Below is a step-by-step guide to help prospective business owners start a business on Kauaʻi.
Conduct Market Research:
Before embarking on your new business venture, it is important to first research the viability of your business. Some useful data is available through the following links:
Create a Business Plan:
Creating a business plan is a critical step in ensuring you have a viable business and is a necessary step to acquire funding. A general tutorial for creating a business plan can be found here: SBA Business Plan Guide. If you need assistance reviewing or refining your business plan, you can schedule a free consultation with the Hawaii Small Business Development Center.
Calculating Startup Costs:
Identifying the costs to get your business up and running and the monthly expenditures for operation will help you determine if your business will be viable. It will also help you apply for business loans if needed. SBA has a guide to help you.
Choose a Business Name:
Decide on a business name and check if your business name is already in use in Hawaii, using the Business Name Search.
Choose a Legal Structure:
There are several legal structures for your business: Corporations, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies. Each structure has different implications for liability and taxation. The following guide can help you review and compare the options to determine which structure best fits your business: Guide to Business Structures.
Register your Business:
- Register for a Federal Employer ID Number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can complete this step online using EIN Assist and will receive your FEIN immediately. This step is not necessary for all businesses and will depend on your business structure.
- Register your Business in Hawaii: The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Business Registration Division website allows you to register online through the Hawaii Business Express to complete the following necessary steps:
- Register your business name in Hawaii.
- Register your business with the Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs (DCCA).
- Register your business with the Hawaii Department of Taxation (DOTAX) and obtain your Hawaii Tax ID and General Excise Tax (GET) license. For more information on taxation in Hawaii, visit the Department of Taxation Tax Facts document.
- Register your business with the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) to obtain your DOL number and unemployment insurance (for businesses with employees).
- Register with Hawaii Compliance Express.to obtain your Certificate of Vendor Compliance. This single certificate covers IRS, Department of Labor, DCCA and Hawaii Department of Taxation. The certificate is required if your business will receive grants or contracts.
Apply for Licenses and Permits:
Federal licenses and permits are required for businesses operating in certain industries. Additionally, permits are required at the state level for certain businesses. The links below can direct you to the appropriate State of Hawaii and County of Kauaʻi agencies.
The Chamber of Commerce has also shared: How to Start a Business in Hawaii