Making the decision to start your own business is exciting, but before diving into the world of business ownership head-first, there are certain steps that must be taken.
First, a person will need to choose a business structure. This is what makes the enterprise a "legal entity," so that it can own assets; open financial accounts; and pay the necessary taxes. Some types of business structures include: sole proprietorships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations, and others. Which type is best depends on the business owner's goals and on the needs of the business.
After that, a person will need to register the business. Included in this is also registering the name of the business. In Virginia, this sometimes can be done online. In some situations, this needs to be done by physically filing documents with the State Corporation Commission. A business owner needs to make sure that their business' name is unique, and the name, along with any trademarks may also need to go through federal registration, in addition to state registration.
Following that, a business owner will need to obtain a tax number both at the state and federal level for their business. This is similar to a Social Security Number.
Also, the business owner will need to make sure they have secured the appropriate licenses and permits to run their business. Some of these licenses are available online. A business owner may want to get in touch with their local Commissioner of Revenue, Department of Finance and Zoning Office to make sure they acquire the appropriate licenses and permits.
After that, a business can start running. Of course, no one wants their business to get off on the wrong foot. This post only provides general information on starting a business in Virginia. Those who are considering becoming business owners may want to work with one of our business law attorneys to ensure no crucial step is overlooked.
Source: bos.virginia.gov, "Steps to launch a business:," accessed Dec. 19, 2017