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Learn how to launch your business and find start-up resources in Virginia.

In this economy, the fact that Virginia has been able to run on a budget surplus for two years speaks volumes about the state. Virginia boasts a relatively stable economy, and its strong manufacturing base and expanding high-tech industry aren’t the only reasons.

"Virginia has consistently ranked among the top states in the nation to do business," says Nicole Riley, NFIB/Virginia State Director. "Virginia small businesses enjoy pro-business policies in the areas of tax, labor and regulatory policy."

The proximity of the federal government—and contracting industries that support it—doesn’t hurt, says Anna Urman, a Small Business Development Center director in Springfield, Va. That means opportunities for businesses connected to defense, management consulting, construction and information technology, she says.

Paying Taxes

At six percent, Virginia’s corporate income tax hasn’t been raised in 40 years. The state does have a sales tax on products, but not on services, Urman says. Therefore, if you’re from a state that doesn’t collect sales taxes on products, you may need to tweak your accounting structure so that you’re ready to collect and report sales taxes.

Related: NFIB in Virginia

Registering, Permitting and Licensing your Business

When it comes to registering your business, check both state and county requirements. Urman, who teaches classes on business registration and government contracts, says that many counties require a Business, Professional Occupational License. The online Virginia Guide to Establishing a Business will help walk you through the details.

At the local level, the real estate tax is the major tax, according to, followed by personal property, business tangible property, BPOL, and machinery and tools taxes. If you’ll be operating a business from home, Urman adds, you’ll also need a home occupancy permit from the county zoning authority.

Extra Support

If you need some financial support to get started, small business development centers throughout the state can help you with your business plan—a requirement at most banks, says Urman. Furthermore, the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority offers direct loans to finance needs not met by equity or conventional financing.

Once you’re settled in, your continuing education may be just as crucial as that initial financing. Consider taking a marketing and sales class—also offered at SBDCs—to understand the local culture before launching your first marketing campaign. "I find that when you move or your audience changes, you need to recreate that particular process," says Urman.

Find more answers to your questions here:

1.    State Corporation Commission
2.    Virginia Business One Stop
3.    Virginia Small Business Development Center Network

RELATED: How a Business Incubator Can Help Your Startup

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