Top 5 Tips for Newcomers Starting a business in Hawaii

July 26, 2018 Written by Oralie Chapman

If you have recently moved to Hawaii or are dreaming about moving to Hawaii and plan to open a business then there are many things you should understand about the business community and local culture first. While operating a business in Hawaii may be similar to running a business anywhere, to be really successful in Hawaii newcomers must learn about and adopt its unique customs and pay special attention to relationships


Top 5 Tips to for newcomers starting a business in Hawaii

1. Think of Hawaii as a small town. Locals know each other and want to get to know newcomers before doing business with them. Connect with people on a personal level and show them through action that you are trustworthy, honest and respectful. The relationships that you form will be the foundation of your business. Know that your reputation – whether good or bad – will spread quickly.


2. Don’t walk in thinking you know everything; ask questions and listen first before sharing your knowledge and experience. Locals expect newcomers to learn about the Aloha way of doing business and to show humility and interest in Hawaii and its people. Seek advice from local business owners who know how things are done in Hawaii and understand that it may take time to prove that you should be a trusted part of the community. This famous phrase is relevant for business relationships in Hawaii: “People won't care how much you know until they know how much you care.”


3. Dress for business in Hawaii. The dress code in Hawaii is more laid back; you aren’t likely to need a suit and tie to do business here.


4. Volunteer. The business community in Honolulu is famously tightknit. Get involved in the community by working with nonprofit organizations. It feels good to give back but it is also a great way to network and benefit your career.


5. Create a network of people. The best way to learn about local customs is to create a network of people you have something in common with. Whether that’s completing a certification, going to graduate school, volunteering, or getting involved with the chamber of commerce; there are many opportunities to build a network.


Steps to starting a business in Hawaii

1.  Research the market

2.  Create a business plan

3. Choose a legal structure

4. Choose a business name

5. Apply for other permits and licenses

6. Gather tax information

7. Learn about Hawaiian employer responsibilities

Partnering with Makai HR

Not excited about employer laws? That’s okay; we’ve got you covered through HR outsourcing! When you partner with Makai HR you work on establishing or growing your business while we take care of your employee needs from payroll to taxes, health insurance/benefits and worker’s compensation. You also gain peace of mind that you are in compliance with all of Hawaii’s employer laws (if you’ve ever looked you know that the list is very long). When choosing a PEO to partner with, there are many things to consider including cost, services and technology solutions. 


With the cost of doing business in Hawaii at record highs, we know how important it is to keep labor costs in line with revenue. Our plans are priced competitively and include value-added services like time-in/time-out systems. Our three tiers of PEO service plans are tailored to the size of your business and specific needs. We offer a 100% paperless solution which means that your employees can manage their needs through a computer, tablet or phone. We can truly improve your employees work benefits while freeing you up to run your business.


What are you waiting for? Companies who partner with a PEO benefit from 7-9% faster growth, 10-14% lower employee turnover; and they are 50% less likely to go out of business. Contact us today to get started!


Partnering with Makai HR

Not excited about employer laws? That’s okay; we’ve got you covered through HR outsourcing! When you partner with Makai HR you work on establishing or growing your business while we take care of your employee needs from payroll to taxes, health insurance/benefits and worker’s compensation. You also gain peace of mind that you are in compliance with all of Hawaii’s employer laws (if you’ve ever looked you know that the list is very long). When choosing a PEO to partner with, there are many things to consider including cost, services and technology solutions. 


With the cost of doing business in Hawaii at record highs, we know how important it is to keep labor costs in line with revenue. Our plans are priced competitively and include value-added services like time-in/time-out systems. Our three tiers of PEO service plans are tailored to the size of your business and specific needs. We offer a 100% paperless solution which means that your employees can manage their needs through a computer, tablet or phone. We can truly improve your employees work benefits while freeing you up to run your business.


What are you waiting for? Companies who partner with a PEO benefit from 7-9% faster growth, 10-14% lower employee turnover; and they are 50% less likely to go out of business. Contact us today to get started!