How to Start a Business in NC

Startup Stan is using NC.gov to get his business off the ground.

Starting your own business

Starting a business involves planning, making key decisions and completing a series of legal steps. We're here to help you get your business off the ground.

State Requirements

Business Registration

Choose a name, choose a business structure, register your business.

Licensing

Call Business Link NC at 1-800-228-8443 to find out about business licenses, occupational licenses, environmental permits, and zoning requirements for your specific type of business.

For Employers

Employee withholding, are they employees or contractors? Employer requirements.

Taxes

Learn which taxes are required, register to pay taxes.

Write a Business Plan

Wondering if you have a viable idea for a business? Need to map out your strategy?

Plan your business

Assistance for NC Businesses

Business assistance is available from many sources.

Find assistance

Talk to Us

Our business resource specialists can get your business off to a good start.

1-800-228-8443

Entrepreneurs: NC's Economic Engine

79%SELF EMPLOYED Of all the businesses in North Carolina, nearly 8 out of 10 do not have employees.
31%OF NC FIRMS Have fewer than 100 employees. 18% have fewer than 20 employees.
1.5MILLION WORKERS Small businesses in North Carolina currently employ 1.5 million workers.
87%OF EXPORTERS in NC are small businesses. They generate almost a quarter of the state's export value.

Are You in Business?

If you have to ask the question, then you probably are. Sometimes a hobby can become a business.

You are in business if:

  • You start to charge for that barbecue sauce that you make for your friends
  • You buy and sell items online
  • You buy and sell items at the flea market (a single yard sale is not a business. You're in business if you regularly purchase items to resell.)

If you are doing any of these under your own name, then the state considers you a sole proprietor. Minimum state requirements are to pay sales and income taxes.

Existing Businesses

If you're expanding your business or moving to North Carolina, or making changes to your business, check this website for the business registration, licensing, tax and employee implications.

Then visit Thrive NC for:

  • One-on-one assistance for expansion or relocation
  • Location tools and data
  • Financing and Capital

In addition, be aware that the state community college system has an excellent Customized Training Program for N.C. Business and Industry.

How can we make this page better for you?
Send us some feedback!

Thank you for providing feedback on our website. Your idea will go to our web team. If you want to contact someone specifically and get a response, please go to the contact page.

User Feedback

CAPTCHA
Enter your answer below to let us know you’re not a robot.
Back to top