So you want to be an entrepreneur in Charlotte? If starting your own business has long been a dream and you're finally ready to take a leap in the Queen City, there are a few things to keep in mind. Use these steps as a guideline to successfully start a business in Charlotte.
Before you start
You've thought about what service you want to offer to your immediate community, but have you come up with a name? Start with brainstorming on what you'd like you call your business. Be sure to capture the essence of how you will be helping others with your business. How will your business make people's lives easier? Start there and be creative.
Register your business
The next step is to have your business recognized as an official entity by Mecklenburg County government. Charlotte Business Resources recommends the Register of Deeds to get more information on Assumed Name Certificates. For businesses that are less traditional, the Economic Development Partnership is a great resource for answering any questions or clarifications on all your licensing and permit questions.
Understand your taxes
Don't be confused and in a state of stress once tax time rolls around in the spring. Take the time upfront as you're finalizing the legal details are required by the government for your business to understand what your future tax situation will be. It's recommended to enlist the help of a lawyer and/or an accountant. Also, the North Carolina Department of Revenue and the Charlotte Small Business Administration have a wealth of information.
Finalize all licensing and permits
Beyond registering your business name, there is other miscellaneous paperwork to be completed. For easy help on completing all the necessary steps and not missing any vital ones, enlist the help of a business license service. These services tend to be one-stop shops, that will look up all the requirements for municipal, local, state and federal regulations. Such companies include Corpnet, BizFilings and Incfile.
Location, location, location
It's all about location and with your new business this especially rings true. The neighborhood and storefront chosen, if it's a more traditional brick-and-mortar business you're after, can make or break future profits. Startup Savant has some tips on picking the best location to start a business in Charlotte.
Create and implement marketing plan
Getting the word out about your business results in sales. It's a proven theory. Think about how you will structure your marketing. Will it encompass traditional routes such as TV and radio spots, ads in local newspapers and magazines? Maybe social media will be a part of your marketing plan. Determine what would be the best fit for your business.
Get financials in order
Things like opening a business bank account, hiring an accountant to keep track of expenses and profits, setting up payroll, applying for loans for startup costs and creating and launching a business website should be a priority from the onset.
For questions you can't get answered elsewhere or to network with other business owners, try these other resources for Charlotte entrepreneurs: North Carolina Government, Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina's Small Business and Technology Development Center.
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