How to Start a Small Business in New Hampshire

There are many reasons to start your own business. Whether you want a flexible schedule, like the idea of being your own boss, or have a passion that you want to pursue, there can be many benefits to starting a business. If you are confused on where to start when it comes to bringing your business concept to life, below is a list of some of the tasks you will likely need to complete.

Potential Perks to Starting a Business in New Hampshire 

There is no general sales tax on goods purchased in New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration confirms.

Decide on an Idea for Your Business 

A natural first step to starting a business is defining what products or services you will provide. You can draw from experience or interests that you have, or look for a service not currently offered where you are. Below are some typical go-to business ideas for entrepreneurs.

Learn the Local Market 

It takes more than just a great idea or product to have a business succeed. The other half to the equation is your customers. Where will they come from? Will they support your business? If you plan on having a physical location in an area, look for statistics on demographics of the surrounding communities. Things like average household income, median age, and population can be helpful in determining if your business would be a good fit for the area you are in.

 Analyze what similar businesses already exist. How will your business offer something different or improved? Ask yourself if there is a need for something in the market that you can offer.

Write Your Business Plan 

A business plan is more than a roadmap for your business. It can also potentially help you secure funding to get your business off the ground. Here are the key points you should hit:

  • Your Executive Summary (Purpose, Problem The Business Solves, Financial Summary)
  • The Services Your Business Provides
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Organization & Management
  • Financial Projections
  • Appendix (Additional Documentation)

Decide Where Your Funding Will Come From 

You have several different options when it comes to funding your business. If you don’t require a lot of funding to start your business and you have some savings, self-funding your business may make the most sense for you. For businesses that require more capital to get them off the ground, consider the following:

  • Obtaining a commercial loan from a bank
  • Launching a crowdfunding campaign
  • Securing Funding from an angel investor or VC like North Country Angles

Decide on a Business Structure 

What business structure you have can affect your personal liability, the paperwork you need to file, and can also affect how much you will pay in taxes. When choosing a business structure, consulting with an accountant or attorney is often wise.

Sole Proprietorship 

If you are doing business, but have not registered as any other kind of business, you are automatically considered to be a sole proprietorship. Sole proprietorships do not separate business assets from personal assets. This means that you can be held personally liable for the debts and obligations of your business.


If your business will have multiple owners, partnerships are a structure for two or more people to own a business together. There are multiple different types of partnerships that can potentially be formed, some of which may offer liability protection whereas others do not. 

Limited Liability Company (LLC) 

An LLC can be owned by one or more people or entities, called members. One advantage of an LLC is that it offers members personal liability protection against the debts and obligations of the company, meaning that in most instances, your personal assets like your personal savings accounts or your home won’t be at risk if your LLC faces bankruptcy or lawsuits.


A corporation can be owned by one or more persons or entities, called shareholders. The potential advantages of corporations include protection of the shareholders’ personal assets from the debts and obligations of the corporation, as well as potentially the ability to raise revenue from outside investors by selling shares in the company.  However, there are certain formalities and tax considerations/implications that go along with forming your company as a corporation.

As the type of structure you choose for your company can have a significant impact on issues related to your personal liability, taxes, required paperwork and other formalities, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced accountant and attorney so that you can make an informed choice. 

How to Register Your Business in New Hampshire 

Once you have chosen your business structure, you can register with the state of New Hampshire. If you are a sole proprietor doing business under a name other than your own, you must submit an application for registration of a trade name with the State of New Hampshire. Before you do, see of the name you have chosen is not already in use by doing a search on the New Hampshire Secretary of State Business Name Database.

If you are a corporation or LLC, you need to appoint a registered agent to receive process notifications and other government correspondence. You can be your own registered agent if you have a physical address in New Hampshire, or you can hire a professional. Once you have a registered agent in place, you can register with the state by filing a Certificate of Formation. This can be done by mail or online. If you are a corporation, you are required to submit Articles of Incorporation. This can be done on the Secretary of State website or through the mail.

After you have registered your business, you should get a Federal Employer Identification Number, also known as an EIN. If you are a sole proprietor, this is optional. However, if you are a corporation or LLC, it is required. You can apply online for an EIN here.

Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses 

Certain types of business professions in New Hampshire need licensing. The New Hampshire Employment Security website is a good resource for seeing what permits and licenses may be required for your business.  

Get Insurance 

In New Hampshire, if you have employees you are legally required to have workers’ compensation coverage. Some other types of insurance to consider are: 

Commercial Property Insurance – Can protect your equipment, inventory, and your furniture

Professional Liability Insurance – Typically provides protection if a client believes a mistake you made, such as a missed deadline, caused financial loss

Commercial General Liability – Can provide coverage if your company causes property damage or bodily  injury to others

Commercial Auto Insurance – Usually covers things like medical expenses for individuals who are injured in an accident involving your business vehicles

Our local agency with offices throughout New Hampshire can help find commercial coverage options for your business, as well as benefits for your employees. Request a quote online here, or call one of our offices to start the process.

Help People Find You Online 

In today’s world, developing an online presence is critical to connecting with your customers. Consider developing a website. If you have a physical address, claim your Business Profile on Google to add photos, company hours, and more. Create profiles on social media sites to share the latest updates like product releases, grand openings, and more.


This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose. Cross Insurance shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained in this article. The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, insurance, accounting or other professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice. The views expressed in this article are that of its author and do not necessarily represent the views of Cross Financial Corp. and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“Cross Insurance”) or Cross Insurance’s management or shareholders.

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