As a small business owner, you must be confident that you cover all your bases with organizational credentials and licenses. If you don’t have the licenses that you need, you may run afoul of your jurisdiction’s statutory law governing corporations. It could also put you in violation of local ordinances or professional regulations that are unique to your business activities. Familiarize yourself with the credentials that you need so you can avoid having to contend with these types of compliance concerns.

Business Entity

Creating a corporate entity is one of the first things small business owners must do to get their licenses in order. Articles of incorporation or a partnership aren’t licenses, but they help establish legitimacy in the same way. Furthermore, you’re probably going to need to formally organize your business to procure various forms of licensing for it.

Operating License

To participate in local commerce, you’ll need an operating license. This type of license enables you to operate your business from a specific location and apply local taxes to your sales.

Health and Safety Licenses

Many locales have stringent regulations that apply to certain types of businesses. Before a business opens its doors to the public or employs people for work that carries occupational hazards, regulatory authorities want to ensure that you’re taking the right steps with safety.

To get a health and safety license, you will need to apply to the appropriate department in the county or city in which your company is based. There may also be licensing requirements at the state level if you are engaged in an activity that involves health and human services.

Licensing may entail onsite inspections. For example, restaurants and hotels must undergo inspections before obtaining and renewing licenses.

Professional Licenses

Many professions are subject to states’ licensing requirements. Lawyers, contractors, and other specialized service providers must have professional licenses, or they’d risk serious penalties. If you have a professional license in your capacity as an individual, it may be necessary to get a separate license for your business.

After you have all your company’s licenses, be sure to pay attention to their expiration dates and find out about the renewal process. Letting a license lapse could be a compliance disaster. Furthermore, you may have to reapply all over again, which could mean much more legwork than a simple renewal would require.