How to get a small business license.

Want to start your own business? Before you can legally sell products or services, be sure to get the right small business license first.

Find out which licenses you need.

The first step to getting a small business license is to find out which license you’ll actually need. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of business licenses out there, and they all apply to different types of industries.

Most businesses will need at least one license to legally operate, and many require several. Which ones you’ll need will depend on what you do. Perform plenty of research to find out which licenses apply to your business. If you don’t want to miss one, it might be a good idea to talk to a lawyer, too.

Apply to the right government agency.

Once you know which licenses you need, it’s time to apply. Different government agencies regulate different licenses.

The best way to find information about where you need to apply for specific licenses is to go to county, state, and federal websites. In many regions, the local Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), otherwise known as the State License Bureau, is a great resource to learn about the application process. The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) website usually provides a list of federal licenses.

After finding the right government agency, all you have to do is apply. Most applications require a small fee, generally between 50 and a few hundred dollars. Depending on your industry, you may also need to pass an inspection. If all goes well, you should get your license anywhere from a few days to a few months.

Applying for a small business license is daunting enough. Simplify the process with e-docs and electronic signature software like Acrobat Sign. That way, you can view, edit, and sign your application documents without dealing with printers, scanners, and fax machines.

Discover more about what Acrobat Pro with e-sign can do to simplify small business processes.