Starting a Business
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:
Your financial consultant will consider the following information:
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
Workplace Health and Safety: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) offers an online Small Business Resource Guide which provides some of the best plans, tools, tips, and information from across the web on how to keep workers safe and healthy while managing time and cost investments. This guide is meant to help small businesses with workplace safety and health concerns, and all of the information is FREE!
READY, SET, GO!
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.