Pathway to Possible

Question: What do Disney, Airbnb, Microsoft and Venmo have in common?

Answer: Besides global disruption and multi-billion-dollar profits, they all share a common origin story:

  1. Each had a visionary founder who was working another job;
  2. All were launched in the depths of an economic downturn;
  3. Every one became a global disruptor in its industry.

Consider this a call to all of the side hustlers, freelancers, moonlighters and digital nomads who live, work or play in Loudoun County. At a time when many businesses are risk averse, opportunities remain for startups to mitigate risk with the right resources.

Maybe you’ve been developing your innovation for years, dreaming of the day that you quit your day job and focus on solutions that change the world. Maybe you’ve dipped your toes in the waters of entrepreneurship but aren’t confident enough to take the plunge.

Download or print these resource guides:

Start Your Business ChecklistRural Business Uses Guide

Startup Planning Guide

The Loudoun County Department of Economic Development has put together this guide for entrepreneurs getting ready to start a business. This is intended as a general guide only; actual steps may vary on a case-by-case basis. If possible, new business owners should visit the office of the Commissioner of the Revenue to discuss the business with a tax representative who can review the necessary paperwork, answer questions and guide you through the business registration process outlined below.

Existing businesses ready to expand can start with Economic Development or the Business Assistance Team, a cross-departmental group dedicated to guiding businesses and entrepreneurs through the process. To get started, contact the team lead at 703-777-0395.

Exploration Phase

Identify resources to help you plan, launch and grow (such as small business agencies and organizations). If you are starting, recently started, or are taking over a business, SBDC-Mason Enterprise Center’s “Starting a Business in Loudoun County” workshop is for you. The class covers much of the basic information you need to know about starting a business. Register online or by phone at 703-466-0466.

Validate your idea by identifying similar products/services, potential customers and by receiving feedback. Businesses can participate in the Virginia ICAP Program-SBDC Leesburg. ICAP helps startups identify potential customers and develop successful business models based on that knowledge. It is an ideal program for early-stage companies trying to prepare for eventual venture investment. Register online or over the phone at 703-466-0466.

Determine Business Structure

If your business is a corporation, limited liability corporation, or limited partnership, register with the Virginia State Corporation Commission online or by phone at 866-722-2551. If your business is a general partnership, register with the Loudoun County Clerk of the Circuit Court online or over the phone at 703-777-0270.

Register Trade Name

Businesses based in the county using a fictitious business or trade name must register that name with the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission Clerk’s Office at 804-371-9733.

Obtain a Business License

Businesses based in the county outside the incorporated towns are required to obtain a local Business Professional Occupational License from the Loudoun County Commissioner of the Revenue. There is a $30 maximum first-year fee. If in an incorporated town, contact that town for licensing requirements.

Register with Taxation Departments

Business Tangible Personal Property Tax. Businesses based in the county and businesses with business personal property located in the county, regardless of whether the property is located inside or outside the incorporated towns are required to register with the Loudoun County Commissioner of the Revenue for Business Tangible Personal Property Tax.

All property located in Loudoun County on January 1 and used or available for use in your business is taxable. The assessment is based on the date of purchase and the original purchase price of the property.

Loudoun County Business Taxes. Business licensing is a form of local taxation of gross receipts generated from business activity. Renewal license fees are based on these receipts. The business license tax rates vary from 5 cents per $100 of gross purchases for wholesale sales up to a maximum of 50 cents per $100 of gross receipts for public service corporations.

Virginia Department of Taxation. Businesses engaged in retail or wholesale sales are required to register with the Virginia Department of Taxation online or by phone at 804-367-8037 for retail sales tax purposes.

Federal Tax for Your Business. People who are starting a business or need information to assist in making basic business decisions should visit the Internal Revenue Service website.

Register with the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Registration

Businesses involved in any of the following must register online or by phone at 804-367-8500 with the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation: auctioneers, barbers, beauticians, contractors, physicians, real estate salespersons and many others too numerous to list.

Obtain Building/Zoning Permits

Businesses operating in Loudoun County are required to file an application for permits with the Department of Building and Development online or by phone at 703-777-0220. There is a one-time fee.

Register with Other Applicable Governmental Departments

Some business activities require registration with the Department of Family Services (703-777-0353) or the Environmental Health Division of the Health Department (703-777-0234).

danelle hayer small business entrepreneurship manager loudoun county

Contact Us

We look forward to working with you and building towards a bright, #LoudounPossible future.

Danelle Hayer

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Manager