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The Best First Step You Can Take Before Starting A Business

By Jim Hart

If you are planning on setting up a business one of the first best steps you can take is to contact your Secretary of State (SOS) by phone or by going to their website to request a business start up package related to the business you are planning to start. The depth of information provided by the (SOS) varies from state to state but at a minimum they will be able to guide you to the appropriate agencies to help you comply with local and state authorities. Many SOS have business start up packages specifically tailored to your business industry and provides a checklist of information you will need to complete such as vendor licenses (for tax collection), special permits (like construction/building permits). Many times the SOS will provide addresses and phone numbers to key organizations you may need to contact. This is a quick way to get an overview of the tasks you will need to perform and this can help in the preparation of business planning.

You can also access the SBA and SCORE organizations for a TON of helpful information you will need to consider for your business. SCORE stands for Service Corp of Retired Executives and is a free service to entrepreneurs who need professional guidance with start up, business operations or any other relevant need by providing one on one consultation by retired executives specialized in your business. SCORE is a great organization and the help you get can be priceless. If more than one counselor is required they can bring in a mix of talent to help you solve your problems covering management, marketing, finance, accounting, marketing and more. Most business owners could not afford to hire these professionals, all of whom are successful retired executives who volunteer their services.

The SBA, while beneficial, tends to be a typical governmental bureaucratic establishment that has little or no value to very small businesses or startup operations outside of free information. Most SBA loans require financial documentation only ongoing existing businesses can provide. If you are seeking investment capital you can pretty much forget the SBA although there are a variety of loans that can be structured through (SBDC) Small Business Development Corporations, which provide a spectrum of local small business community loans and, in some cases, grants.

You can ask the SOS about these organizations for more information or you can get the information at our website links, which are all free. Don't forget to contact your local colleges and universities as well—many times the business sections of these schools can offer a TON of help and students can work on your project for class credits. Ask the college for guidance.

To your success!

Copyright © 2006 James W. Hart, IV All Rights reserved

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