When it comes to starting and growing a business in Charlotte, North Carolina, there’s one thing that all entrepreneurs have in common: they all have questions.
From creating a business plan to accessing financing to finding networking opportunities, small business owners often find themselves with more questions than answers. This is the reason CharlotteBusinessResources.com was created in the first place: as the one stop where Charlotte area business owners can find the answers and resources they’ve been seeking.
Since the launch of CharlotteBusinessResources.com, we’ve helped Charlotte small business owners find the answers to their most pressing questions.
Here are 10 of the most frequently asked questions we hear from entrepreneurs in Charlotte:
How do I write a business plan?
Whether you’re a first time small business owner or a seasoned entrepreneur, you need a plan to help you get started. It can help you stay on track to your goals, avoid mistakes, and ensure that all members of your team understand the game plan. But did you know that a business plan is more than a roadmap? Even if you’re borrowing money from your friends and family, most funding sources require a business plan before providing financing assistance.
To learn more, you can listen to this episode of our B2U Podcast, with Renee Hode from CPCC’s Small Business Center, where we present the question, “Why do people even need a business plan?” The SBA also offers a terrific resource covering the step-by-step process of writing a business plan.
Visit our Getting Started page for more information and local resources that can help you learn more about how to write a business plan!
How do I start a business online?
Online shopping is hotter than ever. With more and more customers opting for the digital storefront, many small business owners are looking for help selling and marketing their goods and services online.
Our resource partners have the information you need to start your online business. Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration has published a variety of articles on the topic that will help you better understand how to start an online business.
How do I patent an idea?
You have a great idea, but how do you protect it? Patents, trademarks and copyrights can seem as complex as the processes to get them.
In this episode of the B2U Podcast, Beth Scarborough, a librarian and patents and trademark representative at UNC Charlotte’s J. Murrey Atkins Library, offers some valuable information about how to patent an idea.
For more information, read our blog titled “Where to Start When Applying for a Patent, Trademark or Copyright.” You can also contact any of these resource partners, all of whom are experts and can help you understand everything you need to know when it comes to copyrights, patents and trademarks.
What is zoning?
By definition, zoning is the process of dividing land into zones in which certain land uses are permitted or prohibited. (Source.)
Before signing a lease or purchasing a building, small business owners need to make sure that they fully understand the legal issues and requirements surrounding the use of land and buildings in Charlotte. In this blog post, we cover a few tips that will help you better understand the zoning process in Charlotte.
How do I open a franchise?
For some entrepreneurs, becoming a franchisee is far more appealing than starting a business from scratch. If you already know the franchise you’d like to join, make sure to do your research to better understand the experiential and financial requirements of franchisees. The more you know about how to own a franchise, the more prepared you’ll be.
Franchising is a popular option for many entrepreneurs, and these local resources can give you greater insight into the advantages, disadvantages and requirements of being a franchise owner.
How do I start a business with limited finances?
Understanding how to start a business with limited finances is a challenge many entrepreneurs face. If you have a business plan in place, there are several resources in Charlotte that are available to help you understand the financial options available for you. From the City of Charlotte to BEFCOR to the U.S. SBA, find out how these resources and others can help you get your business started, no matter your budget.
How do I find grants for non-profits?
Entrepreneurs seeking funding for their non-profit have a variety of options and opportunities in Charlotte, including bequests, corporate contributions and, of course, grants.
Through classes and access to a free, easy to use resource center, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library connects entrepreneurs to the information they need to better understand how to find grants for non-profits.
For more help starting a non-profit, and for more information on your local funding options, click here.
How do I get the permits and licenses that I need to start a business?
You wouldn’t run your car without the proper driver’s license, and the same goes for your business. Before you open your doors, you might need to obtain federal and state licenses and permits. Learn more about the licenses and permits you need to get started!
For one, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library’s Starting a Business Checklist provides the information and contacts you need to obtain the appropriate licenses and permits. The City of Charlotte also offers detailed information about a variety of business licenses your business might need, as well as how to obtain them.
For more information about the licenses and permits required by the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, click here!
Where can I find networking opportunities?
If you’re wondering how to find networking opportunities, we’re thrilled to say that you’ve come to the right place.
A great place to start is by checking out our calendar. There you’ll find networking events, business classes and other opportunities to help you start and grow your business. Browse the events now, and be sure to reserve your spot; seats for these events and classes fill up quickly!
How do I find small business counseling?
Small business owners seek coaching and counseling for a variety of reasons. For one, a consultant can help you create successful business and financial plans to ensure that your business is on the right track for growth. By evaluating your business and your strategy, a business coach can make you aware of any risks and help you avoid making common entrepreneurial mistakes.