How to start a business in West Virginia

10 Simple Steps

STEP 1: PLAN YOUR BUSINESS IDEA

Write a Business PlanBy taking this initial stage super-seriously and ironing out an amazing game plan, are you sure to be an outrageous success? Absolutely not. What it will ensure though is that you run a tighter ship, dramatically increase your odds of following through, and get far more from your business. Truth be told, to the degree you invest in yourself and commit to your ideas, so shall you dive into the planning phase.

Take Action: Seize upon our 100% free Business Planning Course designed to get you from A-to-Z as pleasantly as possible. Plus, we provide access to tons of other great tools along the way.

STEP 2: CHOOSE BUSINESS STRUCTURE & INCORPORATE

How to Choose a Business StructureThe next step involves picking the type of legal entity that best suits your ambitions and then registering it. There aren’t too many variables here, but you need to brush up on the basics if you don’t have a legal team in your pocket.

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

Take Action: Decide which business structure is right for you. After that, have one of these two reliable services form it for you: IncFile ($49 + state fee) or LegalZoom ($149 + state fee).

STEP 3: SYNC WITH THE WEST VIRGINIA TAX CODE

Small Business TaxesSo, in West Virginia different tax rates apply to different types of businesses (legal/incorporated entities) and these rates can vary from city to city. Before heading to a certain area, it’s advised you contact the city and see what if any Business and Occupation Taxes apply. There are also potential state and county taxes to consider, but don’t worry, you’ll set up an account with the state where all of this is handled/reported at once.

Take Action: Bookmark the Business Information page through the West Virginia state Tax Department. A second good resource is their Guidance and Publications page which covers most everything.

STEP 4: OBTAIN PROPER LICENSING/PERMITS

Business LicensesOkay, so your brand is incorporated and synced with the tax system. Sweet! Now it’s time to file with the WV Secretary of State, any necessary agencies and then file copies with local/county agencies if applicable. To celebrate hop on your favorite mountain bike, cover yourself in padding and hit trails like Spruce Knob or Blackwater Canyon.

  1. For DYI’ers head to the Business for West Virginia site and use their Apply for Licenses Permits.
  2. For $99 you could get IncFile’s Business License Package which is amazing! They determine everything required on Federal, State, County and Municipal levels for you, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.

STEP 5: CREATE A DEDICATED BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountIf you haven’t already, once your red tape is through with and you’re ready to open your doors as an officially recognized brand, it’s time to begin building your company’s financial persona. It all begins with two things: where you choose to set up biz-accounts and what kind of accounting software you have running in the background.

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STEP 6: PICK A STELLAR WEST VIRGINIA LOCATION

How to Choose a Business LocationIn terms of sheer stunning beauty in all seasons, West Virginia’s got it covered (especially Autumn). Regionally it’s arguably the central-most state of the east coast, although West Virginians typically consider themselves a little more “southern”. From Morgantown and Bridgeport, to historic Charleston or Lewisburg to the south it’s truly an amazing place to live and be in business.

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.

STEP 7: FINANCE YOUR BUSINESS

How to Finance a BusinessWhat it comes down to is this, are you willing to take on debt/credit to fund your platform or not? If the answer is no, the good news is there’s TONS of options for startups in West Virginia. Consider leveraging state and local-level funds/programs, as well as online options like CrowdFunding.

Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like pepperoni rolls and John Denver. You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.

STEP 8: DESIGN & PUBLISH A BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteJust to be prudent because you may be unaware… no one’s going to take your product or service seriously if it has no real digital presence. And no, nothing but a social media profile doesn’t count anymore. But that said, it doesn’t mean you need a site as stilling as the views from Blackwater Falls State Park. There are savvy, streamlined and less expensive (complex) options these days.

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.

STEP 9: MARKET YOUR BUSINESS

Social Media ChannelChances are you approach marketing like it’s a fierce stretch of Gauley rapids in the spring. Relax, there’s absolutely no reason to be in a hurry. At least not to the point it becomes detrimental to your sanity and your margins. Be strategic and patient. Along this water theme, marketing is more like fly fishing on Elk River.

Take Action: Start as close to home as you possibly can because the old saying is truer than you could possibly imagine, “Everything you need to succeed is within reaching distance.” West Virginia has it all, so wherever you set up shop get outside and start networking with locals!

STEP 10: CONTINUE LEARNING & STAY INSPIRED

Sign Up For Entrepreneur InterviewsAlong your journey please consider adding Startup Savant to your professional repertoire of reliable resources. Around here we focus on continued learning, useful-motivational content, and interviewing fellow change-makers to keep it real.

Take Action: Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to tap into our daily feed filled with tips, lessons, and inspiring stories directly from entrepreneurs like you.

West Virginia Startup Toolkit

Out of all the resources available to help you start a business in West Virginia, here are the two we believe in most. With an incorporation service and business plan software, you'll take the first steps toward bringing your idea to life and having a solid plan behind it.

Incorporation services register your business with the state and handle all paperwork. For as low as $49, they'll bring your business to life by registering your LLC or Corporation in record time.

See The Top 7 Options
And

One of the most important aspects of starting a business can also be the most tedious: the business plan. A business plan software will walk you through the entire process in half the time.

See The Top 7 Options