Ecwid for Small Business

How to Start a Small Business in Hawaii (HI)

Taking the first steps toward opening a business can be scary, but they can also be the most exciting. Don’t let your fear stop you from working towards your dreams.

If you’re based in Hawaii, you live in an amazing state to chase your business dreams. They are ranked 1st in the country in fastest startup growth and 9th in access to funding. Hawaii also has the 16th lowest corporate tax rate as well.

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Hawaii’s Most Popular Businesses

If you want to open up a business, you probably already know what you want to sell or what services your customers may need. However, it’s also a good idea to consider businesses that are typically successful in the state of Hawaii. Rental homes, clothing boutiques, and security companies are just a few options to keep in mind. But at the end of the day, your business should be something that calls to you.

Planning Processes

One of the most important parts of starting a business is understanding that there are many steps to take before you can open your doors (or your website, if you are selling totally online). If you take them one by one, though, they don’t seem as overwhelming.

1. Pick a name

Naming your business is one of the first ways to give it proper representation. Look into your values and visions as a starting point. Your name should be a great balance of unique, marketable, and meaningful. Once you consider these factors, make a list of everything that comes to mind, then narrow it down to the one you think will work best. In Hawaii, there are some rules to keep in mind while choosing your business’ name, but don’t let these limitations crush your creative spirit.

2.  Conduct market research

Conducting business research is an important process to hone your ideas and plan your business more thoroughly. Researching local competitors will help you learn the needs and wants of your customers, while also using that information to improve your selling and branding strategies.

3.  Choose a structure

To be able to run your business legally, you will need to choose a proper structure. This could take the form of an LLC, non-profit, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation—depending on your goals for the business.

Registering in Hawaii

Once you select the perfect business structure for your store, the next step is to register it with the state of Hawaii. When you go about this, they may ask for a few things—including your business’ name, employer identification number, formation documents, and a registered agent that handles your taxes. Depending on which structure you choose, the state may ask you for different types of documents or certifications.

It’s All About Location

Before you can open, you need to find property for your business. You will want to choose a location that provides access to high foot traffic and your target audience—young adults, wealthy seniors, etc. Within Hawaii, places like Maui or Oahu could be ideal. If you plan to open a fully online store in Hawaii, however, you have a bit more freedom of where to operate in the state.

Focus on Banking

You will want to make sure your business has its own bank account so you can track expenses easily. Business banking helps keep your personal affairs safe and separate. The same goes for opening a business credit card. Keep track of transactions while also growing the business’ credit score. It could be helpful to obtain bank accounting software or an accountant to help you during tax season.

Insure Your Business

Once you start your business, signing up for insurance can help protect you against any possible risks or liabilities in the future. You could enroll in Workers’ Compensation Insurance, General Liability Insurance, or Professional Liability Insurance. In the state of Hawaii, Workers’ Compensation Insurance is required if your business has more than one employee.

Hiring Employees

For a business owner, finding employees can be a very exciting step. It demonstrates growth and also allows you to meet people with similar interests and visions as yourself. Of course, like everything else, you want to do it legally. This could mean making sure you are registered in the IRS for employer taxes as well as reporting your new hires to the state.

To make your life and your employees’ lives a bit easier, you may also want to look into a payroll service, which allows them to clock in and out and access tax information stress-free.


Allowing your business to stand out requires an amazing branding technique. Even if there is a similar business as yours across the street, your branding could help you grow more successfully than they do. Branding is how you are able to represent your business and give your audience a unique experience.

What do you want your brand to represent?
How do you want to be seen by your customers?

Questions like these could help you figure out your values and visions.

After branding, the next step is logo creation. Your logo will display on your price tags, coupons, bags, website, and in front of your physical store. It is important to create one that properly represents your business.

Get Online

To help your business grow, getting online is a crucial step. Create a website to show off your brand, products, and values. Your customers can use your website to learn more about you and find your store—or even buy from it!

Whether you have an online store or not, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are amazing ways to show off your product and reach out to your audience more closely.

Online Business

If you are hoping to create a fully online store, companies like Ecwid can lend you a helping hand, as well as make your online business dreams a reality. Ecwid can help you build your website and sell directly from there. They can also help you sell on multiple other social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.

Reach people around the world, raising your virtual traffic numbers and sales numbers at the same time. Ecwid also offers a simple dashboard where you can track your sales from every platform and monitor your inventory. If an online store is your goal, Ecwid can help.


While an online presence is great on its own, you can take it further with marketing. Online and offline marketing require a sufficient budget. Depending on the size and goals of your business, you may spend between $250 to $1,500 a month. 
If you want to focus on offline marketing, tried-and-true business cards, pamphlets, signage, and community events can be great methods to get your name into public recognition. Google My Business is also a great way to connect to locals online easily—without spending money. You can post pictures, your hours, contact information, and a summary of what you sell so locals can find you and be intrigued.

Online, that budget can go toward ad space on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. You can set up free business pages on those sites as well. If you want to create regulars, email and text subscriptions can be a great way to send customers deals or promos directly and get their attention.

Start Your Business Online

Starting a business online is faster and cheaper.
Transform it into an offline business later.

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Start Selling Products & Services Online

You don’t have to worry about the office or warehouse if you choose to sell online. Save your time and money.

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Learn the basics

Starting an Online Store Business is Easy.
We’ll Show You.

So you’re ready to start selling online. Now the million-dollar question… where do you start?

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Read real stories

Get Yourself Ready
For Surprises

Check out our blog series all about starting an online store without prior experience. It‘s sort of like our own ecommerce reality show—starring Nicole.

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Find a product

Looking For Things
To Sell Online?

Discover best-selling products and how you can start selling them online and make money.

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Select sales channels

Catch Your Customers Where They Are

We’ll help you navigate through the market and find the most profitable channels.

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Start Your Business Online

Starting a business online is faster and cheaper.
Transform it into an offline business later.

Start Selling Online

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