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Women strongly influence the U.S. economy. Women-owned businesses contribute $2.46 trillion and employ 19.1 million people, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. The U.S. Census Bureau also reports that women control 80% of household spending. You can join the millions of women already in business by starting your new company in as little as 10 minutes.

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As a mother of young children, I would like to run my own business instead of returning to corporate life. How do I get started?

To help customers identify the first steps to starting a new company, we've developed a Business Startup Checklist. You can review and print our 20 tips to beginning a successful business here. Becoming familiar with these common requirements should simplify the business startup process.

As we mention in our Business Startup Checklist, we recommend that all entrepreneurs develop a business plan. The plan should detail the goals and objectives for your new company. A well-written business plan will demonstrate your commitment to your business. For help creating a business plan, view our tips for writing a business plan.

To officially register your new company in your state, you will need to select a business name and structure. incorporate.com can help you incorporate or form a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

incorporate.com can assist you with many other requirements for corporations and LLCs. We can file your Employer Identification Number (EIN) application form and serve as your Registered Agent to receive important legal documents (our complete package includes both services.) We can also help you identify Business License and Permit application materials.

If you need additional assistance, our Business Specialists can answer your questions and put you on the path to business ownership.

Do women entrepreneurs have access to any special resources? Will I have a harder time obtaining financing as a female business owner?

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers online information, resources, and links of interest to female entrepreneurs through their Office of Women's Business Ownership. Check out our Resource Center for additional organizations that specialize in helping women-owned businesses.

According to the Center for Women's Business Research, women do have less access to capital. Studies show that female entrepreneurs rely more on earnings than commercial credit to fund their businesses. Many women start their businesses from home, sometimes while raising children. They may seek funding and other means of support from friends and family.

However, some companies (like www.boldcap.com) offer funding opportunities for women, by women. Female entrepreneurs can also qualify for several types of special grants and loan programs. You can access SBA information about loan programs for small businesses here. Find out about grants for businesses in your state by contacting your local SBA office. You can also visit www.usagovernmentgrants.org for more information.

Don't let the financing process overwhelm the adventure of making your dream come true. incorporate.com has helped thousands of entrepreneurs just like you form their new corporations and LLCs.

As a busy entrepreneur, I want to spend time running my business instead of researching my next steps. What services can I expect from incorporate.com after I form a business?

incorporate.com delivers quality service after the sale. Our programs and services will not only get you started, but will keep you growing in the future. Consider us your one-stop shop for maintaining your business. You can contact our Business Specialists for the answers to your questions Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time at 800-818-6082. Or, you can access our free online guides anytime, day or night.

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Do I need a business license to operate my business?

Most state, county, and local governments require some type of business license or permit. Local laws also require proper registration and payment of taxes in nearly every industry. Requirements for business licenses and permits vary by location and business activities. Let incorporate.com gather the paperwork for you. Business owners use our service every day to identify the license, permit, and tax registration applications for their businesses.

A business acquaintance told me to get a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) when I start my own business. Is that the same as a Taxpayer ID? How do I apply for one?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also refers to the Employer Identification Number (EIN) as a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). The IRS issues an EIN to each business to identify it for tax purposes, similar to an individual's Social Security Number. incorporate.com can complete your EIN application form and send it to you for signature. Once you return it to us for processing, we can send you your new EIN in a matter of days. We offers this service individually or as part of our complete business formation package.

As a mother, I'm concerned about liability. Can forming a business help protect my personal assets?

Incorporating or forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) allows you to separate your personal assets from business debts and obligations. A properly formed and maintained corporation or LLC can shield owners' personal assets from a judgment against the business. Keep in mind that you must run your business in compliance with government rules and regulations to be fully protected. incorporate.com offers compliance services designed to help keep you on track throughout the year.

As female business owner, which business structure (INC or LLC) should I select?

Though laws prohibit us from recommending the best structure for your business, many of our customers choose a Limited Liability Company (LLC) because of its ease of maintenance and tax flexibility. LLC owners can report profit and loss from the business on their personal tax returns. A general corporation must file a separate income tax return.

As a busy mother of three, I would like to work from home as a part-time caterer. My friends tell me to incorporate to give my business more credibility. How would incorporating help?

Adding "Inc." or "LLC" after your company name conveys an authenticity that can impress potential clients, vendors, and investors. It can add instant credibility to your business.

I worry about missing important documents in my business mail, given all my responsibilities. Do you offer Registered Agent services to receive legal documents on my company's behalf?

Yes. incorporate.com provides Registered Agent services to give you the peace of mind you deserve. Corporations, LLCs, and some other businesses must maintain a service of process address to receive legal documents in each state in which the company does business. A Registered Agent receives and forwards important legal documents and compliance mail. incorporate.com has more than 100 years of experience handling critical documents for its customers. Designate us as your Registered Agent today.

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