After years of being in charge of the desserts at family functions and friend gatherings, you’ve finally decided that you want to create your own business selling all the delicious baked goods you’ve perfected. Armed with your recipes and your best mixer, you’re ready to start throwing around the flour and sugar – all that’s left to do is create the business. So what do you do next? Here are five things to consider when forming your business in North Carolina.
- Business plan – You’ll need a business plan before you do anything else. Developing a comprehensive business plan sets the foundation for your business; it’s a place to organize your goals, business plans, strategies, and resources. A business plan will not only focus you and your ideas for your business but will also plainly lay out those ideas for anyone looking to invest in your business in the future, or loan money to the business today.
- Business structure – Sole proprietorship versus partnership versus corporation versus limited liability company (LLC) – which option will be best for you and your business? A sole proprietorship keeps things simple – you are the sole owner of your business and all profits, losses, and decisions are yours to make. But a corporation creates your business as a separate legal entity with rights and responsibilities of a legal “person” and has the ability to raise capital through stocks and shareholders. Just as important, having a corporate or LLC structure can limit the liability of its owners; a partnership or sole proprietorship does not provide that protection. Determining your business structure usually requires the assistance of legal representation, especially when considering the opportunities and potential liabilities of the business structure.
- Licenses and permits – From federal required permits and licenses to city permits and privilege licenses, your business will likely require multiple permits and licenses at multiple levels in order to get started. Expanding your bakery business by serving alcohol in or with the desserts? You’ll need an alcoholic beverage permit and selling that baked good without one could result in serious fines or even the closure of your business. Attorneys can help navigate the legal waters of these permits at federal, state and city levels in order to assure your business is protected and following all the laws.
- Money, money, money: financing, insurance, and taxes – All businesses have the same goal – they want to make money. But if you’re starting your own business, you may not know all the intricate aspects that go into that bottom line. Financing your business is an important first step in creating your profits – will you start with equity funding, essentially promising money to those who buy shares in your new company, or will you start by borrowing money from friends or the bank? In terms of insurance, you’ll need comprehensive general insurance at the very least. On top of that, workers’ compensation is required in North Carolina once you have more than three people working at the company. Taxes will occur at all levels of government and vary depending on the business structure. Legal counsel can help with all the financing, insurance, and tax decisions you have to make to start your business on the right path.
- Intellectual property – Your ideas could be the most valuable assets to your business. Make sure you protect your brilliant ideas and your business by using an attorney to help in all aspects of intellectual property issues.
The most important thing to remember when starting a new business is that mistakes can be expensive. Don’t let costly mistakes put you in the red before you’ve opened the doors to your new business. If you’re interested in forming a business in Western North Carolina, contact the attorneys at Fisher Stark at 828-505-4300. We have helped many entrepreneurs form successful companies in Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville, Brevard, Franklin, and Marion, North Carolina. We are passionate about helping our clients with their business formation.