How to Start a Business in Wake County

The number of people starting a small business has grown significantly over the last decade both in the United States and in North Carolina. While the idea of entrepreneurship can be appealing for many reasons, knowing all of the steps to get started can be overwhelming.

Wake Tech's Entrepreneurship & Small Business Center is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small-business owners start and build their businesses. We have business counselors who can meet with you to answer any questions and steer you in the right direction when you're ready to start.

In addition, we provide workshops throughout the year on a variety of topics.

We've compiled a list of the steps and resources you need to get started. Then, when you're ready, you can make an appointment with one of our business counselors for continued assistance.

1. Determine the structure of your business, along with federal and state requirements

The type of business structure you select will affect the amount of taxes you pay, the additional documentation and filing requirements you will need to complete and the legal liabilities you will personally assume for your business, among other things. You can learn more about the various types of business structures from the Small Business Administration.

2. Select a name for your business

There are a few things to consider when selecting a name for your new business. First, you will need to decide if you're going to conduct business only within your local geographic area, throughout the state or within the continental United States and beyond. The SBA provides helpful information on this topic.

You will also need to search the availability of your business name. The North Carolina Secretary of State's Office allows you to conduct an online search for free.

3. Register your business

The type of business structure you select will determine where you need to register your business name.

For example, if you choose to operate your new business as a S-corporation, you would be required to register your business name with the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office. If your business will be a sole proprietorship, you will need to register a Certificate of Assumed Name with the Register of Deeds Office in your local county.

You can find more information in our Small Business Toolkit.

There are fees associated with filing to incorporate your business in North Carolina, so you will want to ensure that you conduct your research and get advice from a source you trust before you complete this step.

4. Obtain your federal tax ID number and understand your tax liability

A federal tax identification number is required to open a business bank account and obtain many business licenses and permits. To obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online, you will need to have a taxpayer identification number, such as a Social Security number, handy when you complete the online application.

Next, you will want to learn the forms that you need to track, file and pay both your federal and state taxes. The North Carolina Department of Revenue has information broken down by categories to help you get started.

5. Research the local and state permits that will be required for your business

Understanding the licensing permit requirements for your new business is essential for long-term success. The North Carolina Department of Commerce has a database of hundreds of licenses and permits available.

Business Link of North Carolina may also be a good resource to learn more about permits and licenses required to operate a business within North Carolina.

6. Start developing your business plan

A business plan is a written document that provides a description of your business, marketing plans and financial projections. Whether you want to apply for a business loan or get assistance with expanding your business from an agency like a local Small Business Center or SCORE, you will be asked for your business plan. In addition, it will provide a roadmap as you begin to scale your business over the next three to five years.

It's a good idea to start with a template.

Starting a business can be exciting, rewarding and overwhelming. However, you don't have to do it alone. There are many free resources and agencies to help you with the process. Schedule an appointment with a business counselor at Wake Tech's Entrepreneurship & Small Business Center today.

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