How to Start a Business in Idaho


Idaho is a great place to start a business, and with the right preparation, you can successfully launch your business in the Gem State. Here’s how:

Choose a business structure.

Your business structure is the way that you run your business.

There are several business structures, including:

  • Corporations and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs).
  • Sole proprietorships/general partnerships/limited partnerships/limited liability partnerships (LLPs).

Create a Business Name

  • Choose a name that’s easy to remember.

You want customers to be able to think of your company’s name when they need your product or service, so pick something short and catchy. If you’re not sure what this should be, consider these factors:

  • Is it unique?

Avoid using a name that is already trademarked by another business in the area or state (you can check here). Keep in mind that even if there are no other businesses with similar names nearby now, they may open up later (and you don’t want someone else taking advantage of the popularity of your brand).

  • Does it have any potential offensive connotations?

While some nicknames make sense for children’s toys—like “Lego” for example—others carry an unfortunate history with them (“Barbie” being one example), so make sure people won’t take offense when hearing about your product or service for the first time!

Create a Business Plan

A business plan is a formal document that outlines your goals, goes into detail about how you’ll reach them and explains what you’ll do if things go wrong. It’s also a way for you to track your progress, get feedback from others and set realistic expectations for yourself. A good business plan should include:

  • An overview of the company and its mission statement.
  • A description of your target customer base, including demographics (age range), psychographics (e.g., personality traits) and psychographic segmentation (e.g., interests).

Create a Federal Tax ID Number

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned to tax-paying entities. You’ll need an EIN if you are running a business as a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation.

Generally, you’ll need an EIN when you:

  • Register your business with the state and local government
  • Open a bank account for your business
  • Apply for any licenses needed to conduct your business

Register your Business with the Idaho Secretary of State

Now that you’ve determined the type of business you’d like to start, it’s time to register your business with the Idaho Secretary of State. You should do so if you plan on doing any business in the state of Idaho.

You can register your company online or by mail. If registering online, be sure to have some form of ID and payment information ready before submitting a request for registration. The Secretary of State will send an email confirmation when they receive your application; however, this may take up to five days due to processing times.

Get an EIN from the IRS

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is used to identify your business on tax returns and other business documents. You’ll need an EIN if you have employees, but even if you don’t, it’s wise to get one anyway because it will make your life easier when hiring contractors or handling payroll issues.

When applying online, be sure to designate “individual” as the type of taxpayer since most sole proprietors are considered individuals for tax purposes. A phone number is required—don’t leave this blank! If you don’t currently have one and need one urgently, contact an accountant or CPA who can help you secure one quickly.

Open a Business Bank Account

When you’re starting up, having access to a bank account is essential for making transactions and paying bills. Your business needs two types of accounts: one for operating expenses (usually called a “business checking” or “corporate” account) and another for personal use (which may be either an individual or joint “personal” checking or savings account). You’ll want to decide which type will suit your needs best before contacting your bank.

Get the Correct Licenses and Permits

Before you begin to operate your business, you’ll need to obtain some licenses and permits. You can apply for these online via the Idaho Secretary of State’s website.

  • State Business License – This license is required for any person who “directly or indirectly” engages in any type of commercial activity in Idaho. If you’re not sure whether this applies to your business, contact the state tax commission before applying for the license.
  • Local Business License – This license is required if your company has physical offices in any city or county within Idaho.
  • Sales Tax ID – Your business must have an Idaho sales tax ID number to sell goods or services within the state; this will also allow you to file sales tax returns electronically through an online portal provided by the state government.


The great thing about starting your own business is that there are so many opportunities for self-expression, from finding your niche and building an audience for what makes your company unique (or just plain fun), to making sure that every aspect of its operations reflects the spirit of who you are as an entrepreneur. If you start by doing what’s right for yourself—following through on those big dreams of yours—then everything else will fall into place along the way.


If you’re ready to take the plunge and start a business in Idaho, then we hope this guide has given you the tools you need. We know it can be a little overwhelming, but we promise that jumping in is worth it.

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