January 22, 2021  
  Entrepreneurial Resources - Advice for North Carolina Entrepreneurs  
  Durham, North Carolina Resources for Entrepreneurs  
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Opening a Business in Durham, North Carolina

Contemplating starting a business in Durham, North Carolina? We walk you through the process of opening a business in Durham.

Are You Sure You Want to Do This?

An entrepreneurial life is hard work, much more challenging than working as an employee. Are you sure you want to start a business?

While entrepreneurship has become a popular career choice, we recommend you do the following before you take the plunge:

  • Talk to other entrepreneurs in Durham. Ask them candidly what it's like to run a business.
  • We recommend reading Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs. For aspiring new entrepreneurs, it's a must read article.
  • Seek the advice of somebody who knows you well. The people who know you best are often in the best position to tell you bluntly whether you will be a good entrepreneur.

Durham, North Carolina Demographic Information

Durham has an active business community that includes small businesses, mid-sized businesses and large businesses.

To give you a better feel for Durham demographics for small businesses, we have tabulated the small business sizes, based on number of employees, for business in Durham.

Business Size# of
1-4 Employees 51660
5-9 Employees 21222
10-19 Employees 15348
20-49 Employees 11934
50-99 Employees 3816
100-249 Employees 2700
250-499 Employees 648
500-999 Employees 270
1000+ Employees 252
All Durham Businesses 107850

As a new Durham entrepreneur, you may also be interested in the table below. It shows how many businesses there are in Durham for each business category. By looking at this chart, you can get a general sense for how much competition there is in the business niche that you are pursuing.

