How to start your business in Lynchburg
Hi, my name is Anna Bentson. I’m the Assistant Director of Economic Development for the City of Lynchburg. Today I’m going to be walking you through our eBook, “How to Start a Business in the City of Lynchburg.” The eBook is a great resource, it’s available on our website, opportunitylynchburg.org, so you can go and download it and dig into more detail all the things I’m going to talk about.
So today I’m just going to walk you through the three sections we have in the eBook. We’re going to start with choosing which structure is right for your business. So your business is a legal entity, so it’s able to hold bank accounts, owned property, and paid taxes, so when you start your business, you really need to think through what kind of legal entity your business will be, and there’s a number of things to choose from. The eBook outlines all of these different choices, including limited liability corporations, sole proprietorships, general partnerships and C Corporations. These are all structures that you can consider choosing when starting your business, and the eBook will take you through which one will be right for you.
The next thing we’re going to talk about is everything you need to know about getting a business license and registered in the City of Lynchburg. Step one is registering your business. You actually have to do this with the State of Virginia. There’s a link in the eBook for the Virginia Business One Stop which is the registration form for registering your business in the state. The second step is getting a tax idea. This is something you can also do through the Business One Stop. The third step is getting a business license in the City of Lynchburg. And I’m going to walk you through on the City’s website exactly how to do that. There are a number of steps you have to take and a couple forms to file. You can do this all at City Hall in downtown Lynchburg. The address is 900 Church St. So the first thing you need to do is come to the second floor and visit the Department of Community Development. You need to fill out a form of zoning approval. It sounds difficult, but it’s really not. All it’s telling the City of Lynchburg is that you can do the function of that business in the location that you’ve chosen to do it in. It may be your home. It may be you’re starting a consulting firm and you can operate that from home. It may be a retail space that you’ve chosen. You do have to decide where you’re going to operate your business so the City knows that use is okay and that location. After you get your certification for zoning approval, you’ll go down to the Commissioner of Revenue’s office, which is on the first floor of City Hall. There, you’ll fill out the application for a business license. You can download this application on the website and submit it via email, or you can drop it off in the Commissioner Revenue’s office. There are a couple of fees associated with the business license. There’s no fee associated if your revenues are under $10,000, but as you move up, the business license fee increases and the maximum is $50 for an annual business license.
Once you’ve chosen the structure for your business and you’ve completed a business license application with the City of Lynchburg, it’s time to figure out how to market and finance your business. You can always contact our office to set up a consultation and we’ll sit down with you and figure out some of the best tools and resources that you can consider. Two partnerships that are really effective for businesses that are looking to start up is the Small Business Development Center at Central Virginia Community College. They do one-on-one business consultations as well as classes and other services for you, and often we will refer businesses to that organization to really sit down and go through specific things that you’re looking for in starting your business. Another great resource is the Lynchburg Business Development Center. That’s a physical space that has incubator space that you can consider renting. They also do classes and one-on-one business consultation, as well as offer a number of financing tools that you can consider. When you come and meet with our office, we can refer you to a number of these organizations that can help walk you through these first steps of starting a business.
There are a number of financing tools that are also available, including the Lynchburg Economic Development Authority’s revolving loan fund. If you have a physical space, there are other grants and incentives that may apply to your business. Again, these are all things we can walk you through on a one-on-one level. Finally, there’s a new program we’re offering through the Office of Economic Development called CoStarters. CoStarters is a nine week entrepreneurial program that walks a business owner through those first steps of starting a business. We do this in a cohort style with about 15 other businesses that are going through the same things you are. You’re really developing those relationships that will help you in the City of Lynchburg moving forward. We’re offering this program a number of times a year, and you can learn more about it on opportunitylynchburg.com.
So, I hope you’ve learned a lot about structuring your business, getting a business license and some tools and resources for marketing and financing your new business. Please contact our office if you need help walking through any of these things and we’ll be happy to assist you.
About Anna Bentson
Anna is the Assistant Director of Economic Development for the City of Lynchburg. Anna’s responsibilities include providing staff assistance to the Lynchburg Economic Development Authority, managing communications for the Office of Economic Development, promoting new business development, and executing activities and initiatives that secure and retain commercial and industrial development in the City of Lynchburg. She is a graduate of the South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina. Anna has been an active volunteer in a number of civic organizations, recently serving as president of the James River Council for the Arts and Humanities and on the Tourism Advisory Board. Anna also serves on the Young Professionals Advisory Committee for the International Economic Development Council.
|Date Added||June 30, 2016|
Anna walks you through all of the early steps that you will need to take as an entrepreneur in Lynchburg, including:
- Picking the right business structure
- Registering your business with the State of Virginia
- Getting a tax ID
- Getting a business license in the City of Lynchburg
- Local resources for entrepreneurs
- CO.STARTERS overview
Read more about how to start a business on our website or download the ebook below.