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What are the requirements for getting a business and import license?

I am planning to start a handicrafts import business in Wisconsin. I need to know the requirements for getting a business license and import license. Should I have an attorney from the beginning to guide me with the legal documents? Are there government attorneys available, since I can't afford an attorney on my own ?

The laws are very complex concerning the importation of goods, and from my perspective (although, hey, I'm an attorney), I wouldn't want to start a business--any business--without one. Especially not one involving import/export issues. While there is government information available, these people cannot give you specific legal advice, nor can they draft contracts for you, or specifically advise you about whether the language in any form of contracts you might be using is appropriate for your situation.

More importantly, do you have enough money at your disposal to start this business? Import businesses can involve a certain amount of cash outlay before you are (re)paid by your customers. And having the right advisors on your team are an important factor in your start-up considerations and expenses. Make sure you have put together a business plan and run your proposed finances so that your business can get off to a solid start.

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