10 Simple Steps
Not all entrepreneurs are planners and not all startups “plan” the same way. Regardless, the first step is organizing your business idea and coming to terms with how it’s going to work. Things like pitches, executive summaries and professional plans typically come into play big time though once you reach step 7 (funding). No lending institution, VC, angel network, or CrowdFunder will take a brand seriously without a solid plan in place.
Take Action: Seize upon our free and easy email-based Business Planning Course designed to get you from A-to-Z as pleasantly as possible. Plus, we provide tons of other great tools along the way.
In this step you’re going to choose what kind of legal business structure/entity best serves your ambitions for the brand then incorporate it (this files and secures your brand name with the state). Do you intend to work from home as a solopreneur, take on partners, or form an LLC? What kind of legal protections and rights will be of the most benefit? Around here we’re big fans of savvy online incorporation providers who come in handy and fold parts of steps 2, 3 and 4 into their startup packages.
Take Action: As this aspect of starting a business can be rather sensitive, we’ve developed quick-guides for the most popular entities if you want to skip over to those.
Yes, it’s doable to solo your taxes and set up your brand’s tax identity yourself, but we don’t recommend it. However, in startup-mode you may not want to shell out a bunch of cash to work with a law firm. This is another perk to working with online incorporation providers because while they can’t provide real legal help, they can get all the documents you need and help you understand how to fill them out/file them so you’re compliant.
Take Action: If you’re doing this on your own be sure to bookmark the NC Dept. of Revenue’s Tax Information for Businesses page. This should get you started.
The regulatory environment is very startup-friendly in NC for a large variety of reasons, but the complexity of red tape you’ll have to deal with depends on the type of biz-structure you incorporated, what kind of business you’re in, whether you work with the public, and where you’re located.
This is the easy part, but ever-so critical. Centralize your financials! Don’t mix personal accounts/money with your business accounts. Once you link your dedicated accounts to your accounting software it becomes much easier to keep profits/taxes in one place, and investment/optimization/marketing money in another.
Oh boy, so it basically comes down to how close you’d like to be to the coast. First of all, just about everywhere in NC is gorgeous. Then you’ve got cities like Apex near the famed Research Triangle Park, Wake Forest and Greensboro. How about the bustle of Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville, or even Myrtle Beach? What a great choice to have to make!
Take Action: We know picking a spot can be tough if it doesn’t somehow happen naturally through your personal/professional networks. If you’d like to brush up on everything that goes into making this decision, refer to our friendly guide on How to Choose the Perfect Location.
Money runs the show. Capital is king and for new entrepreneurs there just never seems to be enough. Managing and organizing and staying on top of your financials is one of the most important factors of your success, along with your resourcefulness and ability to leverage all the many amazing funding options at your disposal in NC and online in general. Don’t be shy.
Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like Chapel Hill BBQ and checkered tablecloth. You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.
In North Carolina they have a saying, “Esse Quam Videri” which is Latin for, “To be, rather than to seem (to be).” The point here is they respond to and revere authenticity. And well, these days “to be” your brand needs a website. Does it need to be as stunning as an afternoon gaze of Whitewater Falls? No. Just genuine and easy to use.
Take Action: If you could use some help in this department the first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there aren’t too many yet. Head on over to this easy Business Website Builder Guide to get a head start.
The first step is truly understanding and embracing how good of a marketer you are…or aren’t. If you’re a natural born seller, awesome! If on the other hand you couldn’t slang Stanley Cup seats to a Hurricanes fan, then outsource and focus on your strengths instead.
Take Action: We’ve interviewed armies or entrepreneurs and when we ask them about influencers that changed their game about 70% of the time it’s the person/coach they brought in to help with marketing. Who can you turn to?
From this point forward, where you turn for insight and motivation’s going to play a big role in your success and determining where your brand is in a couple years. Right? So please consider adding Startup Savant to your goodie bag because if anyone knows where you’re coming from, what you’re going through, and what you’re facing it’s our community!
Take Action: Tap into our weekly newsletter filled with tips, tricks, lessons, and inspiring stories/interviews directly from innovative professionals (change-makers) like you.
Out of all the resources available to help you start a business in North Carolina, here are the two we believe in most. With IncFile and LivePlan, you'll take the first steps toward bringing your idea to life and having a solid plan behind it.
IncFile is the most affordable online incorporation available. Since 2004, IncFile has helped over 75,000 entrepreneurs incorporate their business on a budget. For $49 + State Fee, they'll bring your business to life by registering whichever business structure you choose.Visit IncFile.com
One of the most important aspects of starting a business can also be the most tedious: the business plan. LivePlan is a business plan software that will walk you through the entire process as it has for 375,000 entrepreneurs across the world.Get 25% Off LivePlan