Starting a Business in Sitka
We’re here for you! Kickstart your business with the Sitka Chamber.
Are you fit to own a business? Before you start, take the time up front to ask yourself some important personal and business questions. Are you comfortable flying blind? Are you ready to commit? What’s your relationship with money? Consider taking a business self-assessment quiz before beginning your business journey.
Prepare a written business plan, and decide how you want to structure your business. Do you want to operate as a sole proprietorship? A partnership? A corporation? Read this article to learn more about business structure types, and talk with your accountant to decide the best structure for you. The United States Small Business Administration has business plan templates that are easy to use to help you move forward with your plan.
Many banks in Sitka offer lending for business startup. Consider looking local first. The United States Small Business Administration also offers lending for small business startups.
Tongass Federal Credit Union Business Lending
First Bank Business Lending
First National Bank Alaska Business Lending
Northrim Bank Business Lending
Wells Fargo Business Lending
United States Small Business Administration Lending
You will need to obtain your Alaska business license. First, decide on your business name and search the Alaska state database to see if a business name is already in use. Next, file your Alaska business license online. For assistance with your business license, contact the State of Alaska at firstname.lastname@example.org or (907) 465-2550.
Next, file your City of Sitka business registration for sales tax purposes. A deposit to the city is required to complete this step. Find this form on the City of Sitka business page.
Finally, you will need to file your business with the IRS for federal tax purposes. Visit the IRS’s business page on their website to determine the steps you will need to take according to your business type. If you are operating as anything other than a sole proprietorship, you will need to obtain a federal Employer Identification Number from the IRS.
If you are operating your business out of your home or are constructing a new building, you may need to look at City of Sitka zoning information to make sure your location is authorized to operate a business per zoning regulations.
Now it’s time to hire your staff! For a complete listing of Department of Labor information for employers, visit the Department of Labor and Workforce Development website.
If you are hiring employees, you will need to register with the Employment Security division to obtain an unemployment insurance identification number.
Next, learn about Workers Compensation Insurance and determine if you need to obtain the insurance based on your type of business.
Finally, review the Alaska Occupational Safety and Health requirements (commonly known as OSHA, known as AKOSH in Alaska) to determine compliance. This may include obtaining and hanging Fair Labor Standards Act workplace posters by requirement of law. Note: These poster files are free on the Department of Labor website and scams attempting to sell you these posters are common. Determine your poster compliance and obtain free posters here.
Congratulations, you’re ready to launch your business! We recommend having the following items complete before having your formal grand opening:
- Up to date website
- Social media established
- Complete logo
- Signage for physical business building (if needed)
- Policies and procedures established and readily available for employees
- A day-to-day business operations plan
- Sufficient product stock ordered
- Complete list of services or menu and pricing (if applicable)
Now it’s time to open your business! As your final step, connect with the Chamber of Commerce to see how we can further assist you throughout your new journey as a business owner. Click here to learn more about what we do for the Sitka business community.
Need more details? Read this Introduction to Establishing a Business by the State of Alaska.
For Sitka business resources, visit the City of Sitka’s business section on their website.
Photo credit: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation