The Importance of Small Businesses in Idaho

Oct 26, 2022 | Business, Employment Law, Litigation

By Cora Whitney

As of 2021, there were 176,029 small businesses were active in the state of Idaho*. They provide thousands of jobs as they generate a significant percentage of our state tax revenue. Small businesses are a big deal to the overall economy of Idaho, but there are legal issues all small business owners must be aware of.

Knowing how to protect yourself as a business owner is a key part of starting and growing a successful business in Idaho. Business owners and entrepreneurs must ensure they understand the laws that apply to their specific industry as well as the specific jurisdiction  where  their business operates.


Is Idaho small business friendly? 

Yes! As the population has rapidly grown, so has Idaho’s economic prosperity. There are many programs designed to help new entrepreneurs get started and stay in business. The Governor’s office and many local Chamber of Commerce organizations offer advice and guidance to anyone looking to start a business in the state. In addition, Idaho has relatively low property taxes, and the corporate income tax rate is just 6%.


What types of small businesses are in Idaho?

Idaho’s small businesses are diverse. With the recent growth in population, there has been a similar expansion of all small businesses, however, construction businesses make up the largest percentage of small businesses in Idaho. Healthcare, agriculture, professional/technical services, and retail services are also top choices for those looking to start a business in Idaho. Additionally,  a large number of small businesses support the tech industry, which is a large-scale employer in the state.  


How can I start a small business in Idaho?

We wrote an in depth article describing the best practices for opening a small business in Idaho. You can read more about it here.


Is there a business registry for Idaho? How can I check it?

Idaho’s list of registered businesses can be found here. We strongly encourage you to research your potential new business’ name, as well as to check for any trademark issues before moving forward with the name.


Do I really need a lawyer for my small business?

While it isn’t mandatory, it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer to ensure you aren’t exposing yourself to  personal liability. Without the proper protections in place, like strong contracts and the creation of a separate legal entity, you could be personally liable for damages or lawsuits brought against your business. Legally sound businesses often start being legally sound before they even register with the state – the proper type of business structure, such as an LLC, can help mitigate your risks and keep you out of trouble. A lawyer can help you determine what structure is the best fit for you and your business.

We strongly recommend that small business owners work with an attorney to review and finalize their contracts. A majority of the folks who work with us do so in order to make sure that their agreements are legally sound from the get-go, rather than years down the road when not much remedy is available. 


How can Smith + Malek help my small business?

At Smith + Malek, we’re here to fully support you as you navigate the legal requirements of operating a small business in the Gem State. That’s one of the reasons we created a free Small Business Law Clinic to show you how easy it can be starting a new business in Idaho.

Whether you need help incorporating, handling business negotiations, or drafting employment contracts (including non-disclosure agreements), we’re here to help make your Idaho-based small business a success, while ensuring your interests are protected and served.


Cora Whitney is a Business and Real Estate attorney with Smith + Malek, PLLC practicing in Idaho and Washington. If you have questions about these areas of law, contact Cora at 208-215-2411,

This has been presented as general information and not as legal advice. Do not engage in legal decision-making without the advice of a competent attorney after a discussion of your specific circumstances.

*Additional resources/information