One of the new features of the Alexandria SBDC website is the Startup Checklist. We developed this checklist because entrepreneurs are sometimes confused as to what steps are necessary to open a business, or do not know where to start. For all small businesses, we recommend that you review the elements of the checklist.
Deciding on a Business Structure, Obtaining an EIN (Employer Identification Number), Registering an LLC or Corporation with the State, and Obtaining your Local Business License are the legal steps necessary before you open your business. The checklist also links to topics such as taxes, business planning and insurance.
Home-based businesses, such as many consultants, will find that the Alexandria Business License process is quite simple, with a few restrictions on what business activities can be done from home. Those opening brick-and-mortar businesses will have some additional steps involving building permits, certificates of occupancy, and signage regulations. All are outlined in the checklist, and additional information is available in the Resource Library part of the website and from the SBDC, as well as City of Alexandria Permit Center staff.
Please note that this checklist should be considered a set of guidelines, and not a substitute for the professionals that some businesses will need to hire to start and run their businesses successfully. If you are considering a Corporation or similar business structure we encourage you to work with an attorney familiar with small business issues. Spending funds at the beginning to get your structure set up correctly may save you time, money and headaches in the long-run, particularly in multi-owner situations.
Likewise, you may wish to have your lease reviewed before you sign it, and have an accountant or bookkeeper assist you in setting up your accounting systems. The Alexandria SBDC can provide you with referrals to local professionals familiar with small business issues.