So, you want to start a business in New Hampshire (or relocate your existing business). Here is a checklist of the basics to guide you on your way!
Step 1: The Name
You already have a solid, money-making business idea and plan formulated. Now, it’s important to give your business a name that will capture your customer’s attention. The business name needs to set the tone for their expectations – before they ever make a purchase. A good first step is to utilize the New Hampshire Quick Start site. This will help ensure that no one else is using the same name as what you’ve chosen. Once you have your name selected, you can create an account on the New Hampshire Quick Start site and register there.
Step 2: The Foundation
It’s truly an exciting prospect to start a business in New Hampshire. Be sure to harness that early excitement, though. If you lay the foundation to your work on a careless mistake or misstep, you could force yourself to close before you ever get off the ground. As a would-be entrepreneur, some of your best sources regarding the legalities of starting a business in New Hampshire, include:
- The Corporate Division forms and laws page of the Secretary of State’s website.
- The Doing Business in New Hampshire page of the official state site
- Also make sure you are familiar with federal requirements for starting a business
You may also want to reach out to some of the other Free Staters who own and operate businesses in New Hampshire to get their advice and perspective. You can network with them in this Facebook Group.
Step 3: Location, Location, Location!
One thing that is great about New Hampshire is you will never run out of amazing options for the perfect setting for starting or relocating your business. Whether you are looking for an urban or rural setting, mountains or beach, you’ve got a wide range of choices of ‘the best’ location.
New Hampshire has 10 counties, 13 cities, 221 towns, and 25 unincorporated places. At some point, you’ll need to determine the home for your future business. Do some research on the areas that interest you most. This page provides links to all the official town/city websites. Additional detailed information about each community can be found in these community profiles.
Of course, don’t forget to take advantage of all the great networking opportunities among your fellow Porcupines. Reach out to the groups located in the areas you are thinking of locating your business. If possible, try to attend one of the local group meetings.
Step 4: Educate Yourself
Even the most intelligent of business owners knows to keep their company progressing, they must keep their knowledge current and their ideas fresh. Taking an e-course through the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center (an outreach program of the University of New Hampshire’s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics) is one way to do that. There are reams of helpful information on the NHSBDC website. In particular, when you are just starting out, you may be interested in these free e-courses:
- Starting a Business in New Hampshire
- Choosing a Legal Structure
- Financing a Business in New Hampshire
Another useful site for you to check out is StayWorkPlay: New Hampshire, whose objective is to encourage growth and development among businesses across the state. Their entire focus is on helping businesses like yours (and neighbors like you) succeed.
The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development also has a page that’s essential for those who want to start a business in New Hampshire.
Step 5: More Resources
New businesses are important to any economy. Consequently, there are many available resources to help you start a business in New Hampshire. Some additional resources for you to check out include:
- NHeconomy.com has resources to move, start, and grow your business. They also have an interesting state to state comparison tool to see how the economy of the state of New Hampshire competitively stacks up to any other state in the country.
- SelectNH.com is geared towards businesses that are researching how to relocate to New Hampshire. Learn about sites & buildings, demographics, industry clusters, mapping (demographic variables and GIS data), community comparisons, and community profiles (key data).
- NH Sector Partnerships Initiative is an industry-driven state-wide effort to help New Hampshire businesses in targeted industries address workforce needs.
- New Hampshire’s Business and Industry Association
- Better Business Bureau – New Hampshire
- Find a SCORE Mentor in New Hampshire and get help starting or expanding your business.
- Business New Hampshire Magazine
- New Hampshire Business Review
Step 6: Have Fun
Starting a new business venture can take a lot of time, money, and effort. Make sure that in the midst of all of that hard work, you find ways to unwind and enjoy the state you will be calling home. Take a drive and look at the beautiful colors of fall. Enjoy some of the world’s best foods. And most of all, get to know your fellow Porcupines and also the other men and women of the state of New Hampshire – your customers, your neighbors, your friends.
The content in this section was prepared by Michelle Dumas. Michelle is a New Hampshire native and participant of the Free State Project with more than 20 years of experience in the employment services industry. Her company, Distinctive Career Services, LLC, created FreeStateJobs.com, which is a service tailored to the needs of fellow Porcupines who are job searching in New Hampshire. Visit their site to learn more about getting help with the development of a custom job search plan, employer research, recruiter outreach, resume writing, LinkedIn profile writing, interview coaching, and more.