Starting a Business

STARTING A BUSINESS TIMELINE

Let’s be honest, the thought of starting a business can be daunting to many. What we have tried to do in this business timeline is to take the guesswork out of what you should do and when you should do it. We are pleased to note that this timeline-based online guide is the only one of its type in Vermont. If you have any questions after reading through this guide, our contact information is at the end of the piece. Good luck!

Step 1: BUSINESS ADVICE TO HELP YOU START YOUR BUSINESS

  • Do Your Research – The Vermont Small Business Development Center is a great resource for folks starting a business. It looks at all the variables it takes to open your doors, from whether your business would be a viable venture to financing options. We strongly suggest you contact them for advice on how to start and operate your new business. This service is free. Contact SBDC Advisor Ross Hart.
  • Training - The Vermont Small Business Development Center offers a four-hour comprehensive workshop, entitled "Starting Your Own Business," taught by the regional business advisor. The training includes a comprehensive start-up workbook, marketing handouts and resources and information on financing, management and operations. Highlights of the workshop include using the "Business Model Canvas" to evaluate whether your business concept is viable and identifying target customers and a "unique selling proposition." It also takes in consideration start-up costs, sales, expenses and financing options. There is a charge for the workshop.
  • Do It Yourself - The Small Business Administration offers a helpful and intuitive web site on Starting a Business that you can review on your own timeline.
  • Using Technology To Stay Competitive

Step 2: WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN

Step 3: WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?

Step 4: MEET WITH LEGAL & FINANCIAL EXPERTS

Step 5: DETERMINING YOUR FINANCIAL STRUCTURE

The Vermont Department of Taxes site is designed to help individuals, businesses and property owners better understand and comply with Vermont’s tax laws and regulations. Its Businesses & Corporations section is especially helpful to those starting a business, as business owners try to delve into the tax implications of establishing a business.

Step 6: FINANCING YOUR BUSINESS

With your business plan and a fair amount of paperwork behind you, many new businesses may need to look at options to help finance their startup. Check out these resources:

Step 7: MAKING "CENTS" OF YOUR TAXES

We can’t say paying taxes are fun, but at least we can make the whole process easier to understand. Here are a couple of resources that might help you out:

  • IRS - What New Business Owners Need To Know About Federal Taxes
  • State of Vermont – What New Business Owners Need To Know About State Taxes
    • Businesses & Corporations  – Includes information in this section on File & Pay, Taxes & Your Business, Register/Renew or Close Your Business, Corporate & Business Income Taxes, Sales & Use Tax, Meals & Rooms Tax, Alcoholic Beverage Tax, Withholding Tax, Local Option Tax, Miscellaneous Taxes, Non-Profit & Exempt Organizations.

    • Property Owners – File & Pay, Current Use, Homestead Declaration, Property Tax Adjustment Claim, Real Estate Transaction Taxes, Understanding Property Taxes.

    • Help & Resources – Includes information on FAQs (frequently asked questions), myVTax Resource Center, Identity Theft & Fraud, Appeals, Audits, Collections, Taxpayer Advocate, Tax Learning Center, Tax Forms, Technical Assistance, Contact Us.

Step 8: REGISTERING A NEW BUSINESS NAME

Step 9: ESTABLISHING AN EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER

  • Employer Identification Number Almost all businesses need what is called an EIN, also called your Federal Tax Identification Number. It is designed to identify you as a business entity and the numbers are issued for the purpose of tax administration.

Step 10: REGISTERING WITH THE VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF TAXES

Step 11: STATE LICENSING

Step 12: PERMITTING NEEDED (STATE & LOCAL)

  • State Permitting – This section, admittedly, might cause you the most consternation, as the list of permits needed across the board is long, but not all apply to your particular business and there is quite a bit of assistance to help you through this process. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has developed some information sheets that will help you determine how your business sector will be affected.
  • Do You Need A State Permit: Ask a Permit Specialist Brochure pdf – The goal of the Permit Specialist is to take the mystery, anxiety and frustration out of the permit process for businesses and the public. The specialists provide advice about state permits required for your projects and help you find the online resources and staff members who can help you obtain your necessary permits.
  • Regional Development Corporations (RDCs) – Throughout the state, there are economic development and planning organizations, and the Northeast Kingdom is fortunate to have an organization, Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA), that serves both of those areas. NVDA assists with regional and municipal land use and transportation planning and supports economic growth as the Regional Economic Development Corporation for the 55 communities within the Northeast Kingdom. The office is a great resource for local permitting and compliance issues.
  • Act 250 – This environmental regulation is probably one of the most feared but least understood permitting processes in the state. This Act 250 fact sheet should help you to understand what businesses and development are affected by Act 250 but also reassures you that it is not a burdensome process. Act 250 reviews and manages environmental, social and fiscal consequences of major subdivisions and development in Vermont through the issuance of land-use permits. The Northeast Kingdom has a regional Act 250 specialist who can assist you through this process.
  • Local Planning & Zoning – For the most complete information on local planning and zoning regulations in your respective community, we encourage you to check in with that particular community’s town clerk.

Step 13: BUSINESS SIGNAGE

Step 14: EMPLOYER ASSISTANCE

Not every new business has a human resources department, and the labor requirements may appear a bit intimidating at first glance, but the Vermont Department of Labor offers a number of specific and general online resources to help you navigate the reporting process:

Step 15: BUSINESS SUPPORT

Joining a chamber of commerce is good for your business in a number of ways. Most notably, it provides a great return on investment. In a recent national study, consumers were deemed 80 percent more likely to buy products and services from business that are members of chambers of commerce. In addition, chambers provide significant marketing benefits, networking with fellow businesses, insurance plans and discounts on necessary services. The Northeast Kingdom Chamber would be glad to meet with you about our many benefits.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON STARTING A BUSINESS:
Northeast Kingdom Chamber of Commerce
2000 Memorial Drive-Ste. 11
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
802-748-3678, director@nekchamber.com

The Northeast Kingdom Online Business Resource Guide is meant as a resource for those seeking to start, expand, relocate or transition a business. Please contact the Northeast Kingdom Chamber for permission to use or distribute this content. A PDF format of this guide is available to businesses upon request. Thank you.

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