If you are interested in starting a new business, you will find a lot of useful information below. If the link points to a resource outside of our website, a new browser window will be opened.
The Virginia Department of Business Assistance has created this valuable tool for all small business owners in Virginia.
Prospective business owners who are considering locating their business in the City of Alexandria should contact the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP). This organization can assist you with available space, demographics in the City, comparisons of Alexandria with neighboring jurisdictions, and similar information. You can search the AEDP website for available space by clicking on the “Property Search” tab. Contact Christina Mindrup Robinson, Vice President Commercial Real Estate at 703-739-3820 or Mindrup@AlexEcon.org.
All businesses in the City of Alexandria must have a valid business license. This document outlines the process to obtain a business license for all for-profit businesses in the City of Alexandria.
Resources:How to Register and License Your Business
Nonprofits must also license and register their businesses.
Resources: Starting a Non-profit in Alexandria
The Office of Planning & Zoning in the City of Alexandria can assist you in determining if your business will require a Special Use Permit. Businesses which may require Special use permits include restaurants, child care centers, convenience stores, dry cleaners, fitness centers, some automotive uses, etc. The Office of Planning & Zoning should be consulted before a new business owner signs a lease.
Resources: City of Alexandria | Starting a Restaurant Checklist
There are legal and financial considerations that determine the best business structure for your business. We strongly recommend that you consult with an attorney and an accountant on this decision. In addition, there are several legal and other websites that provide background information on this subject.
Resources: Nolo | FindLaw.com | IRS
All partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies conducting business in the State of Virginia must register or file with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance has instituted a Virginia Business One Stop system to assist new business owners and to accelerate business formation in the Commonwealth. This system is currently available for new businesses only.
Resources: Virginia Business One Stop
All business should have a written business plan. This guide includes a discussion on financing a small business. Use this easy guide to assist you in writing or updating your Business Plan.
Resources: Business Planning Guide
Through its access to IBISWorld research data, the Alexandria SBDC can provide information to its clients. The SBDC has access to U.S. industry reports that cover 700 different market segments. This report information covers industries as classified by NAICS codes. These reports cover information on the following areas:
About this industry - its main activities, similar industries and additional resources.
Industry at a glance - key statistics, and industry structure and executive summary.
Industry performance - an executive summary, key external drivers, current performance and industry outlook and life cycle.
Industry Outlook - also includes life cycle information.
Products & Markets - the supply chain, including key buying and selling industries, products and services, demand determinants, major markets, international trade and business locations.
Competitive Landscape - reviews market share concentration, key success factors, cost structure benchmarks, basis of competition, barriers to entry and industry globalization.
Major Companies in the industry are highlighted.
Operating Conditions - capital intensity, technology and systems, revenue volatility, regulation and policy and industry assistance.
Key Statistics show industry data; annual change and key ratios.
Businesses interested in accessing reports for their industry should contact Patricia Melton at email@example.com and provide the appropriate NAICS code(s). Once the reports are completed, Pat will contact you to schedule a meeting where the results will be presented.
If you are not a client currently and your business is in, or will be in, the City of Alexandria, and you would like to work with us, we can arrange to create a client relationship.
Resources: Quick Pick Chart
Buying a franchise offers many advantages to the entrepreneur. Several sources of information on franchising are available, including the Small Business Administration’s website. In addition to providing helpful information on franchising, the website provides a link to the SBA Franchise Registry. This registry lists companies whose franchises enjoy the benefits of a streamlined and expedited review process for SBA loan applications.
Resources: SBA | FranchiseRegistry.com | FranNet.com | Entrepreneur.com
These guides from Entrepreneur, Inc. describe the startup process for several different businesses. The listing of the Entrepreneur Guides available in the Alexandria SBDC Library is available below. The guides may be viewed in our library by appointment.
Resources: Entrepreneur Guides