How to Apply for a Business License. The types of licenses you'll need to run your business depend on your industry and the state in which you operate.
Go to the appropriate government agencies to see which licenses you need. Be aware that there are licensing requirements at all levels of government - federal, state, regional, county and city.
Acquire any necessary specialized licenses such as those needed to sell food and liquor or to handle hazardous materials.
Find out if your profession requires a license. Lawyers, dentists and doctors, mechanics and real estate agents all require a professional license before they open up shop. You may, too.
If you are buying an existing business, see if the licenses are transferable. Some expire once ownership changes hands. Licenses take time to be transferred, so find out how it works where you are.
Check with the state chamber of commerce, local trade associations and professional groups for information on licenses and state registration.