Starting a Business Guides

Starting a Business checklist - Not all will apply to every business but will give you an idea of the steps you need to take.

  • Evaluate my capabilities and skills
  • Select my product or service
  • Research my market (customers, competitors, industry)
  • Determine my capital needs and sources
  • Choose my business partners (lawyer, CPA, marketing consultant, banker)
  • Determine legal structure (sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or LLC)
  • Select name and perform name search
  • Complete assumed name form with County Register of Deeds, if sole proprietor or partnership
  • Reserve corporate name, if corporation
  • Develop and submit Articles of Incorporation (corporation) or Certificate of General or Limited Partnership (partnership) with Secretary of State's office.
  • Apply for federal identification number (sole proprietor if have employees, partnership and
    corporation. Ask for "Getting Started Package" that includes application for ID# -SS-4 form)
  • Apply for NC withholding identification number (if employees) and sales tax number (if retail sales) from NC Department of Revenue
  • Contact Employment Security Commission (if employees), ask for "Employer-Status Report" to get set up.
  • Apply for city or state privilege license, whichever is applicable
  • Apply for Home Use Permit with city (if home office)
  • Check zoning requirements on space and apply for rezoning, if necessary (city/county).
  • Determine methods of pricing
  • Develop sales forecasts
  • Prepare marketing plan
  • Determine equipment needs
  • Determine employee requirements, procedures, salary administration
  • Develop goals for sales. growth, product/service diversification
  • Prepare projected financials (budget, cash flow and income statements, balance sheet)
  • Determine bookkeeping procedures and method of accounting (cash or accrual)
  • Open separate business bank account
  • Determine suppliers/vendors and establish relationships
  • Determine insurance needs
  • Develop a business plan
  • Install separate business phone line
  • Develop corporate identity (logo, motto)
  • Have business cards and letterhead printed 
  • Join professional/ civic clubs


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