Starting a Business on Long Island; These Initial Steps Will Help You Get Started

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Legislator Anker & the North Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce welcome a new buisness to Miller Place.
Long Island is an ideal location for starting your own business for a variety of reasons, - its close proximity to New York City, the geographical and industrial diversity between Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and the number of industrial areas situated close to the major highways and railways, as well as convenient access by air and water are just some of the reasons that the Island is the perfect place to launch your new business. 
In fact, Hauppauge Industrial Park, located in Hauppauge, NY, is the largest industrial park on the entire East Coast. Long Island has been a leader of industry for decades, and its prime location, and ideal talent pool make the Island an ideal locale to open up a business.

What Business Type is Right for You
To start a business on Long Island, you first have to decide on the form of your business organization that will best fit your needs. By this we mean, is it going to be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation, or a limited liability company(LLC)? Don’t know the difference? We've outlined the differences below so that you can make an educated decision for your business.
Whether you have always dreamed of opening up a bakery shop, or you're in the process of opening a day care center, or launching your own local clothing line, or you're considering one of the countless other types of business, it’s important to seek legal and financial advice on what business type you should set up as it can impact a number of matters regarding the businesses legal responsibilities, including tax liabilities.
Sole Proprietorships
Sole Proprietorships are typically very small business that are be owned by one person and that one person will have complete authority as well as responsibility against potential liabilities. This  person will also be required to include the financials of the business on their personal tax return as the businesses activities are really just an extension of the person's activity such as income and losses.
Usually for a small business where you want to have shared ownership with one or more individuals. In this instance any potential liability is based on your personal investment, or share in the business. Unlike a corporation, partnerships require that at least one person is financially responsible for the company's liabilities, debt and income, but those responsibilities can be shared by the partners equitable interest. For instance, an owner with 80% of ownership, would be 80% responsible, the other owners or owners, would share in the remaining 20%.
Usually for a business where you will have shareholders who are not directly responsible for the business's liabilities, so there’s distinction between the corporation itself, and its owners. Should there be any liabilities or debt, it’ll be that of the corporation and not the individual owners. A corporation, in many ways is treated as an entity of its own, and rather than a social security number being used, a corporation has an EIN (Employer Identification Number).

The EIN is used in a similar way to a social security number. The EIN is required on all financial transactions such as opening up a bank account, applying for credit, and to file and record tax-related transactions.
Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
Usually for a business that wants the set up like a corporation, but the liability protection and tax advantage follows that of a partnership. There are differences between an LLC and a Corporation such as how frequently they must hold and record meetings, which could result in additional, or more frequent filing fees, however, an LLC, unlike a Corporation, cannot issue stock and could find it more difficult to acquire investors.
The best way to evaluate what is best for you is to consult with an attorney or tax advisor who can analyze the type of business you will conduct and what is more likely to be best for you and any other owners who will be involved, depending on your unique situation. 
Opening Your Small Business on Long Island: Getting Started
Now that you have an idea in mind for what type of business you'd like to open, and you've learned a bit more about the different ways to form your business, it's time to get things going.

One of the best resources available to New Yorkers looking to start their own business is the New York Small Business Development Center (NYS SBDC), which operates out of offices located primarily on SUNY Campuses across the state, including Stony Brook University, and Farmingdale College here on Long Island. They also have multiple satelite locations in communities across the Island, and the state.

At the New York Small Business Development Center, you'll be able to work one on one with a Small Business Advisor to discuss the ins & outs of starting your own business, including:
  • Creating a strong Business Plan
  • Learning About Accounting Practices, and Financial Planning for Your Business
  • Working on a Cost-Analysis with your Small Business Advisor to ensure your Business Plan is viable
  • Learn the Ins & Outs of Business Structures
  • Get Tips for Marketing Your New Business
  • Learn How e-Commerce Can Help Your Business Grow
  • Guidance on Employee Management & HR Concerns
  • Learn About the US Small Business Association's Grants & Loans
  • Understanding the ins & outs of permit & licensing requirements
  • Assess your invention's viablity
  • An Advisor can answer any of your questions about starting a small business here on Long Island

Stony Brook Small Business Development Center
Stony Brook University - Research & Development Park, Stony Brook, NY 11794-6016
Phone: 631-632-9070
Fax: 631-632-7176

Stony Brook SBDC Direct Email
To make an appointment at the Stony Brook SBDC, please call or email, or fill out their online appointment form.

