Ecwid for Small Business

How to Start a Small Business in Michigan (MI)

Every aspiring entrepreneur has their own reason for wanting to open a business. They have a calling or the motivation to create something great. Whatever your reason may be, don’t let your inspirations falter due to fear.

If you want to open your business in Michigan, there are some amazing benefits to keep in mind. Michigan ranks 5th in lowest cost of living and 9th in lowest sales tax nationwide. On top of that, they are also 11th in access to funding for new small businesses. Talk about reasons to love the state of Michigan!

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Michigan’s Most Popular Businesses

You may already have a business idea in mind if you are wanting to open up a store in Michigan. You want to make sure to choose something you can be excited about and invest yourself in. There are some fan-favorites in Michigan from residents and visitors. For example, campgrounds, ice cream trucks, clothing boutiques, and drive-in movie theaters. Whatever business model you choose, it should speak to you on a personal level and inspire you to keep moving forward with your idea.

Planning Processes

While some of these initial steps to opening your business may not seem fun, they can keep your motivation high and remind you how close you are to getting those doors open.

1. Pick a name

A name is the face of your business. It is the first thing people see and the first thing to get judged. You will want to choose a name that will properly represent your business’s values. This is the name your customers will repeat to friends and family and talk about on social media. Whatever you choose should be able to show people what to expect and hope for when looking into your store.

There are some rules to keep in mind when choosing a business name in Michigan, however, don’t let guidelines stop your creative process or create a store that you believe in, even if it’s a little out of the box. There is a perfect name out there for your store. Sometimes it just takes a little time and creativity to unlock it.

2.  Conduct market research

As you are in the process of opening your store, this is the stage where you come to understand your customers and competitors. You can learn what your customers may want or need from a business like yours, see what your competitors are doing, and see how you can top the competition.

3.  Choose a structure

To legally open your doors, you will need to choose a business structure for your store. There are many options, so you want to choose one that will handle your goals and vision as a store. This could be an LLC, corporation, non-profit, partnership, or sole proprietorship.

Registering in Michigan

Through these steps, you have chosen a business structure that appropriately represents your business’s goals and vision. Once that is done, you must register your business with that structure in the state of Michigan. The state may ask for information like your business’s name, your Employer Identification Number, formation documents, and the name of your registered agent who handles your taxes. Depending on which structure you choose, the state of Michigan may ask for different documents or certifications.

It’s All About Location

If you are planning to open a brick-and-mortar store, one thing you should pay close attention to is the location you choose. You will want to pick an area with high foot traffic, where you believe your customers will be, and great word of mouth. In Michigan, you could start looking at cities like Detroit or Ann Arbor. If you are looking to open an online store, you have many more options with Michigan as a general base.

Focus on Banking

To help keep everything organized, you will want to open up a separate bank account for your business. Not only will this help keep your finances organized, but it will also help keep your personal affairs separate and safe as well.

This can also be done by opening up a credit card only for business transactions. It will keep transactions separate and also help grow a credit score for your store. On top of that, you also have the option of hiring a bank accountant or downloading a banking software that will keep your finances all in one spot and help make tax season easier.

Insure Your Business

To help keep your business safe from any risks or liabilities, it could be wise to sign up for insurance. This could be Workers’ Compensation Insurance, General Liability Insurance, or Professional Liability Insurance. No matter what you choose, in the state of Michigan, if your business has one or more employees, you must have some sort of Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

Hiring Employees

When you get to the stage of hiring employees, that means your business is going strong. Your store has shown amazing growth as well as strength in your products. That is something to be proud of! You are now able to hire like-minded people who can help share your visions.

As you hire people, you want to ensure you are doing it legally. All this means is to make sure you are registered with the IRS for Employer Taxes and reporting all your new hires to the state of Michigan.


As you think about branding, you need to consider how you want your business to stand out. This is your chance to create a store unlike any other for your customers, give them a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, and to show the world your values as a business. Here are some questions to consider along the way:

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

Questions like these may be able to help you narrow down exactly what you would like to see within your store.

Once you figure out your branding, you can see what kind of logo you want. A simple picture or set of words will represent your business on business cards or price tags. You will want to make sure it can stand out as well.

Get Online

In our growing virtual world, being online can be key when it comes to owning a business. The first step could be to set up a website. This is where your customers can find your business, see information, photos, updates, and even buy products straight from the site if you wish.

No matter if you have an online store or not, utilizing social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok can be a fantastic way to connect with your customers and share your products.

Online Business

Of course, if you are thinking of opening an entirely online store, this has already popped into your head.

Companies like Ecwid are there to help create an amazing website that shows off your business and products and helps make your online store dreams a reality.

They can also assist in connecting your products to other selling platforms like Facebook and Instagram. From there, you are essentially selling your products all over the internet. Ecwid gives you the opportunity to track all your sales from every platform on one simple dashboard as well as giving you an inventory run down. If an online store is more enticing than a brick-and-mortar, Ecwid could easily become your best friend when it comes to making those dreams a reality.


While being online can be a huge step up, marketing truly gets you the sales. Depending on the size and goals of your business, you could set aside a budget of $250 to $1,500 a month for marketing. If you want to focus on offline strategies, you could make business cards, pamphlets, and signage.

If you want to be more online, you can use that money to pay for ad space on Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube. A nice mix of the two could also be Google My Business. A free program where local customers can find you and see a rundown of information and photos.

Of course, a tried and true strategy is email and text subscriptions to keep those repeat customers and showcase deals.

Whatever your motivation may be, don’t get scared away from the challenges. If you have passion for what you do, success will surely follow.

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

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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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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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