New Business Start Up Guide
Becoming a business owner is an exciting venture- and we are glad you have chosen the Coffeyville area! We believe entrepreneur and small business development are the backbone to success in our region.
Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions, overseeing legal activities and of course, much dedication and patience. Our business planning guide below will identify the different elements you may need to consider. And of course, we invite you to get involved in the Chamber to get access to educational and training opportunities, business resources, marketing, networking and much more! Apply today or contact the Chamber for a consultation.
Your Business Start Up Guide
1 Research & Marketing
Learning and knowing your market can be key to your success. You need to know who your potential customers are as well as what competition you have in the area or even online. To start your analysis, look at these three areas:
- Understanding your audience – who/where are they located and what problem are you solving for them?
- Learn who your competitors are – if the market is already saturated with similar businesses, how are you going to stand out?
- Decide what value you offer to ensure you get a large market share
Your research can be done by surveys, researching social media and web pages of the local businesses, or contacting local resources like the Chamber. Need more help with a market profile in Coffeyville? Contact Montgomery County Action Council (MCAC) who can provide you with an analysis as well as guides from the Small Business Development Center.
2 Create your business plan
A good business plan is your roadmap and it essential when financing and convincing others to work with you! Your business plan not only helps you launch your business but it also helps serve as an operational plan and is key to getting additional funding. Business plans vary and some even say there is no wrong way to start. However, here are a few key components:
- Description: Defining your mission statement and goals
- Organization: How will you manage the business? What staffing needs will be considered.
- Market: Understand and define your company’s market, competition and your strategies.
- Location: Research the area and determine where you wish to locate your company
- Financing: This section should include your proposed financing, past financial performance, and future expectations for financial performance. Overall, what resources do you need to reach your goals.
Check out our Business Plan page on writing an effective business plan. You can also contact MCAC to schedule a guided appointment helping you craft your business plan.
3 Financing your Business
Ensuring you have strong financial backing is vital for new businesses. Determine your start up costs and profitability margins then take time to learn about the variety of funding resources available. Some common financing options include:
- SBA Microloans
- Business Lines of Credit
- Personal Loans and Savings
- Local and state start up resources
Check out the Coffeyville Finance guide to give you a list of some of the local programs created for small business development in our region.
Don’t forget to meet with your bank representative about the advantages of opening a separate bank account for your business. This can protect you especially with legal, tax and day to day operations.
4 Choose your name and determine your legal business structure
Choosing your business name can be exciting! Take time to reflect on the right name as it can impact several things:
- It can be key to helping you market yourself. Is it in alignment with your brand? Can your customers pronounce it? Is it easy to search on the web? Is it similar to your competitors (don’t be)
- Ensuring you are legal. This is especially true if you are forming a business entity, like an LLC, as you cannot use a name already in use. Perform a Business Entity Search with the State of Kansas
- Many businesses also create a DBA (doing business as). It is a another name you company can use to do business under. Often for those who do not want to open a separate LLC or if they don’t want to do business under their personal name. Check with your local business center or bank to determine if this is a good option for you.
The legal structure is equally if not more important as it can effect everything from filing your taxes, business registration requirements and personal liability. Here are the most common structures:
- This gives you complete control of your business and it typically easy to form. It is run by one individual where there is not legal distinction between the owner and business. They are good for a low risk business starting out.
- However, as the owner, you have unlimited personal liability for any debts or obligations incurred by your business
- When two or more people want to form a business, this is a great avenue. A partnership agreement determines the ownership & managing rights.
- Profits are typically passed through personal tax returns. Easy to create but partners but can also lead to oversight issues.
Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
- Typically a cross between a corporation and a sole proprietorship or partnership. It protects you from personal liability (like your personal assets including homes and cars) if the company faces bankruptcy or lawsuits
- LLC must have articles of incorporation and pay a filing fee.
- ‘Members’ of the LLC must pay self employment tax contributions but typically pay a lower tax rate that with a corporation
If you are still unsure about the right fit for your business, schedule a personal consultation with MCAC and the Small Business Development Center.
5 Pick your business location
Your business location is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Whether you’re setting up a brick-and-mortar business or launching an online store, the choices could affect your taxes, legal requirements, and revenue.
Check out our site selection resource page
Don’t forget to check with the city or county on any zoning requirements, especially for certain industries.
6 Register your business
Depending on the type of legal structure and business, there are certain registrations required. For the State of Kansas, business must file an annual report with the Secretary of State and file business formation documents if creating a Corporation, LLC or LP. Check out the State of Kansa Business Center for all required forms.
Depending on your legal structure, you may need to create an operating agreement or create articles of incorporation. Once all your registrations are complete, you may need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)or Tax ID number with the IRS. A checklist is available on the IRS site to determine your eligibility.
7 Determine if you need to apply for licenses and permits
Different states and even industries may have additional requirements to ensure you are legally compliant. Common ones include healthcare, food industry and bakeries, accountants, car dealerships and more. Check out the State of Kansas site for a list of businesses that require licensing or permits.
We also encourage you to visit the City of Coffeyville website to review some areas requiring building permits or additional inspections. You can also talk to the Coffeyville City Clerk office at 620-252-6100.
8 Get organized & market your business
Determine what system and software you might need in your business. There are many tools to make your business run smoothly and depending on your type of business or field, some are essential. Here are some common needs:
- Accounting Software to help your ensure your business is monitoring cash flow, using your time wisely when it comes to income and expenses tracking and more. Accurate books is a must. Quickbooks is one of the most common software programs for small business.
- Customer Relations Management (CRM) helps you better manage your current and potential customer relationship
- Communication and Website Management – from websites to social media to email and newsletter programs, there are a variety of tools to help you communicate with your customers
- Credit Card and/or Payment Transaction software can help with automatic payments, online payment options and more
Your business plan should include a marketing plan but detailing out your strategies, especially for your first year, is important. While budget for product development is important, marketing costs are just as important.
Along with your marketing plan, the Chamber can give you additional opportunities for marketing your business. Schedule a time to meet about kicking off your business announcement and more.
Still need assistance? There are several entities here to help you on your journey. Check out a list on our business assistance page.