Ecwid for Small Business

How to Start a Small Business in Rhode Island (RI)

Doing business in Rhode Island may be easier than you think. With Rhode Island having the 4th best access to funding and ranking 25th lowest in sales tax, it’s no secret why RI ranks 18th in its rate of new entrepreneurs!

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Best Business Ideas for Rhode Island

If the only thing you know about your small business is that you want to start one, that’s ok! Here are some of the best business ideas for Rhode Island:

  • Canoe and kayak rental business
  • AirB&B rental property
  • Clothing line
  • Drive-in movie theater
  • Broken glass artist

Whatever you choose, you’re going to need to draft a solid business plan.

Planning Processes

Drafting a business plan can be daunting, we get it. That’s why we have a step-by-step instruction guide for drafting up your business plan.

1. Playing the name game

Choose a name for your business that is straightforward and doesn’t leave your customers wondering what exactly you do. While there are some rules and regulations for naming your business, don’t let that discourage you. For example, All Cracked Up is an excellent name for your broken glass artist studio.

2.  Conducting market research

It’s crucial to get to know your market. Do search engine optimization research. Hold focus groups. Conduct surveys. You may find out surprising things! All Cracked Up found out it may not have the audience it originally thought it would.

3.  Structuring your business

LLC, corporation, nonprofit, partnership, sole proprietorship: which is best? It depends on what your goal is. Registering as an LLC has favorable tax treatment, while a nonprofit is funded by donations, as opposed to investors. All Cracked Up would likely work best as a corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship.

Registering in Rhode Island

Get all the info you need about your business. Get your business’ name, the employer identification number (EIN), get the name of your registered agent and file those formation documents. Depending on the structure you choose, you may need different documents.

Congrats: All Cracked Up, LLC is now an officially recognized business in the state of Rhode Island!

Best Location for Your Business in Rhode Island

Before you decide on the best space to conduct your business, you’re going to need to determine some of your goals. Do you expect your business to have significant growth? Do you need to rely heavily on foot traffic for your business? If so, you should consider getting an office space in a heavily populated area, such as Providence. Wherever you decide to locate your business’ headquarters, like an office space or your apartment, you’ll need to determine what paperwork is necessary.

Banking and Accounting

We strongly recommend having separate accounts for your personal and your business. While a business account makes it easier to manage your business’ expenditures, it also helps to protect your personal assets should you ever get sued. You should also consider opening a credit line in your business’ name, as having established credit makes your business more attractive to potential lenders. We recommend hiring a business accountant, as they can help to save your business thousands of dollars annually.

Ensure Your Business Is Insured

Business insurance is crucial to growing your small business in Rhode Island. Coverage can help protect your business and avoid any unpredicted risks, like an employee stubbing their toe on the property, or a harbor seal deciding it wants to use your store as a slip-and-slide. In Rhode Island, any company with one or more employees is required to have worker’s comp insurance. Yes, this includes LLCs and corporate offices.

Permits and Licensing

Every business needs different permits and licensing. The best way to determine what is needed is by conducting a search on a federal, state, and local level. We recommend calling your local clerk’s office and asking them directly which licenses and permits are needed on a local level. We strongly recommend hiring a professional for this step.

Hiring Employees

Hiring can be an exciting part of a new business’ life. It’s a time when many small business owners can see their dreams coming to fruition, carefully curating the best team to properly represent your brand. However, it’s important to make sure your hiring practices are legal. This includes registering with the IRS for employee taxes, reporting new hires to the State of Rhode Island, and registering for Rhode Island employee taxes.


Branding is fun for some, miserable for others. Where do you begin? First, let’s start with the logo. Make sure your logo is representative of the brand and what you offer, then make sure it’s visually pleasing to your customer. All Cracked Up thinks bright pop colors with a modern font works best to express what they do. You may decide muted, calming colors work best for your brand. There is plenty of software online that can help you if you’re stumped, too.

Branding also requires you to think about what your values are as a company. Do you believe broken glass art is the backbone of American society? Do you believe that modern art is going to be the downfall of society as a whole? This might seem like an odd example, but it’s necessary to make it clear to yourself as much as to your customer the values your company holds itself to and what it can offer to your customers.

Do some personal reflection and truly embrace what your company believes in. Making sure these points strike home will ensure that your customers are in it for the long run.

Online Presence

In the day and age of social media, having an online presence for your brand is very important. While this can look like having a website and online store (if applicable), this also means needing Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok accounts. One of the best things you can do for your business is following trends on social media. It makes you look hip and in-touch, and it will help your business flourish. Get creative!


Having an online presence is great, but what about marketing on those platforms? All legitimate businesses have a website. And, if we’re being honest, the less legitimate ones do, too. Unfortunately, social media profiles are not a replacement for a website. Having a professional website makes your brand seem trustworthy and reliable, and it offers all-around better branding.

If this seems to be way too much, don’t worry! Companies like Ecwid help your store grow and succeed. They can help you create a beautiful, easy-to-navigate website while allowing you to market your products on other online platforms mentioned above. Ecwid even allows you to track your digital sales on a dashboard, where you can monitor your inventory. They’ll help make sure your Rhode Island small business is the sharpest it can be.

Start Your Business Online

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

Try now

No credit card required

Go online

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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