Did you know that area community colleges have Small Business Centers that offer FREE classes for community member business owners? The classes offered range from how to get your product on store shelves to bookkeeping and designing websites and doing your taxes.
The colleges offer two-hour classroom seminars, as well as on-demand computer seminars (in case you cannot attend an in-person class). Using the link below, you can search your local community college for in-person classes as well as searching the catalog of on-demand courses from any school that you can watch from the comfort of your own home.
Small Business Center Network
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library offers classes for adults ranging from learning computer skills (learning to use Excel, for example) to learning how to apply for grants or file business taxes.
Have you heard of SCORE? SCORE stands for “Service Corps of Retired Executives.” SCORE is a nationwide non-profit with thousands of working and retired business professionals who volunteer to support the success of small businesses. SCORE offers free live and on demand webinars for all things business-related: https://charlotte.score.org/content/take-workshop-249
Not only does SCORE offer webinars, but they offer FREE one-on-one mentoring. The Charlotte chapter has over 75 certified mentors that provide one on one mentoring to business owners and entrepreneurs. Sign up for a mentor here: https://charlotte.score.org/content/find-mentor-282
What other legal requirements do you have other than filing the paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office and getting a tax ID number? As we mentioned in a previous article, vendors are going to see in the public records that you’ve started a new business and are going to send you offers in the mail to purchase items like signs that you “legally are required to display or you may be forced to pay federal fines.” As we discussed, this is sometimes not the case.
What about taxes? This is a new business owner’s main concern. First, find a good CPA. They’re the tax experts, not us. If your business consists of selling a service and you have no employees, you likely only have to concern yourself with estimated quarterly income tax. If you’re selling a product, you may have to pay sales tax. If you have at least one employee, you will need to pay FICA Tax (social security and medicare deduction) and submit additional tax paperwork every quarter. You should register your business online with the state at http://www.dornc.com/electronic/registration/index.html. You should also fill out this application because most businesses with one employee have to pay unemployment tax, too. https://des.nc.gov/des. If you have a brick and mortar store, you’ll likely have to pay business property taxes (just personal property tax if it is a leased store).
When you hire an employee, we strongly recommend you consult with an attorney or a professional out-sourced human resources company. There are all sorts of rules and regulations and compliance issues when it comes to hiring an employee. You need to know about overtime, meal breaks, minimum wage, etc. Once you get up to three employees, you’ll need to start carrying worker’s compensation insurance.
The above information is all general -- depending on the type of business, there may need to be regulatory considerations such as licensing and permitting. For example, we have clients who are professionals who had to get approval for professional licensing boards before opening their business. If you are opening a restaurant that serves alcohol, you have to get your ABC permit.
The attorneys at Jesson & Rains can assist you in navigating the business start-up process. As business owners ourselves, we’ve been there!
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