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:
  • 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

Start-up Helps

Licenses and Permits

Opening an Office

Links checked July 2014.