Steps for Successful Startups

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Photo Credit: WV Commerce Communications

Step 1:  Prepare for Success

Taking the proper steps in the early stages of developing a business plan and your get-to-market strategy are essential in building a strong foundation for your new business endeavor. Take the time to find out if your idea is viable. Consider who will buy your product or service. Look into the current state of your industry to see if there are new opportunities. Build the competitive edge that your business idea needs to be successful in a contemporary business climate.

Step 2:  Plan Your Business

Good business planning keeps you focused, and can be the difference between failure and success.

  • Take a business planning class A variety of organizations across West Virginia offer assistance with business planning.   Refer to the WV BusinessLink Calendar to find an online or in-person class near you! Also the West Virginia Small Business Development Center has an archive of business plan training that can be viewed on demand by entrepreneurs!
  • Write a business plan There are as many business planning tools available to entrepreneurs as there are business coaches in the country.
    Lean Business Model Canvas Image
    Lean Business Model Canvas (PDF)

     

    One of the most commonly recommend tools used by entrepreneurs today is the Business Model Canvas. The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent and pivot your business model. This concept allows anyone currently in business, or starting a new business, to think through the business model of their organization, competitors, or any other enterprise.

  • Talk to a business planning counselor  One of the services provided by WV BusinessLink is the ability to connect with one of our resource partners who can assist you in putting together your business plan. Several organizations throughout West Virginia offer free one-on-one sessions with trained counselors. Counselors act as sounding boards as you move from evaluating your idea to planning your business and can address a number of start-up issues, including markets, competition, operations and your business plan. When you contact a potential counselor, be specific about what information you need and what kind of business you are starting so you can be matched with the best resource. Before meeting with a counselor, it helps to think through your ideas and need to be specific about:
    • Questions that arose during your market research
    • Concerns about how your business will operate
    • Issues about competition or location
    • Potential regulatory issues that could affect your ability to operate

Step 3:  Register and License Your Business

Once you have decided the business structure you wish to form and the business name you wish to use, you must register the business with the appropriate federal, state, county and local city agencies.

The fastest, most convenient way to register your business is online through the One Stop Business Portal. You may pay the filing fees using a debit or credit card or ACH electronic check.
 
Online filing completes your registration with:
  • West Virginia Secretary of State
  • West Virginia State Tax Department, and
  • WorkForce West Virginia (Unemployment Compensation).
Download the Business Registration Instructions to review and/or print a hard copy of the online filing instructions for your convenience.   If you have an immediate need for your business registration filing, the West Virginia Secretary of State offers Expedited Registration to accelerate the process for an additional fee.  At the entrepreneur’s discretion, the work can be expedited in as little as one hour.
 
Note: You must first register with the Internal Revenue Service to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) before registering your business online through the One Stop Business Portal.

Filing required business registrations with all the state agencies is now fast and easy through the West Virginia Secretary of State’s One Stop Business Portal.

For more assistance with this portal, please contact the WV Secretary of State Business and Licensing staff at (304) 558-8000 or go online to The WV One Stop Business Portal.

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