Congratulations on thinking about going into business. Having an idea or a dream for a business is the first step. To get your business off and running on the right foot, there are a lot of things to think about. You may be overwhelmed by everything there is to do, or you may be wondering what you don’t know. Here are 10 things to know about how to start a business venture from our North Carolina business attorneys:
How do I start a business in North Carolina?
To start a business in North Carolina, you need to choose a business name. You decide on a business entity, and you register your business. You might register your business in your county, or you may register your business with the North Carolina Secretary of State. Once the Secretary of State approves your filing, you’re in business. Be sure to comply with tax laws, employment regulations, workers compensation and other regulations as you operate your business.
1. Choosing a business entity for your business
Not all businesses are created equal. The type of business that you choose determines how your business operates, how you pay taxes and whether you’re personally liable for the debts of the business. If your business is a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, you’re personally liable for the debts of the business.
If you start an LLC, your liability is more limited. You may also want to start a corporation or a non-profit. It’s important to consider the taxes, management structures, risks and potential benefits for each business entity in order to choose the structure that’s best for you.
In North Carolina, the filing requirements depend on your type of business. If you start a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you file with your county. For other business entities, you file with the North Carolina Secretary of State. In North Carolina, there are lots of business entities to choose from. You should carefully consider which type of business structure meets your needs.
2. How to choose a name for your business
Every great business needs a great name. When you register your business, you must be sure to avoid a name that’s already in use by another business. Just like your business has legal protections, other businesses have protections, too. Be sure to choose a name that’s available in order to avoid complaints from other businesses.
3. How to minimize risks as an employer
If you’re going to hire employees, there are a few special things that you need to do. You must comply with federal and state employment laws. There are laws that prohibit discrimination. You must follow wage and hour laws. Health and safety laws are also important when you have employees. If you have three or more employees, you need to purchase worker’s compensation insurance.
Beyond regulations, it’s important to think about what your business can do to minimize risks. You may be wise to implement training programs for employees. It may be a good idea to adopt official policies and a corporate handbook. Following official employment laws and identifying other ways that you can be a good employer can help you avoid problems before you hire your first employee.
4. How to protect your intellectual property in business
When you go into business, there’s a good chance that you’re going to have some ideas, designs and other works that you need to protect. Even your business name or logo may be worthy of a trademark. If you have an invention, you may need a patent. If you make creative works, you may need to brush up on copyright enforcement laws. Protecting your intellectual property is key to your business success. Learning about the types of intellectual property that may impact your business can help you protect the assets that can make your business thrive.
5. What kinds of contracts do you need to run a business?
Most businesses rely on contracts. You might have contracts with suppliers. You may have contracts with purchasers. You’ll also need insurance contracts that may include worker’s compensation.
In business, disputes are inevitable. A contract may not seem important until you have a disagreement. Determining when you need to use contracts in business and what they need to say can help you start your business on the right foot.
6. What government laws and regulations do I need to follow?
There are federal, state and local laws that apply to your business. You may need permits or a license for your particular business venture. Knowing the laws and regulations that you must follow is critical to avoiding bumps in the road. Identifying the laws that apply to your business can be a big task. An experienced attorney can help you determine what you need to do in order to stay on top of laws and regulations that apply to your business venture.
7. How do I raise capital for my business?
When you start a business, you must think through the finances related with running the business. You must determine how you’re going to get funding. Is your funding going to come from personal sources, are you going to take out a loan or are you going to find investors? How much do you need to make in order to break even? Thinking through the finances involved in starting and operating your business can help you make sure that you take the best steps to help your business grow.
8. How do I pay taxes for my business?
Your business must pay taxes. If you sell anything, you need to register to pay North Carolina sales tax. Employers must pay unemployment and employee withholding taxes. When you start a business, it’s important to understand what taxes you need to pay and how you’re going to pay them.
9. What else do I need to know?
When you’re in business, it can be hard to know what you don’t know. An experienced North Carolina business attorney can help you identify things that may create trouble for your business. A business lawyer can help you both avoid problems before they start and react if unexpected issues arise during your business venture.
10. What do I need to do once I’m in business?
Even once you’re in business, there’s important work to do. You need to file an annual report with the North Carolina Secretary of State. You need to pay all of your taxes. It’s important to continuously asses areas where your business may need to make changes in order to thrive. The team at Wilson Ratledge can help you start your business in the best way possible and identify ways to help your business thrive. Fill out our online form or call us today to schedule a consultation about how to get your new venture started off on the right foot.