Do you want to quit working for someone and start a business of your own but have no idea how to go about it?
Of course, North Carolina has been ranked by Forbes as #1 for ease of doing business, so, understandably, you’d want to plant yours as soon as possible.
So, here’s a step-by-step guide to put you on the right track.
1. Get a business name
Naming your business can be fun and technical as well. Get a name that resonates with your customers and can quickly tell at a glance the kind of business you’re into, such as Your Fav Painter LLC. When naming your business in Charlotte, ensure it follows all NC naming rules and that it isn’t registered by any other company in your state. This is to avoid violating the trademark policy.
Choosing a unique business name will also prevent consumers from mistaking your company for another. To know if your chosen business name is free, check with your secretary of state’s office. Also, check if your chosen domain name which reflects your business name is available.
2. Put your idea on paper
This is where you get to write out in concise terms what you wish to offer. Your business plan is the foundation on which your company is laid, and should contain what kind of business you’re going into, your unique selling points (what differentiates your product or service from the competition), and your vision, among other things.
And this is what you’ll use to attract investors and potential partners that your business is viable and profitable. So you want to ensure you conduct proper market research before writing out your business plan.
Your business plan should also include an exit strategy. It should help you figure out where your company is headed, how it will overcome possible future obstacles, what you need to sustain it, and how exactly you’d leave the business should something drastic happen.
3. Choose a physical or virtual business address
When choosing a location for your business, avoid using PO Box or your home address. It’s ill-advised to use such to incorporate your business, plus it doesn’t give credit to your company even though it’s a small one. In addition, using a home address poses some security threat to you. So, always look for a distinct office location such as a familiar street in Charlotte.
If you’re on a budget, get a shared office space. If you work from home, you could get a virtual business address. A virtual office operates just like a physical office space without being commercial property. You can work from anywhere while having a mailing address, phone answering services, and other things that come with a brick-and-mortar office.
4. Incorporate your business
Incorporating your business is all about giving it a legal business structure, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation (Corp.)
As a sole proprietorship or partnership business, all business credits are associated with you the owner. So you’ll have to pay with your assets when the company runs into debt and is unable to repay.
But as an LLC or Corp, the business is entirely dissociated from the owner such that your assets are unreachable by your company’s creditors. During lawsuits, it becomes John Doe Vs. Your Company rather than John Doe Vs. You. Hence, your business becomes an independent entity.
However, no one structure is suitable for all business types, so it’s a great idea to find out what works best for you.
5. Apply for an EIN
Like your Social Security Number, your Employer Identification Number is a unique identifier of your business for credit and tax purposes. You have to apply to the IRS to be given this 9-digit number. When seeking business credit or creating a business bank account, you’ll also have to provide your EIN instead of SSN.
You can apply for an EIN online, by fax, or by mail to the IRS. The application is entirely free.
6. Get a website
Now your business is all set up. You have a business name, address, legal structure, and an EIN. It’s time to start building your brand, and the first thing to do is create a website.
You should design your website to resonate with your target customers, as this is how most of them will get to know you. About 81% of consumers search online before making a purchase, so you want to have an appealing website that engages and converts users. It’s a great idea to get a charlotte web design service as a website designer in Charlotte will know how to optimize the website specifically for your local target audience.
On your website, you have to ensure your contact, business name, and other details tally with what you have on your articles of incorporation/organization (the document used for incorporating a business).
7. Finance your business
No business can do without capital. You’d likely have to purchase some products or services from vendors, and even technology as well. But it’s never advisable to do this with your personal cash.
Hence, fund your business through the following process.
Open a business bank account. This is where all business expenses and profits will pass through. Again, you should use your EIN and not your SSN when opening the account. This will separate your funds from the company’s.
Get business credit. Using your EIN, business credit helps you separate your business from your expenses. You can obtain a line of credit from vendors and credit card companies.
8. Get licensed
To legally operate your business in Charlotte, you have to comply with NC state rules, which include obtaining business permits or licenses as applicable to you.
Find out what licenses apply to your business by checking the North Carolina Economic Development Partnership’s Business Licenses & Permits page.
You’re all set up. Now is the time to spread the word through brand marketing, social media, press releases, and promotions. Hire employees, improve on your product and services, and you’re well on your way to living the life of your dreams.