Getting Started

The South Carolina Department of Commerce realizes that starting any business takes a significant amount of planning and research. Exploring and evaluating your business goals is extremely important. The following checklist and resources can assist in building a concise, yet comprehensive business plan.

Start Up Checklist

  • Do you know what kind of business you want to start?
  • Have you created a business plan, outlining your goals and expectations?
  • Type of business structure? (e.g., LLC, partnership, sole proprietorship, etc.)
  • Do you have a need for financing?
  • Have you picked a location?
  • How many employees are you going to hire?
  • Do you need occupational permits?
  • Have you registered your business with the state of South Carolina?
  • Do you need a business license?
  • Have you handled the insurance components of your small business?
  • How are you going to market your business?

Business Planning Assistance

Small Business Administration (SBA)

Created to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns.

Learn More

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

For managerial and technical assistance at little or no cost to the entrepreneur.

Learn More

Service Corps Of Retired Executives (SCORE)

Matches clients with a successful current or former business owner best suited to their needs.

NxLevel, Fasttrac

This program is for entrepreneurs with an idea for a new business.

South Carolina Business One Stop (SCBOS)

File permits, licenses, registrations or make payments at this convenient web portal.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I start a business in South Carolina?

    The first steps you should take include: obtaining a Federal Employer ID Number (EIN) or Federal Tax ID Number, registering your business with the state of South Carolina through the South Carolina Business One Stop (SCBOS) and getting a local business license wherever you plan to conduct business. You should also take advantage of the resources and programs available to you and mentioned on this site. Check out the GETTING STARTED section for more information.

  • Where do I go to get a business license?

    Your local city hall can assist you in obtaining a business license. The state does not have a business license requirement; however, most cities and towns do. There are also eight counties that require additional business licenses, so check with your local municipality to determine their requirements. Check out the LICENSES, PERMITS AND REGULATIONS section for more information.

  • What other forms will I need to start my business?

    Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may need to have an Occupational Permit. The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation has a listing of occupations that may require permitting. Check out the LICENSES, PERMITS AND REGULATIONS section for more information.

  • Where can I find assistance with writing my business plan?

    Organizations like SCORE and the Small Business Development Centers are great resources for business planning and their services are free. Check out the GETTING STARTED section for more information.

  • Are there any grants for small businesses?

    Grants generally do not exist for for-profit businesses of any size. In South Carolina, grants are used primarily to fund public infrastructure, and such grants are still extremely competitive. This infrastructure may benefit a for-profit company and is usually based on capital investment and job creation. Check out the FINANCING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS section for more information.

  • How do I finance my business?

    Assistance from personal resources such as family and friends followed by traditional financing through a local lending institution are the most common methods for funding startup businesses. Some businesses may qualify for assistance in the form of loan guarantees from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Many banks have departments that specialize in SBA lending. An SBA representative can help you to prepare your application for a loan. Check out the FINANCING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS section for more information.