Starting a Business in NC

Startup Stan is using 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.



Your business may need a North Carolina business license, an occupational license, environmental permits, and/or to meet zoning requirements for your specific type of business and location.

For Employers

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



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.


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 the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina 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.

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.