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
- 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.
- 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.
- Online Application – Form SS-4 , Employer Identification Number (EIN) -- Internal Revenue Service.
Licenses and Permits
- 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
- 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.