocktail bars sell alcoholic beverages; there are also family restaurants, cafes, or grocery stores where these types of products are offered to customers.
So if you are going to serve some type of alcoholic drink in your business, you will have to go to your town hall to request this special license.
These are all the permissions you will need to start most physical businesses. But as I told you before, you should investigate and inform yourself in case your company or your city asks for any other additional license.
What do you think of these procedures to open a business? Are they less than you thought? Leave me a comment below and let me know!
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