First Steps to Starting Your Own Business

Posted by: Economic Development Team on Thursday, June 17, 2021

As we continue getting back to normal, entrepreneurs are starting to think entrepreneurially again.  If you have been thinking about launching your own enterprise, registering your business and getting a business license (or licenses) are important first steps.

Follow the steps below to start off your business in good standing.

Register your business. You must register your business with the State of Maryland before applying for a business license. The State of Maryland’s website, Maryland Business Express, simplifies and streamlines this process. We highly recommend using it. Go to the site and click on the “Start Your Business” button, and then, “Register Your Business in Maryland.”

Follow the steps listed in the module, and upon approval, the Department of Assessments and Taxation will issue you an SDAT Identification Number. This number serves as Maryland’s unique identifier for your business. This is not the FEIN number issued by the IRS and required by financial institutions to open an account.

Obtain a business license and meet other requirements. Through the “Start Your Business” module, you’ll also be able to complete the next three steps that involve (1) obtaining a Federal Tax ID Number from the IRS, (2) applying for Maryland Tax and Insurance Accounts, and (3) completing any necessary licensing and permitting registrations.

Check if you need a license from the County. In a few cases, you may also need a license from the County. County business licenses are issued by the Charles County Clerk of the Circuit Court. Call their office at 301-932-3223 to find out if you need a county license. Most of those affected are retail-related businesses. 

If your business is food- or environment-related, check if you need a license from the health department. If you fall in this category, it’s likely that a health department license is required. Call the Charles County Department of Health, Environmental Health Division at 301-609-6900.

For more information about starting a business in Charles County, visit our Start & Grow page or email us at  For more information about services offered by the State of Maryland, please consult the Maryland Business Express website.

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