Ecwid for Small Business

How to Start a Small Business in Tennessee (TN)

Ranking 4th nationally in terms of ease of doing business, and 8th in both lowest tax income and lowest tax burden, starting a small business in Tennessee might be just the right idea.

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Best Business Ideas for Tennessee

It’s okay if all you know about your small business is that you want to start one! Here is a list of some popular small business ideas in Tennessee:

  • Fence building and repair company
  • Grocery store
  • Security guard company
  • Clothing boutique
  • Hornet keeper

Whatever you decide to do, 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 to drafting up a successful business plan.

1. Playing the name game

Choose a name for your business that is straightforward and doesn’t leave your customers wondering what you do. While there are some rules and regulations for naming your business, don’t let that discourage you. For example, Stinging Delights is an excellent name for your hornet keeping business.

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! Stinging Delights found out it may not have the market 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 offers favorable tax treatment, while a nonprofit is funded by donations, as opposed to investors. Stinging Delights would likely work best as a corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship.

Registering in Tennessee

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

Congrats: Stinging Delights, LLC is now an officially recognized business in the state of Tennessee!

Best Location for Your Business in Tennessee

When deciding where to put your small business, it’s important to determine what your goals are with it. Do you anticipate growth? Is your business going to rely heavily on foot traffic? If so, it’s a good idea to find an office space in an area such as Nashville or Memphis. Whether you opt to set up in your bedroom or a nice downtown office space, it’s important to determine what paperwork is needed to make it legal.

Stinging Delights decided that it’s best to operate in a rural area with lots of space because hornets aren’t known for their love of tourists.

Banking and Accounting

It’s important to ensure you have a business account that’s separate from your personal account. This will not only help you to stay on top of your business expenditures, it will also help to make sure your personal assets are protected in the event your business is sued. It’s also recommended to open a line of credit under your business’ name, as having established credit makes your small business more attractive to potential lenders. We also recommend hiring a business accountant. They can help your business save thousands a year.

Ensure Your Business Is Insured

Business insurance is crucial to growing your small business in Tennessee. It’s a way to ensure your business avoids any unknown risks, like an employee stubbing their toe on the property, or a raccoon deciding to pilfer your inventory closet. When disaster strikes, insurance can save you from the brink of despair. In Tennessee, any company with five or more employees is required to have worker’s comp insurance. Yes, this includes LLCs.

Permits and Licensing

The types of licenses and permits needed to operate your small business legally depend on where you are and what kind of business you’re opening. The best way to figure out exactly what you need is to conduct a search on a federal and state level, then calling your local clerk’s office and asking them directly. We recommend using a professional’s help during this step to ensure you have everything you need.

Hiring Employees

Hiring can be an exciting part of the small business startup process. Curating the perfect team to represent your business is thrilling. However, it’s important to ensure your business is operating legally. This includes signing up with the IRS for employee taxes, reporting new hires to the State of Tennessee, and registering for unemployment tax with the state. Once you’ve got your A-team, we recommend starting a payroll. This not only ensures your employees get paid on time, but it helps lighten your load.


Branding is fun for some, miserable for others. How do you determine the unique brand identity you should publicize in your state? 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. Stinging Delights thinks bright, vibrant colors with a fun and funky font works best to express what they do. You may decide soft, 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 there are entirely too few hornet keepers in the world? Do you believe there is absolutely no need for a hornet keeper because these pests don’t even do anything for the earth, as far as you can tell? 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 opportunities.

If this seems to be way too much stress, 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, like the ones mentioned above. Ecwid even allows you to track your digital sales on a dashboard, where you can check on your inventory. They’ll help make sure your Tennessee small business is the best it can be.

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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