Having a Partner in Business is Like Icing on the Cake. Chesapeake is Here.
By Reggie Rossignol, May 25, 2021
At Chesapeake Bank, we want to make running a business as easy as possible. Starting a business should be easy too. Here’s a checklist to help you get yours up and running.
Day-to-Day Business at the Bank:
We offer many products and services to help you manage a business, such as business bank accounts, credit cards, credit and debit card processing, payroll solutions to commercial loans and alternative financing, and more.
Our Business Development Team wants to connect with you early. We can make recommendations that will prepare you for the bigger picture. We can also connect you with organizations in the community that can help you by providing training, document templates, consultations, and expert advice no matter what phase of business you’re in.
Checklist for starting up:
You’ll need to register your business at multiple locations. While this list is not inclusive, it will get you started. Don’t worry. You don’t need to follow this exact order or complete all steps at the same time. Save this article. Then come back and select a link when you’re ready to move to the next item.
- Determine your business type. If you’re unsure if your business needs to be an LLC, corporation, or sole proprietorship, we strongly recommend you talk with a local attorney. An attorney will also be able to create the corporate documents needed for legal affairs and licensing.
Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) can also be a good resource for accounting and tax questions for each type of organization. We also offer an interactive tool that you can help you consider the differences between each before you have those conversations.
- Research your name before registering it In most cases, two companies can’t have the same name. Yet, not all situations apply to every business. You’d hate to register at one place only to find that someone is already using your name in another location.
We recommend going through all of the steps below, searching databases where applicable, to see what is available (in case you need to make tweaks). Then come back to complete the steps when you know what name you can use on all systems.
- Register with your state. In Virginia, you’ll apply for a state business license through the State Corporation Commission (SCC). Note: This step is not necessary for sole proprietors but we still recommend visiting the site to see what they have to offer.
- Register with your county office. Most local governments require a business license where your business is physically located. Contact your county or city government to find out how to access the system to perform a name check and apply.
- Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. An EIN is the Federal Tax ID number for your business tax filing. You can do this from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website along with filing for estimated taxes if appropriate for your business.
- Determine if you need a local license or permit. Specific industries require an additional license or permit to offer goods and services. Check with the Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD) to see if this applies to your company.
- If you have employees, you must consider the following:
- Virginia Employment Commission offers a wide variety of employment services and can help job seekers pair up with employers. They also handle unemployment tax.
- Virginia Department of Taxation provides information if you’re required to collect sales or use tax.
- Virginia Worker’s Compensation Commission offers benefits to employees for job-related illness or injury. Local Insurance agents can also discuss coverages and provide additional resources.
- Register for a trademark, service mark, or patent. This step doesn’t have to happen in the beginning and can take extended time to complete. However, your name (and logo) can’t be too close to someone else’s, so consider this with the other naming and design steps.
When you’re ready, this video from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will explain the differences between each type of mark.
Determine where to apply according to where you’ll do business. If you’re only working within state lines, a mark can be obtained through the SCC (where you’ll apply for your state license).
If you plan to do business across state lines, you’ll want a national mark through the USPTO.
If you will work outside of the U.S., you can get an international mark through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
While they are not required, you’ll want to consider getting each mark applicable to your organization because someone could later challenge your use because it conflicts with their registered assets. The national and international offices will provide greater coverage, but your state officials will be quickest to respond to an issue.
- Register for a web domain. If you’re going to have a website, you’ll want to see if the domain (site address) is available, too. You can do this easily online but getting the name is separate from making the site. If you are going to have someone build your website or help you with marketing efforts, you may want to let them handle this step, too, since it is often part of standard packages.
- Choose your social media handles. Your unique business name is known as a handle, and you’ll want that to be easy to remember, identical to your website address, and the same for all of your pages.
As you move forward, you’ll likely find other items to add to your list. We recommend creating a calendar to help you keep track because you must annually renew most items on this list. The visual reminders will be handy.
Did we mention The Buck Stays Here (TBSH) Directory?
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