Farmingdale Small Business Development Center
SUNY Farmingdale, Campus Commons, 2350 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale, NY 11735-1006
Phone: 631-420-2765
Fax: 631-370-8895

Farmingdale SBDC Direct Email
To make an appointment at the Farmingdale SBDC, please call or email, or fill out their online appointment form.

Permits & Licensing
You will need a variety of permits and licenses depending on the type of business you'll be starting, including a Federal Tax ID Number for your Business, as well as license(s) from New York State depending on the type of business you're opening.

To Start, Check Out These Licensing & Permit Resources:

  • NYS License Center Business Wizard Website
    This website will help you determine what types of licenses and permits you will need to operate your business in New York State. Different types of businesses may require different types of licensing, and this tool makes it simple & quick to determine just what you'll need to open up shop here on Long Island.

  • NYS Division of Licensing Services
    The New York State DOLS cam provide you with helpful information about starting many different types of businesses here in NY.

  • NYS Division of Corporations
    Planning on registering your business as a Corporation? The New York State Division of Corporations, State Records, and UCC has a vast database of information including a searchable business name database, an index of fees associated with opening up specific  types of businesses, and online filing systems for licensing your corporation or LLC.

  • IRS Federal Tax Number/EIN Webpage
    Every business needs what's known as a Federal Tax Number or "Employee Identification Number", more commonly known as an EIN. You can apply for your EIN right on the IRS website by clicking the link above.
Additional Helpful Resources
Deciding to open a business here on Long Island is just the first step - you'll need to decide on a name for your business, register your business, and depending on what type of business you're opening, additional steps may be required. These helpful resources will get you on track to get your business up & running in no time.

NYS Resources
New York State has a variety of resources to make opening a business in NY easier for business owners, including a variety of incentive programs for starting a business in New York.
The Corporation and Business Entity Database includes business and not for profit corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships, as well as other miscellaneous businesses.
41 State Street, Albany, NY 12231-0001
General Information: 518-473-2492
State Records: 518-474-4770
Uniform Commercial Code Fax: 518-474-4478
Document Review Unit Fax: 518-474-1418
Established in 1778, the New York Department of State is the oldest department of the NYS Government. The NYS DOS Division of Corporations, State Records, and Uniform Commercial Code is where you can find important documents vital to opening a business, including an index of state & local laws, trademarks, certificates of incorporation, Uniform Commericial Code Article 9 Financing Statements, and Oathes of Office.

New York Division for Small Business - Empire State Development Office
633 3rd Avenue, New York, NY 10017-8165
Open 9 AM - 5:30 PM Monday through Friday
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency, and is the administrator of the statewide business resource "New York First", a directory of all of the economic development programs New York State has to offer.
Start Up NY - Long Island
In 2013, the New York State Senate passed legislation to launch the START-UP NY Program, an initiative that creates "tax-free areas" in college towns and other designated areas across the State. Under the START-UP NY Program, certain types of businesses, including many types of small businesses, are virtually exempt from taxes for up to 10 years, making opening businesses in a designated START-UP NY Area very enticing to business owners.

Currently, Farmingdale College, Long Island University, and Stony Brook University all participate in the program, and it is expected that other Long Island college towns will follow suit in the near future as well. Over a dozen local Long Island businesses already participate in this program, and the list continues to grow.
Local Suffolk & Nassau County Resources
Depending on the type of business you're looking to open, you may have to file for certain permits with the county. The County Clerk's office will be able to assist you with filing
permits, notorization services, and other helpful services.
310 Center Drive, Riverhead, NY 11901-3392
County Clerk's Office Direct Email.
General Hours (Excluding Holidays):
Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM
240 Old Country Road, Mineola, NY 11501
Nassau County Clerk's Office Online Forms Directory
General Hours (Excluding Holidays):
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 7 PM