Forbes has ranked Virginia, America’s #1 place for entrepreneurs, making this the best time ever to start your own business. Everyone needs a plan and these 10 simple steps below are crucial to anyone that wants to start a successful business in the state of Virginia. For further support and other questions contact us here at Mitchell-Firm to help you through the tedious process of paperwork, understanding permits and more! Call 540.443.9272 to learn how Mitchell Firm can help you navigate the process.

1: Make A Plan For Your Business

Being prepared should be your first step to building a brand in what Forbes has called America’s #1 place for entrepreneurs. Take the time to develop a strong pitch, a convincing executive summary, solid financial forecasts, market perspectives, and so forth. Without these insights in place, driving you and defining your objective, it’s going to be hard to compete.

2: Register Your Virginia Business
Now it’s time to choose a business structure. Along with the legal/financial benefits of registering a business, you secure a name and protect your personal assets (house, car, etc) in the process.

Most entrepreneurs form an LLC because it has all the benefits of a corporation without the disadvantages like double taxation, boards of directors, and corporate officers. However, if you’re trying to take your company public or raise substantial outside capital, you should probably form a corporation.

3: Determine Your Tax Obligations
Virginia’s tax code can get a little interesting depending on what type of business you intend on creating and under what sort of legal structure. Take a little time and leverage the countless resources you’ll gain – like Virginia Incentives.

4: Obtain Necessary Business Licenses And Permits

Depending on your industry and where you plan to open up shop, you may have a lot of regulatory red tape or a smidgen. With that being said, you’ve got two resources to make sure you get all licenses and permits taken care of:

  • For DYI’ers, the first thing to do is head HERE and see if you need a license or permit. Consider creating an account using their Business One-Stop site as well.
  • For help finding the licenses you’ll need, a Business License Service is what we highly recommend looking into. They determine everything required on federal, state, county and municipal levels, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.

5: Separate Your Personal and Business Assets
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

Now that you’ve made it through registering and setting up taxes and licensing for your business, you’ll need to take steps to protect your personal assets and establish your business as an independent entity.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

You can go a long way in protecting your assets with these four steps:

  • Open a business bank account- A business bank account separates your personal assets from your company’s assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection. A designated business bank account also makes accounting and tax filing easier. To open up a bank account for your business, you’ll need to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number). You’ll use your EIN in place of your social security number so that this account is completely separate from your personal finances. After this, start doing your research on various business bank accounts. Local options and national banks, like Chase, both have their perks. Get $200 when you open a business checking account with Chase. Learn more
  • Get a business credit card – A business credit card helps you separate personal and business expenses. A business credit card will also build your company’s credit history, which can be useful to raise capital later on
  • Designate an authorized representative – Make sure all documents are signed by a representative of your LLC and not by you (or other LLC members) directly. This will help separate you from liability incurred by the LLC.
  • Keep your accounting and bookkeeping up to date – Make sure to sync up your banking and credit card accounts with accounting software like QuickBooks as soon as you get the chance. It’s never too soon to start organizing your business’ finances!

6: Choose A Location For your Business
From the historic Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains, Virginia is one of the most influential areas of the modern world. Whether you set up shop in Alexandria or Virginia Beach, you’re going to have it all and be centrally located in the northeast.

7: Fund Your Business
Virginia’s rocking a $462 billion dollar GDP. Between state-level programs, initiatives, networks, groups, and more, you have no limits. Money flows through Virginia like the Salmon of Capistrano. Just be sure you know how much is needed to get your business off the ground and start there.

8: Create Your Business Website
All you may really need as a startup is a basic website, or even just a single landing page with all the pertinent details while you bring your business idea to life. What matters is that the world has a way to investigate you, share your news, and engage if they aren’t located in the Virginia area.

9: Market Your Business
Whether we’re talking about the digital sphere or the melding of cultures on the ground in Roanoke, where are your ideal customers/clients/users? Be as specific as you can, because each and every one of them are huge reservoirs waiting to be explored.

10: Continue Learning And Stay Inspired
At this point, you should be the owner of an official, in-operation and being-marketed business. So please consider Startup Savant a reliable resource to turn to for tools, insight from fellow change-makers, and motivational content that keeps you chugging along, onward and upward.

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