Looking to start a small business in Kansas? You may need to obtain one or more state licenses or permits, or complete one or more kinds of state registration, as part of the start-up process. Here's a quick look at some of the main informational resources available and a few of the steps you may need to take.
The Kansas Small Business Development Center (Kansas SBDC) provides guidance on how to start and grow your business. This includes help with things like exploring your business idea, reviewing your business plan, selecting a business entity, and preparing to meet with a lender. The website also has information on free online training sessions and confidential business counseling services. The Kansas SBDC is part of a national network of small business development centers.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a district office in Kansas City. The office's website lists upcoming events, resources, and news for small businesses. The SBA also publishes a Kansas-specific Resource Guide for Small Business that you can download from the SBA website.
Not every Kansas business needs a license. Moreover, Kansas does not have a general business license issued by the state. However, many types of business either can or must get one or more licenses or permits. Many of these licenses and permits are considered "regulatory" and may relate to things such as:
Ultimately, however, there is a vast number of regulatory licenses and permits. Moreover, different licenses and permits are issued by different state agencies. For help figuring out which regulatory licenses and permits may apply to your particular business, check the Common Business Licenses / Permits section of the Kansas.gov website. The section lists dozens of the most common licenses and permits
In addition, some required licenses may be issued locally. The requirements vary depending on the city or county involved. For example, the City of Wichita has its own business licensing rules. You can find more details by checking the website for the city and county where you'll operate your business. Some businesses may be exempt from local licensing requirements under state or federal law.
Beyond obtaining required licenses or permits, some legal forms of business, such as corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs), are required to file records with the state. More specifically, corporations, LLCs, and certain other types of business must file organizational documents with the Kansas Secretary of State (SOS). Check the Kansas Business Center website for more details. The Kansas Business Center is sponsored by the SOS.
If you're a member of any one of many professions and occupations, you'll need to be licensed by the State of Kansas. Some of these professions and occupations are included in the list in the Common Business Licenses / Permits section of the Kansas.gov website. By clicking on a profession or occupation on that list, you'll generally be taken to a webpage for the relevant state regulatory board that will include detailed information about licensing requirements. Some professions, such as physician or attorney, are not included on the list. In those cases, you may need to do an Internet search for your particular profession or occupation to find state licensing information.
Example: Marcia wants to work as a licensed real estate appraiser. She'll need to apply for a license through the Kansas Real Estate Appraisal Board. She can find detailed information by clicking on Real Estate Appraiser on the licenses and permits section of the Kansas.gov website, which will take her to the Board's website.
Many small businesses don't simply operate under the names of their owners. Instead, they operate under a business name. In addition, some businesses, such as corporations and LLCs, may originally register with the state under one name (sometimes called the registered name, actual name, or true name), but later choose to operate under another name. Depending on where you're doing business and how your business is structured, this alternative business name technically may be known as an assumed name, a fictitious name, a trade name, or a DBA (for "doing business as"). Kansas is unusual in that it does not provide any way to register assumed business names, nor does it have any statutes requiring or permitting the registration or filing of DBAs or fictitious names.
There are separate legal definitions for trademarks, service marks, and trade names. However, speaking very generally, trademarks, service marks, and trade names are used to uniquely identify goods (products), services, or a business. This includes distinguishing a product, service, or business from potential competitors. Trademarks and service marks can be registered with the state. (This is distinct from federal registration.) You can find more information by going to the Trademark/Service Mark section of the SOS website.
Example: Victor wants to sell his coffee-cocoa candy bars under the name "Vic's Mocha Cocoa Buzz Bars." So—after checking to make sure the name isn't already in use—he files a Form TMA 58-01, Trademakr Application, including the filing fee, with the SOS. He can download a copy of the form from the Business Entity Forms section of the SOS website.
This article covers only the very tip of the iceberg regarding small business licenses and registrations in Kansas. You can find much more information in the many other articles in the Small Business section here on Nolo.com. Many of those articles are part of 50-state series—so you can get plenty of information that's specific to the State of Kansas. You can also find expanded information in many Nolo books, such as Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business, by Fred S. Steingold, and The Small Business Start-Up Kit, by Peri Pakroo.