For many people, owning a business is right up there with owning a home in the list of big dreams. Once the idea for a small business is there, what are the next steps? This uncertainty causes lots of dreams to not be realized or run into trouble. Fortunately, Thornton Law Firm has expertise in setting up small businesses in the Raleigh and Durham, NC areas.

Here are five steps for starting a small business:

1. Do some market research: See what is available in that industry, how your plan would differ and what the competition would be.

2. Make a business plan: It’s time to turn dreams into goals. A business plan will help clarify the type of business, its purpose, its structure and its plan for growth. Think of a business plan as a handbook for the business. Setting it all down on paper will provide a guide for the business and keep its focus clear.

3. Determine the type of business structure: Should you set up your business as a corporation, a limited liability company (LLC) or do you want it to remain a sole proprietorship? Do you need to set up a partnership? All of these forms of businesses have advantages and disadvantages, both legally and financially and each requires different forms and planning to setup and maintain.

4. Protect the name: Go to the North Carolina Secretary of State’s website to determine if the name you’ve thought of for your business has been taken. If it hasn’t, you should register it on the website so that you can claim it as yours.

5. Make it legal: Each business, no matter how small, is subject to business laws and tax considerations. Depending on the business, there may be additional licensing and inspections that need to happen in order to legally function as a business. Also,

Many people who begin a business do so out of a spark or love for something without much thought to what it takes to run it. They want to share their passion and talent or fill a need they see. This doesn’t always translate to knowing how to set up the legal aspects of a business. Contact us to help set up your small business.