1. I want to start a small business - what is my first step?
It's simple. Register for our Starting Your Own Small Business workshop (in-person or on-line). This comprehensive 3-hour class will answer your questions and give you check lists that will get you started on the right track. This class is the gateway to our no cost, one-on-one Business Advising. Click here to sign up.
2. Are advising services really free of charge?
Yes. If you are an existing business our one to one, confidential advising sessions are no-cost. If you are just starting see the answer to #1. Click here for more information.
3. I have heard that grant money is available - how can I find out more about it?
There are several web sites that where you can search for grants. Note, however, that grant money is rarely available to for-profit ventures as a source of capital.
- The Foundation Center
- Senator Leahys Grants Assistance Page
- U.S. Small Business Administration Federal Grant Resources
4. Do I need to register my business name?
Yes, but only if you are going to do business under a name other than your own. If you have a different name there are two steps:
- First you need to register your trade name with the Secretary of State. And before you do that you should see if the name has already been registered in Vermont (if you are going to sell over the internet it is a good thing to check to see if the name has been registered nationally as well).To search your name with the Secretary of State's trademark department, click here or call (802) 828-2386.
- After the name has been granted you also need to record it with your Town Clerk.
5. How do I know what taxes are required for my businesses?
Once you start your business, you will have to start paying certain taxes to both the federal government and the State of Vermont. The specific taxes you are required to pay or remit depend on your type of business. The Vermont Department of Taxes has a very easy to maneuver web site.
6. Do I need to obtain a Federal Identification Number?
Sole proprietorships without employees can use the proprietor's social security number as a business identification number, providing he or she uses his or her own name in the business. If using a different name, and /or hiring employees, obtain a federal identification number from the Internal Revenue Service (Form SS) To download the form, click here
7. How do I obtain health insurance?
Your Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start. Many provide group health insurance for their members.
8. What do I need to know about having employees?
The Vermont Department of Labor website is the most comprehensive place to start. It has all the information on the regulations of wages and hours, Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Act rules, Vermont Workers Compensation Program, Unemployment Compensation, and State Labor Relations Act Provisions. Click here
You can also speak with your Business Advisor. Find Your Advisor
9. How do I know what licenses or permits I need for my business?
Depending on your business, you may need to apply for a professional license with the Secretary of State. Click here for more information. For Environmental Permits contact a State of Vermont Permit Specialist. Find the permit specialist for your area at: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/permits.htm#locator . For a Vermont Dept. of Health, Food & Lodging License go to: www.healthvermont.info/enviro/food_lodge/food_lodge_guide.aspx
You can also contact our Regulatory Specialist.