Downtown skyline at night

Selecting Your Business Location

Study the market where you’d like to grow your business, and be prepared to work hard and grow strategically.

"Location, location, location" may be an overused real estate slogan, but in reality, the decision on where you’ll actually be conducting business is an incredibly important one. Careful consideration is involved, since factors like taxes, regulations, and zoning laws vary between different states, cities, and neighborhoods.

Take into account your target market, business partners, government restrictions and benefits, and your own inclinations when you’re researching potential locations.

Regional Business Expenses
Depending on the location of your business, expenses in your startup cost calculations may amount to more. Costs like salaries, property values, rental rates, and minimum wage laws differ from location to location.

Local Zoning Ordinances
Adhering to local zoning regulations is essential when you’re running your business from a physical property. Pay attention to whether your chosen neighborhood is zoned for commercial or residential use. Even if you operate from your home, zoning ordinances (while fewer) can still have an impact on your business. Consult your local city planning department to learn more about the area zoning rules.

State & Local Taxes
There’s a reason particular parts of the country are saturated with startups, banks, and manufacturing plants. Some companies benefit from the favorable business tax climate in certain states. For example, Forbes named North Carolina as the best state for business, thanks to their 3% corporate tax rate, the lowest in the U.S.

State & Local Government Incentives
Take advantage of financial incentives like small business loans and tax credits furnished by state and local governments. These valuable rewards help attract and retain business, and foster job creation and economic development in the area.

Federal Government Incentives
Benefits to small businesses can come all the way from the top. If you contract with the federal government, work in scientific R&D, or operate in an underused (or rural) area, your business may be eligible for a government grant. Click here to find out if you’re qualified to join the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program.

Structuring Your Business for Success

Similar to your location selection, how you decide to set up and organize your business significantly affects your operations, finances, and legal responsibilities. Prior to registering your business with the state, you’ll prepare by choosing a business structure, applying for a government tax ID number, and filing for relevant permits.

Comparing Conventional Business Structures 

Use this chart to determine which of the most common legal structures is right for you. Don’t forget that the ownership, liability, and tax rules for each of these structures will be different in every state.

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