SAFEGUARDS

New BusinessSAFEGUARDS

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  • Start Your Startup Right

    Game Plan

    In-Depth

    How to Select Location and Zoning

    Everyone knows about the importance of location to the marketing and overall financial success of a business. But there are often-overlooked legal aspects to different locations that can also have a major impact. To put it as plainly as possible, you need a “business-friendly” location. If you are a manufacturer, a large company, or a retail business with a lot of foot traffic, then zoning will be of prime importance. Zoning rules can affect where specific types of businesses can locate, whether or not a property can be improved or expanded, what type of signage is acceptable, and also mandate standards for public access.

    Other legal considerations also come into play, particularly for smaller businesses. The tax burden can vary considerably from state to state and in different cities or towns within a state. These include income taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes. You should acquaint yourself with the tax rates—and whether or not you are obligated to collect sales taxes. Another factor that differs by jurisdiction is the employer’s obligations to employees. What is the minimum wage? Are you required to purchase disability insurance?

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    Game Plan

    If your business is not dependent on proximity to an existing clientele or to essential resources, then you have the opportunity to shop for the most business-friendly location. You can start by doing an Internet search using the name of a city or town you’re considering plus the word “planning.” This will generally take you to the website of the planning agency in charge of zoning regulations in that community. As you might expect, you can consult attorneys who specialize in land-use issues if you have detailed questions.