Starting a Business

Value-added businesses range from small consumer-oriented businesses owned and operated by an individual or a small group of individuals to large multi-million dollar processing businesses owned by hundreds of investors and professionally managed. Regardless of the type of business you are considering, starting a business is a major undertaking.

The information provided in this section focuses on starting a small business that is either independently owned or owned and operated by a small group of individuals. There are no hard and fast rules for searching and building businesses, but there are some guidelines to increase your probability of success.

To help you assess if you are ready to start your own business, use the Checklist for Starting a Value-Added Enterprise. Another assessment tool is Test your Business Success Quotient. To help assess the start-up costs of starting a business, use the outline in How Much Money Do You Need?

For more information on this topic, see the links listed below of articles posted on related Web sites.

Small Business Start-ups

  • Economic Analysis of a New Business - Doing it Right – Kansas State University Extension -- Provides step-by-step procedures for starting a new business.
  • Starting and Diversifying an Agricultural Business – Pennsylvania State University Extension -- An existing farming operation considering diversification must carefully evaluate how adopting a new resource will affect its enterprises.
  • Business Start-up Basics – Small Business Administration -- Take time beforehand to explore and evaluate your business and personal goals, then use this information to build a comprehensive and thoughtful business plan that will help you reach these goals.
  • Starting Costs Calculator – U.S. Small Business Administration -- This site features an online calculator for figuring cash flow, break even, monthly profits, required investment and money at risk.
  • Costs of Setting Up Your Business – CCH Business Owners Toolkit -- Getting down to figuring out how much it will cost you to open your doors for business on day one.

Specific Small Business Start-ups

Start-up Helps

Licenses and Permits

Opening an Office

  • Dealing with Zoning Problems – NOLO Law for All -- If you've found a spot that's perfect, except that it lacks the zoning you need, you may be able to work the situation in your favor.

Revised May, 2019.