Virginia Business Startup Guides

Opening a Business in Washington, Virginia

Contemplating starting a business in Washington, Virginia? We walk you through the process of opening a business in Washington.

Choosing the Right Company to Start

There are many businesses that you can start. How do you know which type of business is right for you? You might get some good ideas about what kind of business to start by reading Good Business Ideas.

For in-depth how-to guides on how to start specific businesses, browse our Good Businesses to Start section of our site. For example, you might be interested in our Opening a Land Planning Business guide or our How to Start a Children's Parties Business guide.

Remember that your new startup will be located in Washington. The business you want to start may already be well-represented in Washington. Make sure you fully understand Washington demographics before you lock in on your business idea.

Washington, Virginia Demographic Information

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

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

Business Size
# of
1-4 Employees
5-9 Employees
10-19 Employees
20-49 Employees
50-99 Employees
100-249 Employees
250-499 Employees
500-999 Employees
1000+ Employees
All Washington Businesses

As a new Washington entrepreneur, you may also be interested in the table below. It shows how many businesses there are in Washington 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
Bed-and-Breakfast Inns
Child Day Care Services
Computer Systems Design Services
Electrical Contractors
Electronic Shopping
Finish Carpentry Contractors
Full-Service Restaurants
Grantmaking Foundations
Institutional Furniture Manufacturing
Insurance Agencies and Brokerages
Jewelry Stores
Libraries and Archives
Luggage and Leather Goods Stores
Miscellaneous Intermediation
Offices of Lawyers
Scheduled Passenger Air Transportation
Site Preparation Contractors
Temporary Help Services
Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters
Used Car Dealers
Veterinary Services

Naming the Company

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.

Companies like Starbucks, Apple, Target, Microsoft and Intuit all have strong company names that are easy to remember and have become well-loved brands. Wouldn't it be nice if your new company name got on a similar track?

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

As a final piece of advice, remember that because you are starting a business in Washington, it's very important that you make sure no other Virginia company is using the business name you want to use.

Forming a Company in Washington, Virginia

It's essential that your business is formed as a legal entity that is separate from its owners. Doing so will separate you from personal liability for business debts and obligations.

The entity you form can be a traditional C-corporation, a Limited Liability Company (LLC), or an S-corporation.

Incorporating is a very common way to legally create a business entity. A key decision is whether to form and S-Corp or a C-Corp, and you also must decide in which state you will incorporate. If you are starting a business in Virginia, it doesn't mean you are required to incorporate in Virginia. In fact, you are allowed to incorporate wherever you want. However, if you do incorporate in another state, you'll have to register as a foreign corporation in your home state.

There are many nuances to forming a company. We recommend you read some of the educational articles about company formation that are availabe on our site, such as Incorporating Online. You may also want to seek the advice of an attorney. Finally, if you are starting a business in Washington, Virginia, our information on Incorporating in Virginia may be a useful resource if you decide to incorporate in Virginia.

Do You Need a Business Plan?

Creating a business plan is critical in laying a solid foundation for your business success. Indeed, your business plan is your game plan for how you hope to grow your business. Not having a business plan

If writing a business plan is on your to-do list, be sure to read Business Presentations. You can also get face-to-face free consulting available from your local SCORE chapter in Virginia.

Raising Money for Your New Venture

Getting your Washington business the capital it needs to succeed is not an easy task. In fact, financing your new business may be the hardest challenge you ever face.

Take advantage of our many articles on finding startup capital, such as Investor Turnoffs.

For Washington entrepreneurs who need startup capital, check out our List of Virginia Angel Investors and our List of Virginia Venture Capital Firms.

Improving Your Entrepreneurial Skillset

Successful business owners recognize that they don't know everything.

Given that you are starting a business in Washington, Virginia, you will want to take advantage of the many programs available at nearby Virginia universities, colleges and community colleges. It's also worthwhile to see if there are any networking groups or organizations in which Washington entrepreneurs get together to network and trade their business experiences.

Moving Forward

You have a dream -- starting a business in Washington. To achieve your dream, you have to persevere, even when the odds are against you.

From this point on, you control your own destiny.

We are here to help Washington businesses to be successful. We have a wealth of experience in business start-ups, financing, marketing, sales and more...and we've made all of our knowledge available to you.

More Entrepreneurial Resources for Starting a Business in Washington, Virginia

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

More Business Startup Guides for Virginia

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Starting a Business in Waynesboro

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