Consulting Resources

You decided to start your own business. You have the idea and entrepreneurial set of mind, but need to know how to make your idea a reality. Maryland Capital Enterprises (MCE) will guide you through the process, from having the idea to opening your door for the first customer, as well as assisting current business owners who want to expand.

Below is a list of resource links to assist in the opening of your new business.

Develop a Business Plan

One of the first steps is developing a detailed business plan. You can develop a business plan yourself through online templates,, receive assistance from the MCE staff, or obtain assistance through a consultant.

Choose Your Business Structure

Determine which form of business structure is more appropriate for your operations. The 4 most common forms of business structure are:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation

Visit for additional information on these business structures.

Analyze Your Credit

If you need start-up funding, your first step should be to get a better understanding of your credit history. You can obtain a free credit report annually by visiting, or go to one of the following credit agencies:

Select and Register Your Business Name

Registering the legal name of your business is a requirement for every business structure except sole proprietorship and general partnership.

Consulting and Technical Assistance

Maryland Capital Enterprises offers free one-on-one counseling to future business owners and current business owners looking to expand.

This consultation can include, but is not limited to:

  • A business consulting session with the prospective applicant.
  • An initial assessment, including a review of the business idea and feasibility of the plan.
  • A business start-up checklist that is provided.
  • Start-up cost identification; business plan development, marketing plan assistance, and financial projection (cash flow) assistance would be provided in subsequent sessions.
  • Information on the legal description of business, and registering a business is discussed.
  • Importance of credit and collateral that is reviewed and discussed.
  • Filling out a small business loan application, personal financial statement, and other related forms, if applicable.
  • Small business training courses which are recommended.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

You must have an employer identification number (EIN) before you can register your business (unless you are a sole proprietorship or applying for a Sales and Use Tax License and do not have an EIN).

Maryland provides one-stop business registration online for state taxes.

County and Local Zoning Requirements

Choose a location properly zoned for your business activity. If operating a business from home, consider whether your community or county restricts home-based businesses.

State and Local Licensing Requirements

Maryland’s Business License Information System (BLIS) offers business owners a resource to determine many of the state permits and licenses that may be necessary to operate their businesses.

Business Insurance

Every business must have Workmen’s Compensation Insurance and Unemployment Insurance. It is required of every employer in Maryland for work-related injuries. The coverage may be obtained from a private carrier, the Injured Workers Insurance Fund (IWIF), or by becoming self-insured.

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