Starting a Business

Congratulations on your decision to start your own business in Hillsboro. It's a big step. We want to help you along the way. Use this checklist as a guide through the necessary steps to starting a business. Please note that the requirements may vary according to the type of business you have. Good luck!

New business owners should always seek the guidance of a professional tax consultant, accountant, and/or attorney to verify all legal requirements are met before operating a business. A little effort now can save you a lot later.

Steps to Launching a Business

​​​ ​1 - Choose a​ Business S​tructure

This decision impacts taxes, the relationships between owners and legal liability. If the company is sued for personal injury, can the plaintiff sue you personally and take your house, car and bank accounts? These are important considerations.

Sole proprietorships usually are owned by a single person or a couple. You're personally liable for all business debts, can freely transfer all or part of the business and, for taxes, you can report profit or loss as personal income.

Limited liability companies (LLCs) are very popular. You have limited legal liability like a full corporation. However, the tax impact is more like a sole proprietorship or partnership.

General partnerships let you share profit, loss and managerial duties among the partners, and each is personally liable for any debt entirely. Members file an informational tax return and income/loss is filed personally. (Joint ventures are short-term partnerships.)

Visit our Business Structure page to view additional business structure considerations. 

2 - Register your Busi​ness

North Dakota offers an online registration system that can accomplish this task for most users. If your business structure is too complicated for the online system, or if you are starting a non-profit organization, the forms must be filled out and filed manually with the North Dakota Secretary of State. A lawyer can help you with this.

3 - Obtain an E​mployer​ ID Number

The same way a person has a Social Security Number, a business has federal and state tax ID numbers. The online registration tool can assist you with obtaining your federal tax ID. You also can view federal Information on business taxation and view the forms that are required for each type of business structure. In North Dakota some types of businesses require specific tax registration. 

4 - Write your Business Plan

A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success. This living document can assist you in mapping out a strategy. Visit Creating a Business Plan for more information. 

5 - Apply for a Business License

All business entities must contact the North Dakota Secretary of State for their pertinent business licenses. 

6 - Obtain a Zoning Appeal

With the exception of City-owned rights-of-way, all land in the City of Hillsboro has a designated zoning district. These districts are defined in the City of Hillsboro's zoning ordinance, which describes the regulations applicable to each district. Regulations include minimum yard requirements (or building setbacks), landscaping requirements and allowable land uses for each district.​ See the City of Hillsboro's website for more information about City ordinances.

7 - Finance Your Business

The City of Hillsboro offers a variety of incentives to qualifying new or expanding businesses to help defray costs for building or energy-efficiency improvements. Businesses can capitalize on a number of various incentives and loans offered by  the Hillsboro Economic Development Corporation​, Traill County Economic Development Commission and various other regional, state and federal sources. For more information, visit Financing Your Business or Programs & Incentives

8 - Get Business Resources

Small businesses are big business for the City of Hillsboro and a key component to creating a vibrant, successful and global community.​​ As a city, we understand the greatness obtained from embracing a diverse community of people and business. ​By creating a dynamic framework where new ideas blend with the existing environment, we can ensure a sustainable and successful future. Part of that framework includes having a business community that represents all of the community.​ For information about resources, visit Business Resources​