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Starting A Business In Pineville

I Would Like to Start A Business in Pineville

“Starting a Business is a journey.  Your business plan is your roadmap to success”.

This guide is designed to help you to start a business in the Pineville area. This guide explains how to plan your business and where there are resources available to you to help you in your journey.  The more you know and plan for before you start your business, the more likely your business is to grow and thrive.  Don’t embark on your journey alone. The more you tap into resources early in your business planning process, the more likely you are to succeed.

Many new businesses start with excitement and dreams but without adequate pre-planning. While every business experiences unforeseen challenges and makes mistakes from which they learn and become better, unforeseen challenges are different than costly avoidable mistakes early in the business that can result in premature failure of your business.  However, with a good business plan you can avoid most of these unnecessary mistakes.

What Do I Need To Consider Before I Start My Business?

You Need Two Basic Things:

  • You should be clear why you are going into business; and
  • How you are going to make money (sufficient profit).

It is the details behind these two points that take a lot of work and preplanning.  Doing this before you open your business will pay off for you down the road.

Checklist for success in business.

Why Am I Going Into Business? 

Every successful business has a value equation.  This is a brief explanation of what you do for your customers that they perceive as valuable to THEM.  A poor justification for going into business is “I like to bake”, or “I’m pretty good with woodworking”, or even worse “I do my best work when I am left alone”.  These are all personal centric versus customer centric reasons.  They don’t express the differentiated value that your business will deliver to its customers.

Here are some examples of value equations:  “I will design and install intelligent heating and air conditioning controllers that will reduce my customers’ utility bills and quickly pay for themselves in energy savings.” Here is another, “I will provide my customers with take-out meals that are farm fresh and are easy to prepare, at a reasonable price.  I will do this by the smart way I source my ingredients and assemble the meals”. The best value equations are both brief and highly descriptive.

Your value equation sets up everything else about your business because simply put, what your business needs to do to successfully deliver your value equation, and how your business can do so profitably, determines everything else!

Developing a business plan.

What Is My Plan For Achieving Success?

Your primary business goal must be to achieve success.  That means that your business becomes consistently profitable.  While you may have other very important goals for your business, without consistent profitability you won’t be able to achieve your other goals.  This is what a practical business plan is about.  It is a roadmap for setting up and running a business with the clear intent to be successful.

A major part of being able to achieve business success is creating a business plan BEFORE you go into business. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more. These statistics haven't changed much over time, and have been fairly consistent since the 1990s.

Most of these business failures are due to one of the following reasons:

  1. No or Insufficient Business Plan
  2. Inadequate Market Understanding
  3. Too Little Financing
  4. Bad Location
  5. Poor Marketing/Internet Presence
  6. Remaining Rigid; Lacking Agility
  7. Expanding Too Fast

You can read more about these here.

Outline of a business plan.

Start Your Business Plan First

In actuality, a well constructed business plan will address almost every issue above related to why businesses most often fail.  As just discussed, the business plan is all about making sure that you can deliver your value equation and make sufficient money doing it to sustain your business in the long term, and hopefully also provide support for its future growth.  We are going to go through these steps one by one.

Who Are Your Customers?

Going back to your value equation, the first step is to define your customers.  Where are your customers located?  How many potential customers are in the area that you want to do business (in business plan vocabulary, your Serving Area or Serviceable Market)

who is your ideal customer.

Who, What and Where is Your Competition?

What do your potential customers buy today?  In other words, without your value equation, how are they solving a problem or what are they buying that you intend to replace or do better?  Do they cover the same market footprint (serving area) as you intend to cover?  Do you know the price they charge for what they do?  If you do not know, how can you creatively find out this information?  If your answer is that there is no competition, you are unlikely to succeed with your value equation, or you just haven’t thought out how your potential customers approach your market.  A great saying is “Nature abhors a vacuum”.  What this means is that if there a true need, someone will quickly come in to fill that need. If you say there is no competition it either means there is no need for what you intend to provide, or more likely, you just aren’t considering the alternatives that are already available.  It is imperative that you understand your competition and how you will differentiate your business.

Who is your business competitor

How Will You Make a Profit?

Making a profit is different than making money. However, you need to know how you will do both.

How to generate profit.

Making Money

The difference between what your product costs and what you sell it for is referred to as product margin or “standard margin”.   You need to determine how much you are going to charge each customer (aka  “Price”), and your cost to deliver your goods or services for each customer.  You need to insure that what you provide, at the price you provide it, minus your cost of providing it, delivers differentiated value to your customers (your value equation!).

Generating Profit

When you add up your monthly sales revenue and subtract your monthly product/service costs, this is your gross margin – the money you have generated.  But this is not your profit.  Only after you subtract from the gross margin the overhead costs of your business, the remainder is your profit.  In your business plan you need to determine how many customers you need to sell each month to generate sufficient gross margin to run your business. From this money you have to subtract all of your expenses ranging from building and utility costs, personnel costs, advertising, business services – everything it takes to run your business.  What remains is your Monthly Profit. Your business needs to generate sufficient gross margin produced from all your customer sales (for many businesses replace gross margin with “cash”) to pay all the business costs and have money left over.  This set of calculations is the basis for creating your business financial model, and is called the Proforma  (aka “modelled”) Profit/Loss Statement.

financial review of business plan.

Financial Review and Evaluation

Your P&L model should initially be done on a month by month basis.  Because your aren’t likely going to begin with a huge number of customers in your first month, yet you will have many fixed costs that begin in month one.  By doing your analysis monthly, you can also compute how much cash you need to start with a buffer, to insure you can survive until the business generates sufficient cash to support itself and pay back that initial cash. (start up capital).

