Thinking of starting a business? The steps outlined here will connect you to resources to help you get started realizing your dream.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Find out if you have what it takes to own and operate your own business:
This interactive assessment tool is designed to help prospective business owners and entrepreneurs better understand their readiness for starting a small business.
Starting a business is a big decision. This SBA toolkit will help guide your decision-making process.
An on-line training module to help you assess yourself as a potential business owner and determine the feasibility of your business idea.
A SBTDC resource guide providing you with an overview of everything from assessing your potential as a business owner to financing your business. Informative and easy to read.
GET BUSINESS ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING
Getting professional advice can make the difference between long-term business success and short-term failure. These local resources can help you get started and be better positioned for long-term success. Be sure to check out the calendar of events for current opportunities.
CREATE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
Your business plan is your road map to success and will serve as the foundation that will help you achieve your goals.
On-Line Business Plan Templates:
- BizPlanit offers an on-line Virtual Business Plan
- BPlan offers free sample business plans
- Entrepreneur.com provides free business plan templates
Local Training Opportunities:
The Institute for Entrepreneurship offers courses and seminars covering a wide variety of topics related to starting a business, including business plan basics to an in-depth look at researching and developing a well thought-out business plan. Many seminars are FREE! View their current schedule here.
Charlotte SCORE provides free and confidential small business advice for entrepreneurs and small businesses and can help you develop your start-up plan.
The SBTDC has created an on-line training module to help you with your business plan. Learn why you need a plan, what to include in your plan, and tips for writing a successful plan.
View the SBA’s self-paced overview of business planning and access sample plans and resources that can help you develop a very good business plan.
A short overview of the importance of developing your marketing plan and how it fits into your overall business plan.
Compiled by the SBA, watch entrepreneurs explain successful marketing techniques.
Google and the SBA have partnered to educate businesses about how to succeed online. Each video describes how a small business owner successfully uses the internet to grow its business.
Resources encompass everything from performing market research to learning more about your industry, customers and competitors.
Market Research Tools
Reference USA provides business and consumer research, providing tools for business owners & entrepreneurs to conduct market research, select a location and do a radius search to look up competitors, check the strength of competition and look for businesses to buy or connect with.
AccessNC allows you to search property details and map out locations in addition to getting drive-time and distance reports related to demographic information such as workforce, population and businesses.
The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce makes demographic and economic profiles of the region available.
The Charlotte Regional Partnership offers comprehensive demographic information for the 16 county Charlotte region.
This guide is intended to assist you with your research as you perform an analysis of your business industry.
DETERMINE YOUR LEGAL STRUCTURE
The structure of a business affects taxation, legal and financial liability, decision-making authority and more. Remember, you should consult with your business attorney and accountant before making this important decision.
BLNC provides you with a brief overview of basic business structures and helpful links to help you with business formation in North Carolina.
The Institute offers courses and seminars covering a wide variety of topics related to starting and operating a business, including how to choose your legal structure. Many seminars are FREE! View their current schedule here.
A SBTDC resource guide providing an overview of critical information you need to start a business, including choosing your legal structure. Simple and easy to read.
GET LICENSE AND PERMIT REQUIREMENTS
Most businesses are required to obtain some kind of license or permit to operate and sometimes multiple permits are required. Understanding all of the various licenses and permits required for your business is critical.
UNDERSTAND TAXES AND RECORDKEEPING
Taxation for small businesses can be simple or complex depending on size and business structure. BLNC has compiled basic information to help businesses understand tax requirements in North Carolina.
The Institute offers courses and seminars covering a wide variety of topics related to taxes and recordkeeping for small business owners, including QuickBooks training. Many seminars are FREE! View their current schedule here.
Information on the federal taxes you need to be aware, and a Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop designed to help new small business owners learn about their tax rights and responsibilities.
Resources to help you find the tax information and forms you need. Learn about North Carolina’s sales & use tax, machinery & equipment tax, income tax withholding and more. Electronically register for a North Carolina account ID.
Helping business owners stay abreast of tax requirements, the SBA provides key resources for start-ups & other small business owners and self-employed individuals .
BLNC has compiled a list of requirements for business owners who plan to hire employees in North Carolina.
Need to know what steps you need to take to hire employees? Learn what the SBA has to say.
North Carolina labor rules and regulations you need to know about with available training resources. Sign up to receive a new business packet with information about available services and information about workplace safety, wage and hour issues, and the required North Carolina Workplace Laws poster.
Human resource rules & regs can get really complicated. TEA provides great resources and training services to organizations of all sizes and industries in the greater Charlotte area. They can help you keep up with the ever changing field of human resources.
LEARN ABOUT INSURANCE
Running a small business involves a significant investment. Learn why having business insurance is important, tips for buying insurance, types of business insurance, and much more.
Workers compensation is a form of insurance for employees. Employers are required by statute to carry Workers Compensation insurance based on the number and type of employees they have.
CHOOSE A BUSINESS LOCATION
There are many factors you need to consider before you choose a location for your business. Depending on the type of business you plan to operate, everything from local zoning and land-use regulations to market and demographic information can be important to finding the right location. Learn about the tools available to help you begin to understand how to find the perfect location for your business.
FINANCE YOUR BUSINESS
Most start-up businesses are financed with funds from family, friends or other personal resources such as credit cards. Qualified start-up businesses – those with, among other things, solid industry experience, personal equity and adequate collateral – may be eligible for funding from both traditional banks and non-traditional lenders alike. Learn how to get ready to talk to a lender about a business loan and the various programs and incentives that are available to help you find the funding you need.
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