"The Connecting Thread Through Which The Community Is Woven"
100 Main Street
Smithfield, VA 23430
(757) 357-3502
The Isle of Wight · Smithfield · Windsor Chamber of Commerce

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New Business Help

If you are considering opening a new business in IOW County, your Chamber of Commerce is here to help.

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Getting Started In Your Own Business

If you are an entrepreneur and want to start your own business, the Chamber is your first stop as a business resource.  Forbes.com has named the Commonwealth of Virginia the “Best State for Business.”  There is no better place to start or grow your business than in Isle of Wight-Smithfield-Windsor.  Be sure to ask about membership in the Chamber – the best place to do business in Isle of Wight!

This guide is designed to assist you if you have already decided to go into business and outlines some of the steps necessary to begin planning.  Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage.

Here are the initial steps to take:

  • Study the risks:  Studies reveal the underlying causes of business failure include incompetence, lack of business experience, lack of a market, fraud, and disaster.  Management deficiencies cause nine out of ten failures.  Businesses do not fail for lack of money as much as for lack of money management.  Many business failures could have been prevented if the owners had a better understanding of the management and marketing practices necessary to run a business successfully.  If you are ready to accept the risks, then you can get down to serious planning.
  • Look at the market:  Make sure there is a sufficient market for the goods or services you plan to provide.  Develop a working knowledge of the wants and needs of the people in the community.  This knowledge is invaluable and can be obtained in three ways:
    • Your own personal insight or background – If you have lived in this area for a reasonable amount of time, you are probably familiar with people’s wants and needs.
    • Secondary Research – By studying already prepared general market data you can get a statistical look at the market you are entering.
    • Primary Research – Actually getting out into the field and doing new research directed specifically toward your product or service is by far the best method for obtaining the needed information.  Choose an operating entity:  Whether you want to be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or a limited liability company, a tax lawyer and accountant can help you understand the implications of which business model would suit you and be the best fit.  Sole Proprietorship:  A sole proprietorship is the easiest to start and is the most common type of business entity.  It is an unincorporated business that is owned and operated by one person.  This person receives all the profits and is personally liable for all the losses.  Partnership:  A partnership is an association of two or more persons who carry on a business for profit as co-owners.  Each partner contributes money, property, labor and/or skills, and agrees to share in the profits or losses of the business.  Corporation:  A corporation is more expensive and difficult to form than a sole proprietorship, but corporations may have several tax and liability advantages.  Ownership is divided into shares of stock.  Two types of corporations are the C-Corporation and the S-Corporation.  Many smaller corporations opt for the S-Corporation.  It is best to consult an attorney or CPA in order to determine the business organization that would be best for your particular situation.  Limited Liability Company:  The owners of this type of business entity have limited liability like corporate shareholders, but the business is treated as a partnership for income tax purposes.
  • Access the Business One Stop.  Use the Virginia Department of Business Assistance’s convenient online system to create a list of required registrations, licenses and permits for your business.  www.virginia.gov/bos/index.html.
  • Visit The Chamber's County and Town Licensing Resource Page
  • Naming your business – have you chosen a name?  Check with the State Corporation Commission to see if the name is available, and then register the name.  http://www.scc.virginia.gov/clk/bussrch.aspx
  • Create a business plan.  Putting together a detailed business plan is vital to clarify your business’ mission, market, finances and the benefits you can provide to consumers.  A comprehensive plan can make the difference between success and failure.  Planning increases the probability that an existing business will function well and grow in an organized manner.  We offer this service through our partnership with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).  www.hrsbdc.org   Simply call our office to set up an appointment, (757) 357-3502 or reach us through www.theisle.org.  There is no charge for this service.
  • Investigate financing:  There are many financial institutions in Isle of Wight-Smithfield-Windsor, all of whom would be delighted to discuss financing your business.  Also, depending on the nature of your new business, there may be grant money or tax incentives available. As a new business owner, your means for raising capital may seem risky – but it will be impossible to persuade lenders or angel investors to spend money on you if you aren’t willing to spend your own.  Most startups rely on:  Savings, credit cards, home equity.  Subtract the amount you can personally invest in the company from the capital you have determined you will need to start and run your company.  This is the amount you will need from outside sources.
Here are some startup costs:
  • Securities on leases
  • Office Furniture and supplies
  • Production equipment
  • Legal and accountine fees
  • Employees
  • Inventory
  • Licenses and permits
  • Insurance premiums
  • Design/architectural fees if applicable 
Your financial consultant will consider the following information:
  • Business idea and plan
  •  Your own investment in the business
  •  Collateral
  • Credit History and personal net worth
  • Conditions that could affect your success
  • Character and commitment to the business
  • Insurance:  Choose a commercial insurance agent who can write the coverage and advise you on the types of coverage and the appropriate amounts of protection in each category of insurance.  You may want to consult an attorney to determine if the terms of the policy are favorable to your business.  The following are some of the types of insurance that you may need:  Building, personal property, comprehensive general liabililty, workers compensation, bonding, commercial vehicle, life insurance, business interruption, and health insurance.
  • Check local requirements.  Whether your business will be located in the Towns of Smithfield or Windsor, or elsewhere in Isle of Wight County, you will need to acquire a business license.  Also, contact the planning and zoning office at Isle of Wight County to make sure your property is zoned for specific business activities.  www.iwus.net
  • Register for Virginia taxes:   Application must be made to the state in order to obtain a certificate to collect sales and use taxes; there is a one-time charge for certification.  Contact the department at www.tax.virginia.gov.
  • Federal ID:  You will need to have a federal tax employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service.  Visit www.irs.gov to request a SS-4 needed to get an EIN number.
  • Virginia Unemployment Insurance:  If you hire employees, you will need to pay unemployment insurance tax.  The Virginia Employment Commission will assign your business an account and send you an Employee Handbook.  For information, visit www.vec.virginia.gov/vecportal.
  • Labor regulations:  All Virginia companies are required to comply with state and federal labor laws and safety regulations.  All employers operating a business in Virginia must establish regular pay periods and rates of pay for all employees except executive personnel.  For guidance, contact the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry at (804) 371-2327, or www.doli.virginia.gov