This is the reason that everything starts with your business plan. This is your business roadmap.  If you make inaccurate assumptions on the size of your addressable market, your sales capture rate, your costs, your profitability, with a business plan you go back and modify your assumptions based on your learnings and see what you have to change to improve your ability to generate profit.

Tap Into Free Business Resources

Do you need help with a business plan?  Do you need someone to review your business plan and give you feedback?  See the Business Resources Header.

Helpful Business Resources

Helpful Business Resources

There is simply no reason for you to “go it alone” when starting your business.  There is a wealth of resources and people who are interested in helping you to start out on the right foot and become successful.  Below is a list of resources.  The Pineville NC Chamber of Commerce urges you to take advantage of these resources far in advance of opening your business so that you are best prepared for success.

United States Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA has a website that includes a business guide to help you understand everything you need to do to start your business.  It also includes a business learning center that has free online guides to teach you about planning, starting, running and growing your business.  It also includes information on forms of business funding available to small businesses.

Economic Development Partnership of NC (formerly Business Link NC)

EDPNC Small Business Advisors provides free one-on-one guidance to entrepreneurs and startups on the licensing and permitting requirements of starting a small business in the state. These advisors are a knowledgeable source of referral to programs that can help entrepreneurs access small-business mentoring, grants, alternative lending, and other resources.

Toll-free number ― 800-228-8443

Contact form:


Mecklenburg County Office of Economic Development

Pineville NC lies within Mecklenburg County.  The County government has resources to help small businesses launch and grow, and provides information on starting and funding your small business.  Mecklenburg County’s Business Lending & Credit Coaching seeks to stimulate business investment, create and retain jobs, and provide increased opportunities for small businesses to obtain the capital they need to be successful.

In addition, MCOED participates in the NC state program to fund small businesses.  The program makes loans of up to $75,000 at accommodating rate and terms available to qualified small and start-up businesses in Mecklenburg County.

SCORE Charlotte

SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals. Since 1964, they have provided education and mentorship to more than 11 million entrepreneurs.

SCORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Most of their offerings at no cost. SCORE provides a wide range of services to established and budding business owners alike.

  • Mentoring: Entrepreneurs can access free, confidential business mentoring in person at more than 250 local chapters or remotely via email, phone and video. SCORE mentors and all experts in entrepreneurship and related fields meet with their small business clients on an ongoing basis to provide continued advice and support.
  • Webinars and Courses on Demand: SCORE regularly offers free online workshops on topics ranging from startup strategies to marketing and finance. Attendees can watch webinars live, or view recordings online on their own time. We also offer interactive courses on-demand, so you can walk through each module at your own pace.
  • Library of online resources: Business owners can also benefit from SCORE’s extensive collection of guides, templates, checklists, blogs, videos, infographics, and more. We strive to provide the most relevant and current educational content to help small business owners and entrepreneurs succeed.

Membership - Pineville NC Chamber of Commerce

A membership in the Pineville NC Chamber is a great way to meet other businesses and owners, and participate in.

Do you need help with a business plan?  Do you need someone to review your business plan and give you feedback?  See the Business Resources Header.

How To Establish Your Business

How To Establish Your Business

To do business in North Carolina, you minimally need to register your business name and have a legal address for your business.  This address may be the same or different than where your business is actually located – it is where legal notices will be sent.

You need to choose a business type. The most common forms are

  • Limited Liability Corporation (“LLC”); or
  • Chapter S corporation
  • Franchise

Each business type has its own advantages are disadvantages. You can apply for your own LLC online with the state. It is quite easy to do yourself.  Your business name does not necessarily have to be the same name as your publicized business.  For example, your business name might be Duck-Goose Resources, LLC doing business as your pet store name, SimplyDucky.

In the resources section you can find more information on everything about your business including resources for free training, free personal coaching and small business financial..

North Carolina Government - Business in NC

This website provides a great outline of everything you need to get your business going from the perspective of state, local and federal registrations, permits, etc.  They also provide personal assistance to answer your questions.

North Carolina Business Incorporation and Registration

Information on incorporation and registration in North Carolina can be found in the link below.  It also includes a helpful check list of other forms you may need based on the type of business you are opening. If you need help choosing which form of business is right for you, contact one of the resources listed elsewhere in this section.

Federal Government Registration Requirements

The Federal Government has a number of requirements that you must satisfy in order to start a business.  A good overview of these is at the following link:

If you are starting from scratch, that is to say you have never opened a business before and have only limited understanding of what it takes to open a business, the Federal Government provides online learning and education resources that are available free of charge:

See the complete list of resources available to you in the RESOURCES Section of this website.

Obtaining Your Required Federal EIN Number

Every organization must have an employer identification number (EIN), even if it will not have employees. The EIN is a unique number that identifies the organization to the Internal Revenue Service. YourEIN is how the government tracks the compensation you make to employees and payments you make on behalf of employees for social security, medicare, employment taxes, etc.  You can apply for your EIN online here:

NC Sales and Use Tax Registration

If you sell goods and services you will have to register for a state id and collect sales tax from your customers.  This is free from the state.  Avoid third party websites that charge for this.  Information on sales tax id is available from NC Department of Revenue here:

Business Sign Permits in Pineville

If you desire to have signage for your Pineville Business, it requires a permit. There are specific requirements for signs, and the Town encourages you to contact Planning and Zoning in the early stages of planning your signage to insure that you understand requirements and do not purchase a sign only to discover that it is not permitted because it is non conforming.

Pineville Business Fees

To apply for a sign permit, get utilities for your business within the Town of Pineville, etc.

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