Caroline County Economic Development

Business Planning & Startup

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Caroline County offers a supportive community that’s perfect for aspiring entrepreneurs. In fact, the vast majority of Caroline’s businesses employ less than 20 individuals. That’s why you belong here.

We can help small businesses in Caroline County work through virtually any problem. Please contact us to discuss!

Develop a Business Plan

A well crafted business plan serves as your roadmap to success. Writing your first business plan can feel like an overwhelming task, but it’s actually pretty easy. Begin with an outline of your objectives, strategies and financial projections, and let us help. We can introduce you to a supportive community of small business owners and development experts.
Developing a comprehensive business plan not only clarifies your vision but also demonstrates your commitment to potential lenders and investors. Most importantly, a business plan is necessary if you plan to apply for financing.

Funding & Financing

Financing Your Business

Securing funding is a crucial step in launching a new business. We work with small businesses in Caroline County to help them access financing. We even offer our own Caroline County Small Business Loan Program. 

There are many various resources and strategies to explore based on your needs and plans, including, but not limited to:

  • Personal savings and other personal assets
  • Bank loans and non-traditional financing
  • Government grants and programs
  • Foundational grants and programs
  • Crowdfunding, fundraising, donations
  • Community support, benefactors
  • Investors and venture capital

We can help you navigate the challenges of financing a small business. Contact us to set up an appointment to discuss.

Caroline Small Business Loan Program

Caroline County offers a Small Business Loan Fund that helps small businesses start up or expand. The funds are usually used for working capital that typically cannot be financed through traditional lenders. The maximum loan amount is $20,000, though most loans are for less than $10,000. Loan applicants must submit a completed application, a written business plan, a credit report, and business projections.

Research

Thorough research is essential for understanding your market, identifying opportunities, and mitigating risks. Here’s what to focus on:

  • Market Analysis: Study demographic trends, consumer behavior, and competitive landscape specific to our area. Identify gaps in the market that your business can address.
  • Regulatory Requirements: Familiarize yourself with town, county, state, and federal regulations governing your business sector, zoning laws, and licensing requirements in Caroline County. We’re happy to introduce you to representatives in our Planning and Codes office if you’re ready.
  • Customer Needs: Conduct surveys, interviews, or focus groups to gain insights into the needs and preferences of your customers.
  • Networking: Connect with the local business community or community associations in Caroline County to gather valuable insights and build relationships.

By conducting thorough research, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions and position your business for success in Caroline County.

Resources for New & Growing Businesses

The State of Maryland offers an excellent step-by-step tool to help you get started. Explore the resources below, then visit Maryland Business Express to begin your journey.

Small Business Training

There are several local and virtual training resources for small business owners. Most services offered by our partners listed below are available for free or at a very low cost. 

Maryland Small Business Development Center

Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers FREE individualized consulting from startup to established businesses. Maryland SBDC also offers comprehensive training programs, access to trusted business advisors, and will help design solid, long-range plans to secure your vision for tomorrow.

SCORE Serving Caroline County

SCORE can help you start, grow or successfully exit a business. Small business owners can sign up to be paired with a mentor, browse online courses or pre-recorded webinars.

Caroline County Chamber of Commerce 

The Caroline County Chamber of Commerce plays a vital role in supporting local businesses and driving economic growth within our community. The Chamber offers networking opportunities, business promotions, marketing, community engagement, policy research, business advocacy and support services.

7 Steps to Starting Your Business

Maryland Business Express offers a 7-step guide to help you launch a new business. You’ll find tools and tips for everything from business planning to registering your business.

Site Selection

Choosing the right location is critical for the success of your business. Whether you are looking for something in a downtown area, high-visibility storefront near high-traffic areas, or in an industrial park. You can visit our property search page, and contact us if you have questions or do not see exactly what you are seeking. At times we may know of other properties that are available but not listed.

Consider the following factors when selecting a location in Caroline County:

  • Accessibility: Ensure easy access for customers and employees, considering factors such as proximity to major roads, parking availability, and public transportation options.
  • Demographics: Evaluate the demographic profile of the area to ensure it aligns with your target market.  
  • Cost: Balance the cost of leasing or purchasing commercial space with your budget and projected revenue.
  • Community Fit: Consider the local community and its values, culture, and needs. Choose a location that resonates with the community and reflects your brand identity.

Zoning Regulations: Verify that your chosen location complies with zoning regulations and permits required for your type of business.

Promoting Your Business

Once you’re up and running, spread the word about your business through a mix of online and offline marketing efforts. Utilize social media, local newspapers, community magazines, and networking events to reach potential customers and build brand awareness. Small businesses often struggle with the time, money, and knowledge to successfully market their product or service. We can point you toward some helpful and affordable resources to get you started. Please contact us.

Regulatory Agency Navigation

Our goal is to help make regulatory compliance as painless as possible. We can help you navigate different agencies and save you time! We’re happy to introduce you to representatives in our other County departments when you’re ready.

Local Support & Resources for Caroline Businesses

We’ve compiled a list of businesses and agencies that can help you grow your business. From banking to IT services, marketing to business consulting, accounting to legal services, and more, local support is just a phone call or email away.

Incentives to Grow Your Business

There are a variety of incentives and tax credits that may help you. Even at the earliest stages, the location you choose for your business may offer incentives. The Federalsburg Enterprise Zone, North County Enterprise Zone, Denton and Federalsburg Opportunity Zones, and Denton Arts & Entertainment District each offer incentives and/or tax credits that may be relevant to your business.

As you grow, you may qualify for additional incentives if you hire employees, make capital investments, conduct research and development, do business overseas, and more. You may not be ready to take advantage of these incentives just yet, but it’s helpful for future planning to know what’s available as you grow. 

Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about new incentives and tax credits as they become available.