New Business Guide

Why Do Business in Wise County?

  • Loyal customers
  • Access to professional services like banks, accountants, real estate, title services
  • Reliable, high speed Internet availability 
  • Affordable real estate and low real estate tax rate of $0.69 per $100 of assessed value to keep your costs low
  • No business license tax requirements imposed by Wise County (Merchants' Capital Tax applies depending on business type)
  • Wise County’s Building & Zoning department can review and approve building permits quickly, so you can open your doors for business sooner
  • Strategic location within one day’s drive of 70% of the U.S. population
  • Quality and customizable workforce training programs exist at two local colleges, Mountain Empire Community College and UVA-Wise to help equip your employees with the right skills for the job
  • The work ethic in Wise County is second to none

Things to Consider When You're Getting Started

  • Am I willing to make the needed commitment of my time and money to make this business a success?
  • Do I have the skills to operate this business?
  • How well do I know my product/service, and is there a market for my product/service?
  • Do I have a written business plan?

Steps for Success

  1. Make an appointment with the Virginia Small Business Development Center for free consulting, affordable training courses, personal referrals to local resources, guidance, insights, and connections to help your business succeed. Learn more about Wise County’s SBDC located at Mountain Empire Community college ( 
  2. Enroll in and complete the free Small Biz Basics Online Entrepreneurship Course offered by Wise County in partnership with Santa Clara University's My Own Business Institute. This self-paced resource provides information on writing a successful business plan, financing options and considerations, hiring and managing employees, and other essential business knowledge. Register for the class here
  3. Determine your best type of business structure – sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited liability partnership, limited partnership, limited liability company, business corporation. Consult with an attorney or a tax professional in order to determine the entity type that is most appropriate for your anticipated business activities and to help you file the appropriate paperwork.
  4. Write your business plan.
  5. Get an accountant or accounting software. 
  6. Determine the location of your business. The Wise County Office of Economic & Industrial Development can help identify industrial sites and buildings available within Wise County. Small business owners are advised to reach out to town management for available retail and commercial space. 
  7. Check with the Wise County Building & Zoning Department concerning building and zoning requirements. The City of Norton has their own Building & Zoning Department. 
  8. If your business is located within town limits, check with the local treasurer about business license/tax requirements. The County of Wise imposes no business license tax requirement. If operating within a Wise County unincorporated area, check with the Commissioner of the Revenue's Office about other tax requirements (Real Estate, Personal Property, Machinery and Tools, Merchants' Capital, etc.)
  9. Register with the Internal Revenue Services for Employer Identification Number.
  10. Register the business with the Virginia Department of Revenue for tax purposes.  If you plan to hire employees, register the business with the Virginia Employment Commission - this can be done at the same time you register your business with Virginia Tax. 
  11. Register with the State Corporation Commission


  1. Restaurants and retail stores selling alcohol must contact the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Commission.
  2. Food stores must apply for a permit from the Virginia Department of Health.