Licensing burden eased with online filing

  • Monday, February 23, 2015 1:50pm
  • Business

How easy is starting a business on the Kenai Peninsula in 2015? Due to improving technology and more resources to assist prospective business owners, it’s never been easier according to many around the community.

To start a business in Kenai, a person must get a state of Alaska business license and a Kenai Peninsula Borough sales tax certificate. Other permits vary depending on the city, and nature of the business.

According to Kathy Fagerstrom, program coordinator for the Alaska division of corporations, business and professional licensing, the state of Alaska began offering business licenses online in August 2000. Before that, applications had to be filled out and sent in by mail.

Scott Cunningham, who owns several McDonald’s restaurants on the peninsula, said the state of Alaska website is relatively easy to navigate. He said that when he initially applied for a business license over two decades ago, it was done through the mail. However, the internet has made the process more convenient.

“It does make it a lot easier,” Cunningham said. “It’s super simple.”

Bryan Zak, assistant state director for the Alaska Small Business Development Center, also said getting a general business license online is a fairly simple process.

“Compared to years past, I would say it’s definitely easier,” Zak said. “The main reason for that is where the internet and technology is as far as the usefulness of information to help you get a business started.”

Zak said the online process is not only easy — it’s quick as well. “Obtaining a business license the state of Alaska business-licensing site, you are able to go to the site and actually complete the paper within 15 minutes and have a business license,” Zak said.

The Alaska Small Business Development Center, which offers free consultations to people wishing to start a business, has many locations around Alaska. Their website also provides tools to help people in different stages of business development. Zak said such tools and resources weren’t readily available in years past.

“I definitely feel like it’s so much easier than it ever used to be,” Zak said. “In the past, finding a good business planning tool or financial projection model tool was difficult. You may find it if you took a class at the college or something, so it was a more long-term commitment from the person thinking about starting the business.”

The biggest mistake small business owners make is not doing a financial projection he said.

“If you don’t do a financial projection first, and you go ahead and move forward without looking at a cash flow or a financial projection for that business — that would be a big mistake,” he said.

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