Not only does Black BRAND help existing black business owners, but we also provide resources for companies to establish themselves throughout the region, including in the Hampton Roads peninsula. One way we can help is to offer a simple, practical guide for starting a business. Since this can be a complicated process, we broke down, starting your own business into five simple steps.
Step 1: Follow the SBA
The United States Small Business Administration is the number one most cited reference for anyone looking to start a business – they are a completely free website with tons of information! There is information about business plans, rules and regulations, COVID19 relevant information for effected companies in our area, and much more.
Step 2: Create a Solid Business Plan
Smart entrepreneurs start their journey with a solid, well thought out business plan. Unless you believe yourself to be the next Elon Musk, it’s best to start out writing down your business goals, including but not limited to:
- Executive Summary
- Business Description
- Business Structure
- Market Research
- Marketing Outline/Plan
- Competitive Analysis
- Financial Documents
Business plans are customizable to you and your business. There is no one particular way to write one or what sections are necessary, although the ones we listed are typical of a more basic plan. This is also the section of this guide where you decide what kind of business you want to open. Will you be providing a direct service? Perhaps a specific product?
An alternative to the typed business plan is to use the Business Model Canvas. This visual representation of your future business includes all of the necessary information in a more straightforward, more comfortable digest segments. Areas included in the BMC are customer segments, value propositions, revenue stream, communication channels, customer relationships, key activities and resources, key partners, and finally, cost structure.
Step 3: Know and Abide By Virginia Requirements
If your business will be an LLC or corporation, you must register with the State Corporation Commission. The easiest route is to register online with the County Clerk’s office and register all of your paperwork online. Once that paperwork is complete, it’s time to register with the IRS for your official Tax EIN (it’s extremely important to keep up with proper tax regulations and laws!). This is an essential step to complete all city requirements, so don’t skip this step!
Step 4: There are City requirements too!
Most of the laws concerning doing business in Hampton Roads have to do with proper zoning for your business. Physical locations are subject to several other considerations, depending on the type of business. For example, if your company will sell alcohol, now would be the time to apply for a liquor license – you can’t have one of those without a Tax EIN number and a physical location!
Step 5: Join Black BRAND!
Now that you have created your business join Black BRAND through our business membership program!
There are numerous benefits for joining, including having your business featured on our social media and our app. Signing up is easy, and we host some of the best events in Hampton Roads!
We know that COVID has caused many Hampton Roads businesses to close: this has been an unfortunate side effect that has left many scared to take the leap and start their own ventures.
Our community is strong and we are working diligently to create more and more success for black business owners to thrive, including opportunities to collaborate, acquire funding, networking, mentorship, and more. Feel free to connect with us on Facebook to learn more about how Black BRAND is helping current and small businesses thrive in the 757!