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Starting & Growing a Business


Having professional assistance and advice helps make the process of starting and growing a business easier.


The Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CV SBDC) assists business owners and aspiring business owners in accessing capital to start, grow, and strengthen their business. The CV SBDC does not make loans or provide grants. Most small and mid-sized business owners finance their business through their own capital and through outside debt or equity financing. The CV SBDC can assist the business owner in determining the sources of capital that may be available, the general terms and conditions of the financing, and can review the business owner’s financing proposal prior to approaching the outside lender or investor. Generally, most start-up businesses are funded by the owner’s capital as well as that of family and friends. To learn more about financing programs for the business owner, visit:

Entrepreneurs in technology, may also want to visit the SBA and Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology and the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council. Entrepreneurs seeking angel investors or venture capital, may also want to visit Charlottesville Venture Group and Virginia Active Angels Network. Entrepreneurs in agribusiness may also want to visit the U. S. Department of Agriculture. In obtaining debt financing, the prospective lender would generally consider the following information before granting a loan request:

  1. The purpose of the loan
  2. The track record of the business (or, if a start-up, the business idea as expressed in the written business plan).
  3. Collateral
  4. Owner’s equity in the business (or investment if it is a start-up business)
  5. Credit history and personal financial net worth of the owner
  6. Management ability
  7. Ability to repay the debt
  8. Conditions of the economy and/or market area.

To review your personal credit report, visit:


Understanding the market for a product or service, reaching that market through a targeted, cost-effective strategy, and providing excellent customer service are factors that contribute to a successful business. An important element in formalizing, implementing and evaluating these efforts is the development of a marketing plan. The Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CV SBDC) can assist the business owner through the process of evaluating the market for a product or service, developing a strategy to grow the product or service, and evaluating the effectiveness of its marketing activities. In addition to the marketing plan outline, few of the many resources that are available to develop the market for your product or service include:


Industry Information

International Trade


Legal and Insurance

Whether you are deciding on the legal formation of your business, determining intellectual property issues, planning to enter into contracts or to purchase or sell a business, legal issues confront entrepreneurs at all stages of the business cycle. Although the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CV SBDC) does not provide legal advice, we can help the entrepreneur sort through the issues confronting the business. Some resources that can assist you in researching legal issues include:

Insurance (Risk Management)

Operating a business can involve a variety of risks against which the business owner may need protection, generally through outside insurance. Some examples may include property and casualty coverage, liability against damage to others, business interruption insurance, directors’ and officers’ liability insurance and key man life insurance. For a general overview of the types of insurance, that a business owner may need, visit the SBA web site. For unemployment insurance requirements, visit the Virginia Employment Commission and for worker’s compensation insurance requirements, visit the State of Virginia web site.

Accounting and Taxes

Regardless of the size of the business, properly maintaining the bookkeeping and accounting records of the business is an important element in the financial management of the business. Not only does it assist in the preparation of tax reporting to federal, state and local jurisdictions, but allows the business owner to accurately evaluate the actual growth and profitability of the business compared to the goals of the business as well as to other companies in the industry. For tools to establish bookkeeping and accounting procedures, some of the resources available include QuickBooks. Your local bookkeeper or accountant can provide individualized assistance. If you have questions regarding income tax and withholding requirements, visit the website of the Internal Revenue Service for federal requirements and the Virginia Department of Taxation for state requirements. Although the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CV SBDC) does not provide tax advice, we can assist the business owner in reviewing the financial statements of the business and assist in addressing general bookkeeping, accounting and tax questions.

Checklist for Starting a Business

The Central Virginia Small Business Development Center recommends that entrepreneurs develop a written, well-conceived business plan prior to starting the business. The following Checklist is provided for research purposes during the planning process. The Checklist is not intended as a substitute for a business plan. This checklist provides a guideline for preparing to operate a business. As each individual business is unique, the path to starting each business requires slightly different steps. Your SBDC consultant can help identify these important tasks on the way to starting a business. Creating a business plan:

  • Developed a product or service that the target market needs
  • Researched market competition
  • Identified business location
  • Developed marketing strategy
  • Researched operational needs; staffing and support
  • Projected startup expenses
  • Created projected financial statements: cash flow, income statement, balance sheet
  • Projected statements for the next 2-3 years
  • Projected 3 scenarios: worst case, realistic case, best case
  • Met with an SBDC consultant
  • Establishing and Opening the Business

Establishing and Opening the Business:

  • Identified personal income tax implications and liability issues related to the business
  • Evaluated and created a legal business structure
  • Acquired a Doing Business As (DBA) certificate
  • Acquired an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Identified requirements for federal self-employment taxes, Social Security, withholding for employees (See the IRS web site)
  • Identified requirements for necessary permits, zoning requirements, applicable local business taxes
  • Identified requirements for occupational safety/health plans
  • Identified requirements for worker’s compensation insurance 
  • Identified requirements for unemployment insurance
  • Identified requirements for state business taxes, withholding
  • Opened appropriate business accounts
  • Identified sources of capital (Equity, debt)
  • Set up credit terms, relationships with suppliers
  • Set up bookkeeping system
  • Acquired appropriate property/reviewed lease with attorney
  • Prepared property for business use
  • Acquired property insurance
  • Acquired appropriate equipment
  • Prepared equipment for business use
  • Acquired equipment insurance
  • Acquired raw materials/merchandise from suppliers
  • Implemented marketing plan
  • Hired employees to staff business
  • Filed new hire report


For licensing requirements for your business, contact the local jurisdiction in which your business operates and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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For SBDC FAQs click here.

Contact Information

300 Preston Avenue, #206, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Phone: 434-295-8198 |       | Email:
Business Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm

Call (434) 295-8198