To register a business in Utah, entrepreneurs have various options when it comes to structuring and financing their new endeavor. 

Once you've determined that you have a viable business idea, you'll need to register your business with the state. This allows you to prevent others from using your business name and protects your personal assets from business obligations and debts. Options for Utah small business owners include the following:

  • A sole proprietorship. A sole proprietorship is designed for individual owners. It is the simplest and most affordable entity to establish. With this structure, however, you do not receive personal liability protection, which means your assets can be seized to pay business debts. Sole proprietorships do not need to officially register in Utah.
  • General partnerships. General partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships, but they involve more than one person. Like sole proprietorships, they do not require formal registration.
  • A limited liability company. A limited liability company (LLC) is a popular choice because it provides personal liability protection without the expense and formal requirements of a corporation. This entity also carries tax benefits.
  • A corporation. A corporation is most appropriate for companies that plan to raise money from investors or eventually go public.

Registering a Business Name

Once you choose an entity, the next step is to register your business name. Sole proprietorships and general partnerships can operate under a DBA (doing business as) name by filing a Business Name Registration form with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. The fee associated with this form is $22. The name you use must be different than that used by other businesses in the state. You can check the availability of your desired name through the Division of Corporations as well. Review the naming guidelines in Utah to make sure the name you want to use is acceptable.

Registering for an EIN

The EIN, or employer identification number, is required for corporations, partnerships, and LLCs or sole proprietorships that have employees. This number serves as a social security number for your business and is used to open business bank accounts and pay state and federal taxes. The EIN can be acquired for free either by applying online or by mailing the form to the IRS.

Applying for Business Licenses and Permits

Depending on where your business is located and the industry you are involved in, you may need to obtain specific business licenses and permits. To learn more, you can consult the Business Licensing Guide from the Utah Department of Commerce. 

Establishing a Business Bank Account

Creating a dedicated bank account for your business not only facilitates tax filing and accounting, it also provides the separation of personal and business assets required to maintain personal liability protection. A business credit card also provides business and personal expense separation and allows your business to build its own credit history. You may also want to use accounting software to manage your company finances.

Financing Your Business

The following are options for raising money to start your business:

  • A conventional bank loan from your bank or credit union.
  • A guaranteed Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, which is an option for those who may not meet the terms for a conventional loan.
  • Peer-to-peer financing.
  • Grants.

Marketing and Publishing a Business Website

While your business website doesn't need to be elaborate, it should provide connected customers with the information they need to know and offer a sense of what to expect from your products, your services, and your brand. You can hire a web designer or go the budget route; many free or low-cost programs exist that allow you to create a functional, user-friendly business website even without web-design experience. Marketing is an important part of the success of your business and can make or break your new enterprise. Conduct thorough research to determine what type of marketing is most effective for your industry, then develop a cohesive, comprehensive marketing plan. You can also network with other business owners in your area to leverage the existing resources available.

If you need help with registering a new business in Utah, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.