Starting a Business

LET'S GET STARTED!

Every business is different, and the requirements and steps necessary to ensure you are doing everything properly can be daunting. When you don't know your DBA from your EIN or your permits from your sales tax you can lose your mind. Just remember, we're here to help you get on the right track!

Each page in this section holds information related to the most commonly asked questions, starting from obtaining your Assumed Name or "Doing Business As" (DBA) to getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN, like a social security number for businesses) and why it's important. We also include information regarding training, financial assistance, and finding other business resources. Just click on the tabs below to find helpful documents, resources and tools needed to help you start your business.

BUSINESS LICENSING

Did you know there are two different types of business licenses depending on where you open you business? Business location in a traditional office space, storefront, or industrial area must obtain different approvals and submit a Non-Residential  (Commercial or Industrial) Business License application. If you are opening a business that you will run from your residence, then you must complete the Home-Based Business License application. Click on the appropriate tab below to learn the steps involved.

Checklist being made
  1. Commercial Business
  2. Industrial Business
  3. Home Business

Step 1: Check Your Location

Visit the Planning Department to ask about zoning areas when locating a property. Then complete Step 2, BEFORE you enter a purchase or lease agreement for any property. If you don't have a physical business location in Madison, please go to Step 3.

Step 2: Submit a Zoning Compliance Certification Application

The Zoning Compliance Certificate application does not commit you to a business venture location but will provide you with confirmation the business can be operated at the location and what the development regulations and building requirements will be for that specific address. This is a required application approval for obtaining a new business license or for a new location. The review includes Planning, Building, Engineering, Fire, and in some cases Madison Utilities.  Some projects may require a site visit to better understand the project and identify compliance requirements prior to final approval. You can submit your application to the Planning Department to begin the process.

Step 3: Get Your Business License

Once Step 2 is complete, visit the Revenue Department to complete your Business License application and Business Survey Supplement. Every business has a NAICS code and if don't know yours, visit this link NAICS code? Don't forget to provide your public business phone number, website, and social media links so we can help you market your business! The Economic Development Department will assist you in promoting your business by 'Liking' your social media links and sharing your events and promotions. We will also list your business on our Find More Madison website!

Find More Madison

When you apply for a new business license in the City of Madison, you will receive a "Welcome" envelope that includes a Find More Madison window sticker (image to the left) for your primary business entry. If you need additional stickers, just let us know!

  1. Mentoring
  2. Resources
  3. Investors & Financing
  4. Incubators & Accelerators

The entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in North Alabama is gaining National attention and is rock solid. This list will continue to grow as new opportunities present themselves. If you know of resources, please send us an email with information so we can add it to our list. Networking is important for entrepreneurial success and to aid existing businesses in growth!

Alabama Career Center
Alabama Department of Revenue (Entity Registration & Processing Service/Taxes)
Alabama Technology Network
Boots to Business
Braintrust
Huntsville - Madison County Chamber of Commerce
Made In Alabama (Small Business Resources through the AL Department of Commerce)
Madison Chamber of Commerce
North Alabama African American Chamber of Commerce (NAAACC)
Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) (Start-up mentoring and free workshops, sign up on the main website)
Small Business Administration (Local Office)
Small Business Development Center (A great place to start)
Still Serving Vets
The Catalyst Center for Business & Entrepreneurship
UAH Center for Management & Economic Research