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Business Start-up Tips

by Marianne Lods, Executive Director, Millville Development Corporation

Happy New Year to you! Now is the best time to set your business goals for 2020 and the new decade. It’s hard to believe that we are embarking on the 2020s. It appears people are always looking to the future trying to figure out what is in store for us.

This is a very personal question. What’s in store for me? Is there a business idea that has been hovering in the back of your mind for the last year? Or maybe the last several years. You may be thinking, “where do I start?” It’s not an easy question, but there are many ways that you can get answers.

To begin, start reading articles or blogs published in reputable papers, magazine and online outlets. Local college and public libraries have loads of reference materials. The economic development offices in your community or in the town where you want to establish a business is another good place to start. Talk to the directors of area chambers of commerce. They network with realtors and banks and may know of good deals available or soon be on the market.

Know the national trends and the direction businesses are headed. In the United States, shopping malls and large box stores are often failing. The cost of rent and all the associated fees, like trash removal, common area maintenance, co-op advertising, etc., may be cost-prohibitive.

Look nearby at the downtown business core. Rents are generally less costly per square foot. Downtowns often have some incentive funds that can aid you in your business startup.

Examine other costs that are necessary to running your entrepreneurial venture. Can you manage the bookkeeping? If yes, hire a payroll service to pay the employees and your state and federal taxes so that you don’t fall into the trap of “I didn’t know the deadlines and the penalties!”

You need to research and write a business plan. If you need to ask a bank for a loan or credit line, you absolutely must have this plan. You can find many examples online to guide you. Preparing the plan will really help you understand all your costs. There will be guidance for industry standards, such as percentage of your gross income that you should allow for rent.

Many entrepreneurs get blind-sided by the fact that they will probably not be able to pay themselves during the first six to 12 months after opening their businesses. You must have funds to support yourself for the startup of this enterprise.

Check listings for businesses for sale or talk to your favorite realtor and ask him/her to research this. You may find that a business in the area you want to be in is looking for a buyer. Most owners want to keep quiet about this, letting only a realtor handle it and screen the inquiries.In this case, you will be able to ask to see the annual financial records.

After you have completed all this research, talk with your accountant and review everything together. Does the accountant think you should go forward? Make sure to discuss doing business as a sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, S corporation or full corporation.

There is much to consider and a great many things to learn. If you have the passion, then move ahead slowly and methodically.

Here’s to your success in the new decade!

Millville Matters