Want to start a business?

Deciding whether or not to start a new business is a big life changing decision for you and your family. In fact, it can be one of the more difficult and important decisions you will make in your life.

Whatever your reason for starting a new business, you need to be sure you are doing the proper research and taking the right steps before you make your decision.

The Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is here to help you through the entire process. 

We highly recommend that you attend our Business Basics workshop if you have not been in business before.

Assessment: One of the first steps you should take before starting a business is to assess whether you are really ready to start a small business. Take the Small Business Assessment.

Checklist: To get you started in the right direction, download the Checklist to starting a new business, or if Restaurant, Checklist to starting a new Restaurant.

Business Plan: Writing a Business Plan can seem intimidating and difficult at first, but by taking the right approach it is easy and most of all very important. Pages 2-6 of Entrepreneur Guidebook.

Marketing Plan: If you are considering starting a business, then your marketing plan is a crucial element. The marketing plan consists primarily of two important parts.

  • Market Research: The first step to your marketing plan is determining whether or not there is a market for the product or services you wish to sell. Going through the Nine Steps to Market Research will get your properly started. Pages 6-12 of the Entrepreneur Guidebook.

  • Marketing: After you have done the research steps, you then need to determine how you will actually reach your customers. This would include marketing, promotion and advertising.

Funding: No matter how small or large a business you want to start, you may at some time need funding. So how does one find funding for their small business? What are the different types of funding? Are there grants available for my startup? Check out this fantastic resource through the Hampton Roads SBDC.

Legal Issues: If you are starting a new business you need to understand legal issues that will affect your business. These include such items as. Pages 15-18 of Entrepreneur Guidebook.

  • What is the proper Legal Entity for your business? 

  • What legal issues will I face with my new business?

  • What do I need to know about Patents, Copyrights or Trademarks? Pages 36-37 of Entrepreneur Guidebook.

Click for more information on legal issues.

Accounting, Taxes: You are now ready to start your business. One area you need to be sure you understand and are prepared for is setting up an accounting system. This includes knowing which taxes you are required to pay and the permits and licensing that affect your business. For more information, download a pdf on Permits and LicensingPages 19-22 of Entrepreneur Guidebook. Taxes on pages 24-30 of the Entrepreneur Guidebook.

Hiring Employees: Will you be having employees in your business? Under certain circumstances even the owner(s) are considered employees. Are you hiring the right employees? Are you violating any labor laws? Are you completing the correct paperwork? For more information please click on the box. If you are not sure how to handle payroll for yourself and employees download Payroll Guidebook for more detail information.


Buying or Selling a Business

Buying a Business: Starting a new business can be daunting and take months or sometimes years to become profitable. Additionally, finding capital for a startup business is becoming more and more difficult to find. Buying an existing business can eliminate many of these issues. Learn more about Buying a Business on Pages 32-33 of the Entrepreneur Guidebook.

Selling a Business: You have built your business for years and are now ready to sell. Do not let your hard work and investment go down the drain because you made a quick decision to sell. Learn some tips on preparing to sell your business. Pages 33-34 of the Entrepreneur Guidebook.

Franchising: Franchising is a system a company uses to market their products/services by granting individuals or groups the right to use the franchise’s brand and their proven system of operation. For some individuals wanting to start a business, a franchise is an easy and proven system. Pages 35-36 of the Entrepreneur Guidebook.