Tips to Start a Business in North Carolina

Welp. That doesn’t sound like a very exciting title now does it? Bear with us. My goal is to have this information stored in someplace other than my slightly over compacted brain. Also, in hopes that maybe someday it will help someone else!

The Short: We are wanting to take our coffee business to the next level. We recently have invested a good bit of money in a larger roaster (missed that post?) and we are able to meet many more demands for coffee. We are so thrilled to be moving forward, however, we felt that in order to keep ourselves protected and be able to sell online, we would pursue making this an actual fo-real business.

This process is not unfamiliar. When we began dreaming years ago about homesteading, gardening, country life, etc it took us a long time to get here and there were many hurdles to overcome. If you missed the crazy adventure of our finding land and building a house those sagas and triumphs are in the archives. Nevertheless, there was many a things that had to be overcome in order for us to find ourselves where we are now.

Anyways. So with no further ado, let me document where we are so far. Also, please note…some of this may sound like I don’t know what I talking about. Well. I don’t. I didn’t take business courses in college…I took psychology courses. I can read people like a book, but don’t ask me business questions. So…hopefully you’ll have grace for me and point me correctly. I apologize if my verbiage is wrong.

1. Decide on a business. Haha. I know it sounds obvious. For us we have always had a passion for coffee…like we chose our Honeymoon spot based on our love for coffee (Seattle). There are many avenues to pursue the love of coffee. I mean, I could have been a latte artist if I wanted to! Or personalized coffee sleeves. Or…Well, enough…you get my point. For us we decided that the most important thing for us was to supply people with coffee that had meaning. It’s also a big perk that we can do this out of our home (more on that in a minute) and thus I can help out the business being a stay at home momma.

2. Meet with a business counselor. This was a huge resource for us! Many of our questions got answered in this meeting. In North Carolina we have a fantastic resource for small start up businesses. Through the Community College system they provide small business counseling for free. If you are in North Carolina check out the Small Business Center Network. In addition, we have an excellent compilation of forms, FAQS, and resources available through another website. These are excellent resources.

3. Decide if you want to become limited liability company (LLC) or sole proprietorship. We are going with LLC due to the fact that we are selling a consumable product and need the extra covering.

4. Make sure you are appropriately zoned if you wish to start a business out if your home. Also find out if you need any special permits. Your county zoning officer would know these answers. Thankfully for us, we are zoned for a home business and only need a $25 permit. Since we are running a food operation (yes apparently roasting coffee falls under food) we have to interface with the Department of Agriculture and FDA. I’ll admit that made me shake in my boots a bit. The business counselor gave us the contact information for our county inspector.

5. Meet with local FDA inspector to discuss what needs to get done in order to get space accommodated for business purposes.

6. Cry after you met with inspector because he gave you so many things that seem so impossible to accomplish. OK, I kidding on this one. Maybe. Sorta.

7. For us, the main things that we need to accomplish is to renovate the garage to make a small roasting room. It needs to have a sink attached to the septic system (BIG HURDLE). We also need small window A/C unit and a few other odds and ends. We are meeting with a plumber to see about the septic system tie in costs. That could be a deal breaker for us. Ah, country life.

8. Wait patiently for God’s timing. He alone knows how all of this will actually work out. In the meantime, we are not anxious about anything but asking for revelation for His will!


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