Business Type # of
Advertising Agencies 9
Ambulance Services 2
Amusement Arcades 1
Animal (except Poultry) Slaughtering 2
Appliance Repair and Maintenance 4
Apprenticeship Training 1
Architectural Services 28
Armored Car Services 1
Art Dealers 4
Automobile Driving Schools 1
Automotive Exhaust System Repair 3
Automotive Glass Replacement Shops 8
Automotive Parts and Accessories Stores 23
Automotive Transmission Repair 10
Baked Goods Stores 3
Barber Shops 3
Beauty Salons 62
Bed-and-Breakfast Inns 2
Beer and Ale Merchant Wholesalers 1
Beer, Wine, and Liquor Stores 11
Blood and Organ Banks 2
Boat Building 1
Boat Dealers 3
Book Publishers 3
Book Stores 13
Bottled Water Manufacturing 1
Bowling Centers 2
Building Inspection Services 6
Business Associations 13
Cafeterias 7
Camera and Photographic Supplies Stores 3
Canvas and Related Product Mills 2
Car Washes 9
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services 4
Caterers 10
Cemeteries and Crematories 4
Charter Bus Industry 2
Child and Youth Services 15
Child Day Care Services 94
Children's and Infants' Clothing Stores 8
Civic and Social Organizations 11
Claims Adjusting 3
Clothing Accessories Stores 10
Coin-Operated Laundries and Drycleaners 7
Collection Agencies 7
Commercial Bakeries 3
Commercial Lithographic Printing 12
Commercial Photography 2
Commercial Screen Printing 7
Community Food Services 3
Computer and Software Stores 8
Computer Facilities Management Services 11
Computer Systems Design Services 42
Computer Training 6
Confectionery and Nut Stores 4
Construction Machinery Manufacturing 1
Construction Sand and Gravel Mining 1
Consumer Lending 8
Continuing Care Retirement Communities 4
Convenience Stores 28
Convention and Trade Show Organizers 6
Convention and Visitors Bureaus 2
Cookie and Cracker Manufacturing 1
Cosmetology and Barber Schools 2
Couriers 6
Court Reporting and Stenotype Services 3
Credit Bureaus 2
Credit Unions 19
Curtain and Drapery Mills 1
Custom Computer Programming Services 77
Custom Roll Forming 1
Dance Companies 1
Dental Laboratories 11
Diagnostic Imaging Centers 5
Diet and Weight Reducing Centers 2
Digital Printing 2
Direct Life Insurance Carriers 10
Direct Mail Advertising 3
Direct Title Insurance Carriers 3
Directory and Mailing List Publishers 2
Discount Department Stores 7
Display Advertising 1
Document Preparation Services 6
Drafting Services 5
Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) 15
Drywall and Insulation Contractors 13
Educational Support Services 7
Electric Power Distribution 2
Electrical Contractors 65
Electronic Computer Manufacturing 3
Electronic Shopping 3
Elementary and Secondary Schools 32
Emergency and Other Relief Services 1
Employment Placement Agencies 9
Engineering Services 45
Environmental Consulting Services 13
Exam Preparation and Tutoring 4
Exterminating and Pest Control Services 10
Facilities Support Services 7
Family Clothing Stores 29
Family Planning Centers 1
Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers 1
Fine Arts Schools 10
Finish Carpentry Contractors 12
Fish and Seafood Markets 1
Fish and Seafood Merchant Wholesalers 1
Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers 26
Flight Training 1
Floor Covering Stores 15
Flooring Contractors 11
Florists 16
Food (Health) Supplement Stores 13
Food Service Contractors 53
Footwear and Leather Goods Repair 2
Formal Wear and Costume Rental 5
Framing Contractors 6
Freight Transportation Arrangement 7
Fruit and Vegetable Markets 2
Full-Service Restaurants 189
Funeral Homes and Funeral Services 8
Furniture Merchant Wholesalers 5
Furniture Stores 32
General Automotive Repair 69
General Freight Trucking, Local 8
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 3
General Rental Centers 2
General Warehousing and Storage 7
Gift, Novelty, and Souvenir Stores 15
Glass and Glazing Contractors 3
Golf Courses and Country Clubs 9
Grantmaking Foundations 13
Graphic Design Services 14
Hardware Merchant Wholesalers 1
Hardware Stores 5
Heating Oil Dealers 3
Historical Sites 3
Hobby, Toy, and Game Stores 10
Home Centers 5
Home Furnishing Merchant Wholesalers 3
Home Health Care Services 22
Homes for the Elderly 14
Household Appliance Stores 3
Human Rights Organizations 2
Industrial Design Services 2
Industrial Gas Manufacturing 2
Industrial Launderers 7
Insurance Agencies and Brokerages 82
Interior Design Services 7
Internet Publishing and Broadcasting 2
Internet Service Providers 4
Investigation Services 1
Investment Advice 13
Janitorial Services 67
Jewelry Stores 45
Kidney Dialysis Centers 4
Land Subdivision 11
Landscape Architectural Services 6
Landscaping Services 56
Language Schools 1
Lessors of Other Real Estate Property 3
Libraries and Archives 2
Limited-Service Restaurants 227
Limousine Service 2
Linen Supply 3
Local Messengers and Local Delivery 6
Locksmiths 3
Logging 1
Luggage and Leather Goods Stores 1
Machine Shops 5
Mail-Order Houses 4
Manufactured (Mobile) Home Dealers 2
Marinas 1
Marketing Consulting Services 17
Masonry Contractors 8
Meat Markets 2
Medical Laboratories 8
Men's Clothing Stores 6
Miscellaneous Intermediation 4
Mixed Mode Transit Systems 1
Mortgage and Nonmortgage Loan Brokers 12
Motion Picture and Video Distribution 2
Motion Picture and Video Production 13
Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing 1
Motor Vehicle Towing 13
Motorcycle Dealers 4
Museums 3
Musical Groups and Artists 4
Musical Instrument and Supplies Stores 4
Musical Instrument Manufacturing 1
Nail Salons 4
Natural Gas Distribution 1
New Car Dealers 16
New Housing Operative Builders 11
News Dealers and Newsstands 2
Newspaper Publishers 6
Nonferrous Forging 1
Nonresidential Property Managers 6
Nonwoven Fabric Mills 2
Nursing Care Facilities 15
Office Administrative Services 27
Office Equipment Merchant Wholesalers 11
Office Machinery Manufacturing 1
Office Supplies and Stationery Stores 8
Offices of Certified Public Accountants 39
Offices of Chiropractors 23
Offices of Dentists 103
Offices of Lawyers 157
Offices of Optometrists 15
Offices of Other Holding Companies 6
Offices of Podiatrists 5
Offices of Real Estate Appraisers 13
One-Hour Photofinishing 2
Optical Goods Stores 10
Outdoor Power Equipment Stores 4
Outerwear Knitting Mills 1
Packaging and Labeling Services 3
Paging 1
Paint and Coating Manufacturing 1
Paint and Wallpaper Stores 9
Painting and Wall Covering Contractors 29
Paper (except Newsprint) Mills 1
Parking Lots and Garages 10
Passenger Car Leasing 3
Passenger Car Rental 4
Payroll Services 2
Periodical Publishers 10
Pet and Pet Supplies Stores 6
Pet Care (except Veterinary) Services 10
Petroleum Bulk Stations and Terminals 1
Pharmacies and Drug Stores 29
Photography Studios, Portrait 14
Portfolio Management 9
Prepress Services 4
Private Mail Centers 6
Professional Employer Organizations 2
Professional Organizations 12
Public Relations Agencies 2
Quick Printing 6
Radio Networks 2
Radio Stations 1
Ready-Mix Concrete Manufacturing 4
Real Estate Credit 26
Real Estate Investment Trusts 3
Reinsurance Carriers 1
Remediation Services 4
Repossession Services 1
Residential Property Managers 54
Residential Remodelers 35
Reupholstery and Furniture Repair 13
Roofing Contractors 10
Sales Financing 3
Savings Institutions 6
Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation 1
Securities Brokerage 25
Sheer Hosiery Mills 1
Sheet Metal Work Manufacturing 3
Shoe Stores 34
Siding Contractors 6
Sign Manufacturing 5
Site Preparation Contractors 21
Snack and Nonalcoholic Beverage Bars 30
Soap and Other Detergent Manufacturing 1
Soft Drink Manufacturing 1
Software Publishers 25
Solid Waste Collection 8
Sound Recording Studios 4
Sporting Goods Stores 10
Sports and Recreation Instruction 10
Sports Teams and Clubs 3
Support Activities for Forestry 1
Tax Preparation Services 21
Taxi Service 2
Telecommunications Resellers 6
Telephone Apparatus Manufacturing 1
Television Broadcasting 2
Temporary Help Services 60
Temporary Shelters 4
Testing Laboratories 6
Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters 6
Tile and Terrazzo Contractors 7
Tire and Tube Merchant Wholesalers 2
Tire Dealers 22
Title Abstract and Settlement Offices 3
Tobacco Stores 4
Toilet Preparation Manufacturing 1
Tour Operators 2
Tradebinding and Related Work 1
Translation and Interpretation Services 2
Travel Agencies 16
Used Car Dealers 15
Used Household and Office Goods Moving 10
Used Merchandise Stores 14
Vending Machine Operators 2
Veterinary Services 22
Video Tape and Disc Rental 12
Vocational Rehabilitation Services 3
Voluntary Health Organizations 5
Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters 1
Wholesale Trade Agents and Brokers 20
Window Treatment Stores 2
Wired Telecommunications Carriers 58
Women's Clothing Stores 37
Wood Office Furniture Manufacturing 1

