Are you thinking about starting a business in Utah? Well, you're in luck because the Beehive State offers a conducive entrepreneurial environment, with small business employees comprising over 45.4% of the total employees in the state.
Need to create a business website? Start building yours today.
Start a business in Utah in 7 steps
01. Come up with a business idea
Coming up with a great business idea is the first step toward starting any business. Narrowing down to such an idea can involve a lot of brainstorming, researching and asking for feedback. But once you get this right, you’ll set yourself up for success further down the line.
Here are some key industries in Utah that you can consider for your business idea:
Outdoor recreation: Utah is known for its breathtaking natural landscapes. For this reason, businesses involving outdoor recreation (like skiing, hiking and rock climbing) may find their niche in Utah.
Software development: Utah is home to Domo, Overstock.com and other well-known tech companies, making it a great place to potentially start a software development or IT consulting business.
eCommerce website: While easy to start from anywhere, an eCommerce business based out of Utah has several advantages, including a supportive business environment, a talented workforce and proximity to major markets. (Utah may even be a good place to start a courier business to support other sellers.)
Food and beverage: The food and beverage scene in Utah continues to expand, lending itself to new restaurants, food trucks or other food-based businesses.
Real estate: With a growing population and a strong economy, Utah serves as a great backdrop for a new real estate agency or property management business.
Pet services: Given that nearly 60% of households in Utah own a pet, it might be a good idea to start a pet grooming, pet sitting or pet-training business.
Social media marketing: Businesses new and old can benefit from social media marketing services, so a social media marketing agency might fare well in Utah’s busy market.
02. Choose your business model
Subscription-based business model: A business that provides a service or product on a recurring basis, such as a streaming service, meal delivery service or retail subscription box.
Franchising business model: A business model where a franchisor grants a franchisee the rights to use its brand and business model in exchange for an initial fee and ongoing royalties.
eCommerce business model: A business that sells products or services online. This can include both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business B2B businesses that sell digital and/or physical products.
Platform-based business model: A business that creates a platform that connects buyers and sellers with one another, like an eCommerce marketplace or an auction site.
Sharing economy business model: This is when a company creates a platform for individuals to pool and share their resources. Think: Uber, Airbnb and Zipcar.
Service-based business model: A business that provides consulting, accounting or other services to its customers.
While these are some of the most popular business models, you’ll want to keep an eye out for other (even new) business models that emerge as technology and society evolve.
03. Select the best name for your business in Utah
Choosing a name for your business is crucial for setting it up for long-term success. There are many ways to come up with the right business name—from brainstorming with your friends and family, to letting your product or service guide the choice of name.
When choosing a business name, make sure it meets the following criteria:
It’s unique: Your business name should be 100% unique and memorable. You can check the Utah Division of Corporation and Commercial Code’s website to ensure that no other business is operating with your name in the state.
It’s future-proof: Your name should be flexible enough to accommodate potential changes in your business or future growth in its product categories (as examples).
It doesn’t infringe on a trademark: Run a trademark search on the USPTO website to check that your desired name isn’t already trademarked by another company.
It’s available as a domain name: Search available website domain names before you commit to your business name.
It meets all legal requirements: Make sure that your name complies with Utah’s naming laws and regulations. For instance, if you’re starting an LLC, you’ll need to include a term like “L.L.C.” (among other options) in your name.
You can also opt to use a business name generator to get the right name fast.
04. Write your business plan
Writing a business plan is crucial for the success of your business. A business plan outlines the objectives, strategies and tactics, as well as the expected operating expenses, financial projections and marketing plans for your business. It will also help you in understanding the industry, target market, competition and other crucial factors.
Additionally, your business plan can serve as a valuable tool for attracting investors (such as angel investors or a business incubator) or securing loans and establishing business banking services, as it demonstrates that you have thought through all aspects of the business and have set up a well-defined plan for achieving success.
05. Register your business in Utah
To license and register a business in Utah, you’ll need to follow these steps:
Reserve your business name: File an Application for Reservation of Business name with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code and pay a $22 processing fee. If applicable, file for a “doing business as” (DBA), which will require an additional $22 fee.
Register your business: Officially register your business online, in person, by mail or by fax. The exact steps, fees and paperwork will depend on your business type.
File for an EIN: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. An EIN is like a social security number, but used to identify your business entity when you go to apply for a business bank account, file tax returns and more.
Register for taxes: Register your business with the Utah State Tax Commission in order to start collecting and remitting required taxes. Utah has specific taxes—e.g., a transient room tax that’s required of any hotel and lodging businesses.
Obtain any necessary licenses and permits: You may need to obtain specific licenses and permits—such as business license, occupational license and permits for specific activities—depending on your line of business. Explore Utah’s One Stop Business Registration site to learn more about required licenses.
Register for required and optional insurance: If you plan to hire employees, you’ll have to obtain workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. You may also want to get general liability insurance, as well as other insurance coverage in order to manage risk.
06. Find funding for your business
There are a number of possible options when it comes to funding a business—from loans to investors, to using your personal savings or leaning on government support programs.
If you’re looking to raise money for a business, consider these government resources:
Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development: The office offers resources to support economic development and job growth in Utah.
Utah Small Business Development Center (SBDC): The SBDC offers counseling, training and resources to help small businesses get launched and succeed.
The Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA has a variety of loan programs to help entrepreneurs get connected and funded.
The Utah Microloan Fund (UMLF): The UMLF provides loans up to $50,000 to small businesses that are unable to secure traditional financing.
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program: The CDBG provides funding for small businesses with the goal of creating jobs in low-income areas of the state.
07. Create a business website
Creating a business website is essential to establish a strong online presence for your business. A website serves as an online storefront and a virtual representation of the business, providing customers with up-to-date information about your business and ways to reach you.
Your website can additionally be used as a platform for online marketing and advertising, allowing you to reach a wider audience and increase your visibility in search engine results.
Get started by exploring business website templates and customizing one to your unique brand. Follow best practices for making a business website that looks good and drives visitors to take action. Remember to also promote your website once it’s launched. As the saying goes, just because you built it doesn't mean [people] will come. So, you’ll want to find ways to actively drive traffic to your website to boost awareness and sales from your site.
Business examples in Utah
Ready to start your business in Utah? Take a look at some small business examples in Utah that use Wix to manage and grow their website.
Luxx Medical Spa
Located in Spanish Fork, Utah, Luxx Medical Spa offers services ranging from laser skin resurfacing and hair restoration, to skin rejuvenation, hormone replacement therapy and wellness treatments for both men and women.
Improvbroadway is a musical improv comedy theater that brings together a large range of locals every Friday and Saturday for their events. They also offer private comedy shows and improv workshops—adding vibrancy to the culture and supporting artists along the way.
How to start a business in Utah review
How to start a business in Utah FAQ
How much does it cost to start a business in Utah?
It depends on the type of business you start - a sole proprietorship, for example, costs nothing. For an LLC you'll need to pay a $22 form handling fee, plus $54 for articles of organization. If you're look to start a corporation, the cost is $70 for articles of incorporation.
Is Utah a good place to start a business?
It can be. Factors such as its low tax rates, favorable regulatory environment, and skilled workforce can make it a good place to consider starting a business. Utah also has a strong network of resources and support systems for startups, including incubators, accelerators, and networking events. Additionally, the state government and private organizations offer various funding opportunities and grants for small businesses.