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So you have come up with a fabulous business idea and discovered there is a market for it.  Now it is time to put legs on it!!  Each business has variables depending on what you are selling, but here are some of the initial steps that almost any entrepreneur will need to take here in NC.

  1. Decide on the legal structure
    Options include an LLC which can be taxed as a sole proprietorship, also known as a ‘disregarded entity’ by the IRS, a partnership or S-corporation.  Each of those tax structures can be setup outside of an LLC as well.  There is also a C Corporation but this is not common.
    The structure depends on the complexity and estimated revenues of the business.  The sole proprietorship is the simplest and S-corp invloves more tax and regulations paperwork.
  2. Decide on a name and go to the NC SOS and search to see if it is available, then submit the form for whatever particular type of legal entity was decided upon. http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/search/index/corp and http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/corporations/thepage.aspx
  3. If any entity other than sole proprietor is chosen, the business will need an Employment Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS
    http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online
  4. If you are going to have employees you will need two NC state ID numbers.
    1. NC Department of Revenue ID http://dornc.com/electronic/registration/index.html (this will also be used as your state sales tax ID if applicable)
    2. DOC Employment Security Commission ID is required to file state unemployment taxes  https://www.ncesc1.com/business/web604/web604Main.asp
  5. You will need to make sure all employees are here legally, each employee will need to fill out a W4, NC4, I9 and provide 2 proofs of id
  6. If you will be a minority owned business and bidding government contracts, it may be beneficial to become certified as an NC HUB
    http://www.doa.state.nc.us/hub/forms.aspx
  7. Setup a business checking account (I like BBT)
  8. Get insurance- General Liability, Workers Comp, Property (for equipment if necessary) etc
  9. Set up accounting, something like QuickBooks is usually sufficient
  10. Branding- Get logo designed, signage for vehicles etc, setup a Facebook page for the business
  11. START MAKING MONEY!!

    Hope this helps makes your idea a reality!! JWS