THERE ARE 4 STEPS TO STARTING A BUSINESS:
Step 1 – Identify your dream business
Do you want to open a small engine repair shop or an ice cream shop? Do you have a great product that could be manufactured in Calhoun or Wirt County? Before our initial meeting, ask yourself the following questions:
Is there a demand for the business that you are considering?
Get an understanding of how that business will work. What supplies do you have to purchase and how much capital you will need to move forward?
What is your target audience?
Do you want to operate a home-based business? An online store? Brick and mortar? Or both?
Is there a market for your business idea in Calhoun or Wirt County?
At our initial meeting, we can discuss your business idea(s) to gather as much information as possible and talk strategies about the above-described steps to see if there is a market for it in Calhoun or Wirt County. Our office is happy to work with you to find a partner to conduct a market study to ensure that Calhoun or Wirt County is a place where your business can be a success!
Step 2 – Planning Your Business
Before you seek out investors or funding for your upcoming business, you will need a business plan. Business plans are required by lenders and allow you to showcase your credentials and generally projects 3-5 years ahead while outlining the route a company intends to take to grow revenues. Need help getting started with your business plan? SCORE.org offers business plan templates for a variety of industries. Visit the site, complete a questionnaire and it builds a plan for you.
Prefer more hands-on assistance? West Virginia University at Parkersburg has a fantastic Small Business Development Center that can assist you with the following:
– Business Consultation
– Pre-Venture Counseling
– Capital Formation
– Business Plans
– Training Programs
The West Virginia Small Business Development Center (WV SBDC), located at the Workforce/Education building at WVU-P, offers many services, including one-on-one coaching and resources to assist you in starting and developing your business. Please contact Marsa Myers at 304-424-8213, or email her at Marsa.C.Myers@wv.gov.
ALREADY HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN?
Great! Now is a great time to decide on the legal format of your business. Many businesses choose the Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) format due to the legal protections it provides. Consult with a legal professional for advice on which legal format is best for your business.
Once you have chosen a format and incorporated, you will need to filed for an IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) and file your business with the West Virginia Secretary of State.
Step 3 – Business license, etc.
After the decision has been made to start a business, it’s time to obtain a legal name, decide which legal entity best suits your needs and file for a business license and other required permits with the State of West Virginia. West Virginia has a one-stop on-line portal that allows you to perform all of those tasks at once (more information below)
Step 4 - Funding Your Business
Now that you’ve completed your business plan and have filed for a business license, it’s time to start thinking about how you will fund your new business! Capital access can be one of the more challenging processes when an entrepreneur starts a new business or is even in the process of growing one.
We are here to help you discuss your options which include:
TRADITIONAL LOCAL AND REGIONAL BANKS
Calhoun County and Wirt County have access to a number of small and large banks, including Calhoun Banks, located in Calhoun and Wirt Counties, and Wesbanco, located in Wirt County. Each bank as a different approach to lending. Often, we encourage entrepreneurs to start with traditional banks to see what can be done before seeking out other sources of funding. We are happy to assist you in scheduling appointments and making contacts with your local bank.
Some Credit Unions have started small business lending programs. Unlike a traditional bank, credit unions are member-owned and have different approaches to lending.
ANGEL FUNDS AND VENTURE CAPITAL
Angel funds are groups of investors who will combine financial resources to either invest in a business individually or individually. Venture Capital is a type of equity financing where the investors provide money in exchange for equity in the company and manage that equity through active participation in the company. These can be longer term investments than angel funds or even traditional banks and are not considered debt because they are equity capital.
MID-OHIO VALLEY REGIONAL COUNCIL REVOLVING LOAN FUND
The RLF program is loan used for any business need including:
– Business Expansion
– Working Capital
– New Construction
– New Equipment These loans range from $2,000-$250,000 and can fund up to 75% of projects; however, RLF money cannot be used to refinance existing debt.
LKADC also offers a revolving loan for up to $35,000.
Partner Community Capital (formerly NCI Fund)
Wyoming County EDA
First Microloan of West Virginia
Step 5 – Locating your business
Now it’s time to begin property shopping. We are here as a resource to YOU. Need help contacting a landlord? Need assistance finding out who owns a vacant building? Email us.
STEPS TO GET A WV BUSINESS LICENSE
Research the name
WV Secretary of State
In order to get a business license, you will need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the IRS. FEIN’s are free and can be obtained online. Click the box below.
You’ll need the FEIN in order to finish the registration for the business license, so be sure to write it down when it comes up on the IRS screen. A hard copy will be sent to you via mail as well.
Follow up with other state agencies if necessary to ensure business is properly registered (i.e. Unemployment Compensation Division, etc.)