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How to Start a Business in New Jersey

Ocean access, a highly educated workforce, and a good strategic location could be some of the reasons you’re considering starting a business in New Jersey. Let us give you an overview of becoming a New Jersey entrepreneur below.

Step 1: Create a business plan for your New Jersey company

Every New Jersey business needs a plan. A business plan explains what the company is and how it will be profitable. Many templates are available online, but most include a company overview to explain your specific type of business, a list of “SMART” goals, and an analysis of competition.

You’ll also want to explain the company’s target customers, how you plan to attract them, and the profit margins you’ll set. 

As part of your planning, look at how you’ll fund your business, such as Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, bank loans, bootstrapping, or even small business grants.

Need help creating a business plan for your New Jersey business? We put together a comprehensive library of articles and guides on business planning.

Step 2: Choose a business structure

One of the first decisions a New Jersey entrepreneur must consider is how the business will be structured. There are several different business entity types, but sole proprietorship, general partnership, and limited liability company (LLC) are among the most popular choices for startups. 

Sole Proprietorship and General Partnership

A sole proprietorship is a free, no-fuss option that entitles the company owner to all profits. It’s an unincorporated option, which means it’s not registered with the state, and the owner can be held personally liable for debts. A general partnership is basically the same model, but with multiple partners divvying up the profits.

Limited Liability Company

An LLC is registered with the state. In New Jersey, the LLC formation paperwork is known as the Certificate of Formation. These documents must be filed with the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services, along with a fee.

The most significant benefit of an LLC may be its personal liability protection. The owner’s assets are separate from the business, so if the company is sued or ends up in debt, the owner’s personal assets are usually protected.

While entrepreneurs can file paperwork with the state to register their own LLC or corporation, our team of expert support staff can handle the process for you with our business formation plans.

Still not sure what business structure to choose for your business in New Jersey? Get 100% certain by reading this guide.

Step 3: Determine startup costs for your New Jersey business

Whether you decide to set up shop in Newark or Hoboken, take the time to calculate your business costs. Think about both one-time charges and ongoing business expenses. 

Part of your startup costs may include the cost to register your business and other state fees associated with business licenses or permits. Review New Jersey’s licenses and permits to get an idea of what you may need and the costs associated with each.

Your business type will play a big role in determining your one-time, fixed, and ongoing expenses. A home-based business, for example, won’t have costs for office space or warehousing but may have special transportation and equipment needs. You might have ongoing expenses like phone, internet, and business insurance. You may also face the New Jersey LLC or corporation filing fee, and the cost of creating a website for your business.

Estimate your one-time and monthly costs for marketing, employees, healthcare costs, insurance, travel, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation expenses. Figure out both your startup costs and scaled-up costs once the company starts to grow.

Does math overwhelm you? No worries! We’ll walk you through business cost calculation in this guide.

Step 4: Name your New Jersey business

You have important rules to consider when coming up with a name for your New Jersey business. First, it should give at least a general idea of the products or services you offer. Second, it must be unique within the state of New Jersey.

Choose a unique business name

So, while Hackensack Enterprises doesn’t say much about your offerings, Hackensack Landscaping does. To see that your business name choice isn’t already in use by another organization in the state, do a name search on the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services website.

We walk you through the search process on our New Jersey business entity search page. This will help prevent legal issues, confusion among customers, and ultimately wasted time and money.

Reserving a Business Name

New Jersey also gives business owners the ability to reserve a name for 120 days before filing the paperwork to start an entity like an LLC or corporation. This isn’t required, but it can keep another business from snatching your desired name before you can get your paperwork together.

Internet Presence

Once you’ve decided on your new business’s name, you can register a domain name for your business website and start creating social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms. We have a tool to help you do a preliminary domain name search, and our domain name registration service can help you secure the online name that will best serve your business. 

Step 5: Register your business in New Jersey

Once you’ve chosen your business structure, you can apply for a federal employer identification number (EIN) with the IRS. Having this tax ID number will allow you to open a business bank account. You can do this yourself or have a partner do it by creating a special document called a banking resolution

A dedicated business bank account will keep personal and business expenses separate. This helps you at tax time, and it can help protect your limited liability status if you have an entity like an LLC or corporation.

Business Licenses and Permits

Next, apply for any permits or licenses required to do business in New Jersey. Permits and business licenses vary by industry, and they can be needed at the federal, state, and local levels. There’s no central authority to tell you every license and permit your business requires, so you’ll have to do some research or have someone like us do the research for you with a business license report.

Step 6: Market your business

After determining your target market, craft a marketing plan that includes the major social media platforms, online communities, and local or online directories that are most relevant to your target market. Conduct market research. Claim a free business profile on Google My Business to engage with New Jersey customers across Google Search and Maps. Also, consider joining the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce or a local chamber that refers prospective customers to members first.

Print material, such as brochures and business cards, can elevate your marketing at New Jersey trade shows. Search engine optimization can help customers find your business website or blog when they use Google and other search engines.

Finally, customize your marketing approach. While it makes sense for a home-based web design company in Gloucester to market globally, a caterer in South Brunswick will want to limit marketing efforts to a smaller area.

Marketing a new business takes time and planning here are some great actionable ideas for marketing your business.

Benefits of opening a business in New Jersey

In addition to the geographic advantage of being close to New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C., New Jersey is one of only a handful of states where more than 40% of residents graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has a program called NJ Ignite, which supports entrepreneurs by providing rent support grants. The NJEDA also holds NJ Founders and Funders events to pair new business owners with venture investors. New Jersey is a particularly good place for technology and life sciences businesses with programs such as the Edison Innovation Fund. 

Examples of Good Businesses to Start in New Jersey

The largest industries in New Jersey are life sciences, technology, and clean energy. A company that falls into any of these categories could fare well in the state, but New Jersey is home to many businesses. You may also consider starting one of these companies:

  • Pet grooming
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Financial services
  • Shipping
  • Online publishing
  • Berry export business

Get more information and new ideas about the best businesses to start in New Jersey.

We can help

New Jersey has a wealth of profitable business opportunities for entrepreneurs. The state is densely populated with potential customers. If you have a great business idea and want to start a business, New Jersey could be the place to do it.

While there are multiple steps involved in starting your own business in New Jersey, it’s not hard to find resources to ease the workload. We have a variety of tools to help you launch and grow your business. We are here for you every step of the way, no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

Starting a Business in New Jersey FAQs

  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, per capita income is approximately $42,745.

  • The largest industries in New Jersey are life sciences, technology, and clean energy.

  • Smaller cities like Red Bank, Secaucus, and Hanover are thriving places for new businesses.

“This is your life.
You want to get it right.”

– Mark Cuban on Starting a Business

Entrepreneur and Shark Tank host lays out
3 steps to follow when starting a business

  • Form an LLC to protect your liability
  • Set up your banking and accounting
  • Grow sales by marketing your website

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