Is a Franchise Opportunity Right For You?

Visit the business district of Durham and it's apparent that franchising has become a very popular way to start a business. But is franchising the right option for you?

Our advice is to evaluate the possibility of your buying a franchise opportunity. We have many articles on franchises, such as Buying an Existing Franchise. Become a franchising expert of sorts by reading more of our Articles on Franchising.

To learn about specific franchise opportunities, check out our Franchise Directory.

Sample franchise opportunities include Symposium Café and Country Kitchen International. Alternatively, you can browse franchise categories, such as Child Photos and Portraits Franchises and Financial Services Franchises.

Note on Durham Franchise Opportunities: You will need to contact franchisors directly to see if their franchises are available in Durham.

Choosing a Company Name

A good company name can give a big boost to a new startup. It might seem like an easy thing to do, but there are many things to consider when naming a business.

We strongly advocate that you make sure the ".com" domain name is available for your company name. Every business needs a strong Web presence these days, and having a non ".com" domain means somebody else may outrank you in the search results for your own company name.

To get up to speed on what makes for a good company name, we encourage you to read this useful article: Branding Advice.

On a final note, given that you are planning on starting a business in Durham, it's critical that you ensure that your company name has not already been claimed by another North Carolina business.

Don't Forget to Create a Business Plan

Having a business plan is essential in laying a solid foundation for your business success. Simply put, a business plan describes what you plan to do with the business and how you plan to do it. Failure to write a business plan makes you more prone to becoming a business failure statistic.

If writing a business plan is on your to-do list, be sure to read Expert Advice on Business Plans. You should also take advantage of free counseling sessions provided by your local SCORE chapter in North Carolina.

Where to Get Money to Start a Company

Raising money to fund your new Durham business requires strong organization skills and perseverance. If you don't have a rich uncle to fund you, you'll need to be creative in how you approach your fundraising efforts.

To learn about raising money, we recommend you read the fundraising articles on our site, such as Getting a Small Business Loan.

For Durham entrepreneurs who want to raise money for a new venture, check out our List of North Carolina Angel Investors and our List of North Carolina Venture Capital Firms.

Marketing Your New Business

To rise above the crowd in Durham and build your business, having an excellent marketing plan is fundamental to your beating the competition.

You can learn plenty about marketing on our site. Newspaper Advertising Costs is an article that will generate a few thoughts on your marketing plan. That's just one of the many useful articles we have on Marketing a Small Business.

Durham Entrepreneur Interviews

Here, we'll keep a running list of interviews we've had with Durham entrepreneurs.

Next Steps

As an entrepreneur in Durham, you won't be working for the boss anymore. You are the boss.

Owning your own business will be a daunting task, but you can do it.

This site is all about helping entrepreneurs in Durham and elsewhere to achieve real success. We believe entrepreneurship is an amazing engine for job creation in Durham, neighborhood development and overall economic health.

More Entrepreneurial Resources for Starting a Business in Durham, North Carolina

Here are more links that we believe will help you be successful in starting a business in Durham.



Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs

Buying a Business

Writing a Business Plan

Raising Money


Small Business Marketing

Advertising Advice

Public Relations -

Customer Service Tips

Entrepreneurial Selling

Workplace Safety