Business Planning

“The business plan is more than a document. First and foremost, it is a process; a process that enables an individual, and more importantly a team, to come together and commit to a business adventure of significant personal and professional risk.

The business plan is a process that evaluates the opportunity, quantifies the resources required and lays out a road map for implementation. The business plan integrates all the functional elements- marketing, sales, operations and finance into a single cohesive force.”

—Concord Business Development

Colorado Small Business FAQs

First consult the Colorado Business Resource Book, a basic guide to starting a business in Colorado. The guide is customized to include the specific forms and licensing information for each individual business. If you still have questions, contact the Small Business Navigator at 720-665-7439. 

To verify if a name is already being used in Colorado, check the Secretary of State website. Corporations, limited liability companies, sole proprietors, general partnerships, and trade names register organizational paperwork with the Secretary of State (303-894-2200). Trade name registration with the Secretary of State does NOT establish exclusive rights. However; it is required when doing business under any name other than the first and last names of the owner(s)/organizer(s). For more information, refer to the Legal Structure chapter of the Colorado Business Resource Book.

The State of Colorado does not issue or require a generic general business license. Licenses are issued by various state agencies for specific types of business, activities and professions. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies has more information on types of licenses required for different professions.

The Colorado sales tax license is for state and state-administered sales and use taxes. Most Colorado sales tax license types are valid for a two-year period and expire at the end of each odd-numbered year. You will use Colorado tax form CR100. In Colorado, services are not subject to sales tax. In general, tangible personal property is subject to sales and use taxes in Colorado. For reference, see §39-26-102(15)(a)(I) C.R.S.

These licenses will only cover state and state-collected tax jurisdictions. If you are in a home-rule city, contact that city for their additional license requirements. Find out which cities are home-rule.

The state sales tax rate in Colorado is 2.9%. However, sales tax is also collected for counties, cities and special districts. The exact sales tax rate is determined by adding the various rates that apply at the location where a sales transaction is completed. The state collects the majority of all sales taxes. However, there are 71 “home rule” cities that require separate licensing and directly collect their city’s portion of the sales tax on all sales made within their jurisdiction. To learn more, visit Revenue Online and find the “Sales & Use Tax” section. The Department of Revenue publishes the Colorado Sales/Use Tax Rates, DR 1002, which lists the tax rates for all jurisdictions in Colorado. The Colorado Sales Tax chapter of the Colorado Business Resource Book is also available.

Workers’ compensation insurance is purchased through private insurance companies in Colorado. There is not a state fund. The Colorado Legislature created Pinnacol Assurance (303-361-4000), a non-profit insurance carrier, to sell workers’ comp. It is not, however, a state agency. Many new businesses frequently obtain their workers’ comp through Pinnacol; however, it not required that new business use Pinnacol. Businesses are encouraged to shop for the best rates and service as they would for any other form of insurance. Consult directories and speak with other business owners for references. For information regarding employer responsibilities to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage, contact the Division of Workers’ Compensation (303-318-8700) or refer to the Employer Responsibilities chapter of the Colorado Business Resource Book.

For the majority of employers, the beginning base tax rate is 0.017 plus principle bond rate of 0.0038 for the combined rate of 0.0208 on the first $11,700 of each employee’s annual earnings. Those employers in construction-related businesses may be subject to a different tax base. For more information regarding unemployment insurance, visit the Employers section of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment or refer to the Employer Responsibilities chapter of the Colorado Business Resource Book.

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