 Business Resources:

•  Email The Chamber President, Andrew Cripps
•  Email The Country Economic Development's Director, Lisa Perry
• The Isle Of Wight - Smithfield - Windsor Chamber of Commerce Home Page
• The Isle of Wight County Website
Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center
The Town Of Smithfield's Website
The Town of Windsor's Website


So, now you’re ready to open your new business!  Have you developed a marketing plan?  The objective of most marketing and advertising programs is to reach the greatest number of target audience prospects at the lowest cost and in the shortest amount of time.

Remember, you are the most important marketing tool for your company.  What are you offering that is unique or different?  Everybody has a business card, but few maximize its potential.  Is the back of your card blank?  If so, you are missing an opportunity.  Do you have a Web site?  Your home page should clearly identify the types of products or services you sell and offer multiple ways to contact you.

This area is served by a broad range of advertising media, including print, radio and TV.  The Virginian Pilot and the Daily Press are weekly newspapers.  The Smithfield Times is published once a week and The Tidewater News is a thrice weekly publication.  We are also served by three primary television stations, WTKR, WAVY, and WVEC, as well as several radio stations.

There are many networking opportunities in the community.  The Chamber offers opportunities throughout the year for business owners and representatives to gather together and network.  Please allow us to assist you by providing additional information on local civic groups and organizations.

By using your own creativity in reaching targeted customers, you can market your business by not spending a lot of money.  


Our Sponsors:

Isle Platinum

Isle of Wight County


Smithfield Foods

Isle Diamond

Town of Windsor

Isle Gold

BayPort Credit Union

Bon Secours

Dominion Virginia Power

Farmers Bank

Old Point National Bank

Town of Smithfield

Isle Bronze

Members SAVE

Community Electric Cooperative

Isle of Wight Materials

Manry Rawls

Prime Media Productions

Real Country 101.7

The Scoular Company

Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center

Vic's Signs & Engraving