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. Developing a Business that Makes a Difference provides a brief and broad overview of these rules to help with the primary steps toward successful business development. Getting the Green Light on a Value-Added Venture provides an overview of the major steps involved in starting a value-added business.
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. Preparing for Market Development helps value-added groups get started developing a business organization. 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
- Developing Diversified and Value-Added Agribusinesses, Greg Clary, Texas Center for Rural Entrepreneurship and Texas Cooperative Extension – This curriculum, now available as a free online course (registration required), consists of three courses. The course material is designed to foster development of entrepreneur support networks in rural communities and to provide support for entrepreneurs starting and growing value-added agribusinesses. To obtain a CD copy of the curriculum or for more information, e-mail Clary at: email@example.com.
- Developing a New Co-Owned Agricultural Business: How do we Start a Value-Added Firm? – North Dakota State University Extension -- How to shape an idea into a successful business, that is, how to organize investors, assemble needed resources, construct the facility and initiate operation in response to a market opportunity.
- 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.
- Want to Start a Business? Just Do It – HBS Working Knowledge -- There’s nothing in the world like starting your own business.
- 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 a Business/Small Business/Self Employed – Internal Revenue Service -- Provides information about what is involved in starting a new business and brings up some important issues to consider.
- Bootstrapper’s Success Secrets….Seven Golden Rules for Working on a Shoestring Budget – Arkansas Small Business Development Centers -- Bootstrapper is a person who starts a business with inadequate capital and manages to build it up, relying more on creativity or resourcefulness rather than a checkbook balance.
- 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.
- My Own Business – A free Internet course on starting a business.
- Small Business Dictionary – Dictionary of Small Businesses.
Specific Small Business Start-ups
- Food Entrepreneur Resources – Pennsylvania State University -- Making the decision to be a food processor.
- Starting and Ag Business? A Pre-Planning Guide – Cornell University -- To help ag producers decide which farm enterprise is best for them to pursue with a full-fledged business plan.
- Starting an Agricultural Cooperative – Center for Cooperatives, University of California -- A guide for new agricultural marketing cooperatives from conception to operation.
- Startup Checklist – Small Business Notes -- Critical steps can be easily overlooked until you are well into the process.
- Opening Your Doors for Business – Small Business Notes -- You have been over your checklists multiple times, and everything seems to be in place. It is time to take the big step and open your doors for business.
- Starting Costs Calculator – Bplans.com -- Calculate the start-up costs of your new business before you get going. This calculator helps you evaluate how much capital you'll need to start your business.
- How Long Will It Take to Save for a Major Purchase – NOLO Law for All.
- Online Application – Form SS-4 , Employer Identification Number (EIN) -- Internal Revenue Service.
- Starting a Business FAQ – LawInfo.com -- Frequently asked questions for individuals considering starting a business.
- Starting a Small Business – Business Know-how -- Shorten your learning curve by using these recommended tools as you research and plan your small business.
- Biggest Start-up Mistakes to Avoid – Entrepreneur.com -- Don't let these common mistakes destroy your chances at having a successful start-up.
Licenses and Permits
- The Legal Requirements of Starting a Business – Small Business Notes -- To operate a business legally, one needs to meet all the laws for operating a business in your country and local community.
- Federal Start-Up Requirements for Small Businesses – NOLO Law for All -- Big Brother loves paperwork. Find out what you have to submit to the federal government.
- Local Start-UP Requirements for Small Businesses – NOLO Law for All -- Make sure you follow city and county rules.
- State Start-Up Requirements – NOLO Law for All -- Yet another governmental level to deal with.
Opening an Office
- Choosing a Successful Location for Your Business – NOLO Law for All -- Here's how to choose affordable space for your business that suits your company's needs.
- 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.
- Finding and Renting Space for Your Business FAQ – NOLO Law for All -- Answers to commonly asked questions about choosing and registering a successful business name.
- Negotiating the Best Commercial Lease Terms – NOLO Law for All -- Negotiating a good lease can save you money. Learn where landlords are willing to make concessions.
- Pick a Legal Location and Avoid Zoning Trouble – NOLO Law for All -- Be sure your chosen location allows your type of business.
- Understanding Commercial Leases – NOLO Law for All -- Before you rent space for your business, be sure you understand these basic facts about commercial leases.
- Office/Space Planning Resources – Small Business Notes -- Office planning, while critical to running your business efficiently, is usually done less frequently than other types of planning, partly because once you have a good work flow in place, you don't need to tinker with it often unless you have major changes in other aspects of your organization.
- Office Space, Equipment and Supplies – Small Business Notes -- Choosing the right office space can be a critical decision for any business.
Links checked July 2014.