Ecwid for Small Business

How to Start a Small Business in Minnesota (MN)

The motivation to open a store looks a little different for every business owner. This diversity can make for some amazing stores out there. One thing they all have in common? A dream. And a plan. If you’re based in Minnesota, there are some great benefits to opening a business right in your home state.

Minnesota ranked 3rd in overall quality of life and 5th as far as fastest startup growth is concerned. On top of that, Minnesota is also 10th in access to funding for new small businesses.

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Minnesota’s Most Popular Businesses

When opening up a business, you should have great motivation and interest in the field you are thinking of pursuing. But if you’re a little stumped for ideas, Minnesota has some favorite business types for both residents and visitors alike. For example, Minnesotans tend to like comedy clubs, clothing boutiques, towing companies, and drive-in movie theaters. But no matter what type of business you’re thinking of, you want to do something that speaks to you, and that you think you’ll be able to remain passionate about.

Planning Processes

There are some important steps to follow to get your business up and running without any hiccups.

1. Pick a name

The name of your business is very important. It is the first step of representation and is a way to show your customers what to expect as they enter your doors. You will want to choose a name that shows your values and brand clearly. Through that one word or few words that make up your name, it should be able to put across your visions.

In Minnesota, there are some rules to keep in mind while choosing a name for your business, but don’t let those rules stop you from opening up your dream business.

You can still pick a name that you can be proud of and one that customers can remember you.

2.  Conduct market research

With market research, you can learn more about your desired customers and what they might want and need out of a business like yours. You can also assess what your competitors are doing and see what you could improve on.

3.  Choose a structure

To open your store and be credible with the state, you will need to choose a business structure for your store. You can select a structure that can help show your vision and values. This could look like an LLC, non-profit, cooperation, partnership, or sole proprietorship.

Registering in Minnesota

At this point, you have chosen a business structure that best represents your business’s goals. After this, you will need to register your business under that structure in Minnesota. The state may ask for certain information like your business’s name, formation documents, Employer Identification Number, and the name of the registered agent that handles your taxes.

Of course, depending on which structure you choose, the state may ask for different documents or certifications.

It’s All About Location

To open a successful brick-and-mortar store, you should pay attention to where you open your doors. A place with high foot traffic will give you more sales than low foot traffic. You may also want to look at where you believe your customers frequent. Within Minnesota, you could look at cities like Duluth or Rochester and see from there.

On the other hand, if you are more interested in opening an online store, the whole of Minnesota is your playground.

Focus on Banking

When you choose to open up a business, you should also open up a business bank account. This way, it is easier to track everything in one place.

This can also be assisted by the use of a business credit card. This will help track transactions while also gaining a credit score. If finances aren’t your area of expertise, you could also hire an accountant or use banking software to have all your finances put together and handled while also making tax season easier on you.

Insure Your Business

Getting some sort of insurance for your business can help keep you, your workers, and your business safe from possible risks or liabilities. This could be Workers’ Compensation Insurance, General Liability Insurance, or even Professional Liability Insurance. Whatever you may choose, if you have one or more employees in the state of Minnesota, you will need Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

Hiring Employees

Once you are hiring employees, you can pat yourself on the back. That shows amazing growth within your business and great strength in your product! Now is your chance to hire like-minded people and employees who will help express your vision. To make sure you are hiring above board, you want to make sure you are registered with the IRS for Employer Taxes and reporting all your new hires to the state of Minnesota.


Branding is your chance to make your business stand out from all the rest. With branding, you have the opportunity to share your values as a business, give an experience to your customers, and show the world your amazing product. Branding is there to help you stand out from competitors.

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

Questions like these could help you determine what kind of branding techniques and look you want to go for.

After figuring out your brand, you can move on to a logo. This logo will go on price tags, a website, and business cards, so it is important to represent your store well.

Get Online

Our world today is increasingly virtual, meaning businesses have to keep up as well. The first step towards this would be to create a website. This is how customers can find you, learn about your values, read information, and even buy straight from the site if you wish.

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar or an online store, being on social media can be beneficial as well. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok allow you to connect with your customers directly, share updates, promos, or new products to come.

Online Business

Of course, online businesses are soaring in popularity, and a website is still an essential starting point. 
Companies like Ecwid are there to help your dreams of an online business become a reality by being right by your side to see your business succeed and grow. 
They can help create a website and connect your products to other selling platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. By selling on multiple sites, you allow your products to be seen by even more people and get more virtual foot traffic. Ecwid also shows all your sales all in one dashboard and gives you a rundown of your inventory so you can adequately restock. Depending on your vision and business plans, an online store could be a perfect way to showcase your business to the world.


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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Transform it into an offline business later.

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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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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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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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