How to Start a Business in South Carolina

A Comprehensive List of Resources

Everything you need to start your business in South Carolina, plus additional resources and tools to ensure that it becomes a success!

Do Your Homework

If you’re reading this, you’re probably on the right track and have already done some research. It’s the essential first step for getting in to business. We understand the important role small businesses play in the community, so we put together this list of resources to help you quickly find accurate information for starting a business in South Carolina.

Know The Costs

It’s important to know the costs associated with starting your business and getting to that first sale. A simple cost-benefit analysis can be a great way to find out how viable your business model or idea is.

Cost Analysis Guide

Understand the Steps

It’s essential to understand the main things which need to be done before you can start doing business. This resource gives a great overview of those things, and has a ton of other great resources as well.

Business Startup Guide

Determining the Right Business Structure

A comprehensive article on selecting a business structure, with simple yet detailed analysis on the upside and downside of each option.

A succinct discussion of some key factors which should be taken under consideration when determining a structure for your business.

A brief article which points out some of the benefits and drawbacks of each business type. A quick read and good primer, but not fully comprehensive.

A short list of important facts about each type of business. Also includes a “What to Expect” commentary, overview, and FAQs section for each business structure.

10 Steps to Starting a Business in SC

Starting Your Business

It’s relatively easy to start a sole proprietorship in South Carolina. Choose a business name, file an assumed name, get any necessary permits, and you’re off to the races.

You can read this guide for more information.

Visit South Carolina Business One Stop to get started.

Forming a partnership in South Carolina closely mirrors forming a sole proprietorship. The steps are essentially the same, with the added task of creating a partnership agreement.

You can read this guide for more information.

Visit South Carolina Business One Stop to get started.

Limited Liability Companies afford additional legal protection while maintaining relatively simple tax and regulatory requirements. An operating agreement is not required in South Carolina, however it is highly recommended that you create one to simplify business management and dispute resolution.

You can read this guide for more information.

Visit the South Carolina Secretary of State website to get started.

There are numerous steps involved in forming a Corporation, and additional tax and regulatory requirements to meet. We recommend reading through the guide below to fully understand the steps involved.

You can read this guide for more information.

Visit the South Carolina Secretary of State website to get started.

After Registering Your Business

Taking Your First Steps

The first crucial task after filing is ensuring that your new business has met all legal and regulatory requirements. After that it’s time to start the fun stuff – increasing local awareness of your existence, working towards your first sales, and meeting other similar objectives.

We admit to being a bit biased, but we’re being completely honest when we say that building a website and getting your business online are two of the most important tasks to work on after filing. It’s about creating inexpensive, authority-building visibility and giving customers a platform to interact with your business at any time.

There’s a laundry list of other “first steps” to take, and if one thing is certain, it’s that effectively prioritizing your efforts will be a huge boon to your new business. Our best piece of advice for effective prioritization is to understand your industry, your market and your competition, and use that knowledge to determine which tasks are most important for helping your business compete effectively.

Business Startup Checklist

Effectively managing and working through the post-registration startup process might seem daunting, but we promise that it doesn’t require any secret knowledge. As in many other cases, one of the best ways to simplify the process of starting a business is to create a prioritized task list.

The document below, which is free to download, contains two checklists designed to help you start your business with minimal difficulty. The first checklist includes ‘essential’ registration and post-registration tasks which are necessary to establishing your business. The second checklist notes a variety of ‘nonessential’ tasks which are useful for early business growth and development.


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Frequently Asked Questions - Starting a Business in SC

Do I need a lawyer to start my business?

No. In most cases, you can use an online resource such as or for any business or legal documents. However, having assistance from a business lawyer can be invaluable for answering any questions you may have or resolving potential issues.

What kinds of records do I need to keep for my business?

The types of records you should be keeping depend, to some extent, on your business structure. However, you should be keeping copies of financial statements, employee records, tax filings and records, registration filings, invoices, contracts, and similar items.

How can I protect my idea or concept?

You can apply for a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to receive some measure of legal protection. However, most startup ideas are not unique enough to receive copyright protection, and having a patent granted is often a process which takes years. Generally speaking, it’s most important to focus on implementing your idea effectively and building a competitive advantage for your business.

Do I need to create a business plan?

No, a business plan is not required to start a new business. However, the importance of a clear and detailed business plan should not be overlooked. If you have not yet created a business plan, this brief guide by is a great place to start.

How can I get help starting my business?

If you have questions about starting a business in South Carolina and need additional resources or assistance, visit South Carolina Business One Stop. If you have a question about business filings, you can receive help by visiting the South Carolina Secretary of State website.

How can I raise money to start my business?

Fortunately, in the internet age, we have access to a wide selection of fundraising tools which were not previously available. Websites like and IndieGoGo provide simple-to-use fundraising platforms which allow you to easily share your fundraising campaigns with your online network. Another common and fairly simple solution is to establish a business line of credit when you open a business bank account.

Additional Business Resources

Sales Commentary

Looking for something to help you sell more?

“The Pipeline” is a blog which focuses on all aspects of sales. Whether you’re looking for a new cold-calling strategy or tips for client prospecting, this blog is a great place to start your search.

Visit 'The Pipeline'

Small Business Commentary

Looking for a blog that’s all about business?

“Small Business Insights” is a small business blog, covering topics which range from marketing tips to business books. Visit this blog every week or two, and we guarantee you’ll end up finding some great information.

Visit 'Small Business Insights'

This website pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and engages in dis­cus­sion about business and legal sub­jects. The words and other con­tent pro­vided on this website, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as business or legal advice.

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