Small Business resource guide RHODE ISLAND EDITION 2020
START GROW EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS
Rhode Island Edition 2020
Local Business Assistance 8 National Success Story Jerado and Joyce Reynolds know their local landscape for entrepreneurship support. 11 Local SBA Resource Partners 13 Your Advocates 14 10 Tips to Help You Build Your Brand 16 How to Start a Business 20 Workforce Recruitment 21 Find an EIN 22 Opportunities for Veterans 24 Entrepreneurial Resources 25 10 Steps to Start Your Business 26 Write Your Business Plan
28 National Success Story Jennifer and Jeff Herbert’s
meadery has expanded into a multimillion dollar enterprise thanks to SBA assistance.
31 SBA Lenders 33 Need Financing? 34 Go Global with
International Trade 36 R&D Opportunities for High Growth Startups 38 National Success Story
Cheeseburger Baby owner Stephanie Vitori persevered through a financial storm and a natural disaster.
42 Surety Bonds
44 National Success Story Jennifer Rahn steers the course for Admiral Engineering, succeeding as a small business subcontractor. 47 Government Contracting 48 SBA Certification Programs 49 Woman-Owned Small Business Certification
ON THE COVER Gwendolyn and Roger Graham, courtesy of Miller’s Roast Beef
U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION A MESSAGE FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR
I t is my honor to serve as Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, leading a dedicated team of talented individuals across America who are focused on helping entrepreneurs start, grow, and expand their small businesses. The SBA is here to support the prosperity and longevity of our nation’s small businesses with timely and innovative resources to help them thrive in today’s economy. America’s entrepreneurs are innovators, risk-takers, and the catalyst for employment opportunities within their communities, and they are what makes our economy so strong and dynamic. As we enter a new decade of possibilities, small businesses have a remarkable opportunity to continue building upon the success we’ve seen in our economy over the last three years. As the voice for America’s 30 million small businesses, I am eager to advocate on entrepreneurs’ behalf as a member of the President’s Cabinet. Whether it’s seeking access to capital, government contracting opportunities, business mentoring, or assistance with disaster recovery, the SBA is ready and determined to help our customers succeed. The SBA remains committed to continuing our support of America’s entrepreneurs and making an even bigger impact in communities across the country. In particular, the SBA is focused on elevating female entrepreneurs and our military veterans, expanding access to SBA resources
among entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities, and continuing to prioritize disaster relief. Within this resource guide, you will learn more about the tremendous tools the SBA provides small businesses through our 68 District Offices and numerous Resource Partners, such as our Small Business Development Centers, our SCORE mentoring network, Women’s Business Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers. Featured in this guide are some of the remarkable success stories of entrepreneurs who partnered with the SBA to take their businesses to the next level. The SBA encourages you to also utilize these resources to help strengthen and meet your business goals. Sincerely,
Jovita Carranza SBA Administrator
WE MAKE SMALL BUSINESS OUR BUSINESS. START • GROW • EXPAND • RECOVER
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SBA Rhode Island District Office 380 Westminster St., suite 511 Providence, RI 02903 (401) 528-4561 rhodeIsland_do@sba.gov sba.gov/ri @SBA_RhodeIsland
District Director Letter W elcome to the 2020 edition of the U.S. Small Business Administration's Rhode Island Small Business Resource Guide. The SBA helps make the American dream of small business ownership a reality. We are the only federal agency dedicated to helping our 30 million small businesses start, grow, expand, or recover after a disaster. First, visit or contact the SBA Rhode Island District Office or one of our SBA Resource Partners. Starting on page 9, you will find listings for low-cost or free business advisers, which includes the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center, SCORE mentors, the Center for Women & Enterprise, and the Veterans Business Outreach Center. Interested in small business financing? Find out if an SBA-backed loan is right for you by consulting with one of our partner lending institutions, listed in the green Funding Programs section. This guide also details surety bonding, SBA disaster assistance loans, and SBA-backed loans exclusively for small business exporting. If you are interested in getting started in government contracting, read about SBA certifications and our business development programs. SBA programs and services help you better compete in the public marketplace. Building a business is never easy. Remember, you may be in business for yourself, but you’re not in business by yourself. Stay up to date on SBA events near you and get valuable local business information by following us @SBA_RhodeIsland. Register for email updates at sba.gov/updates and use this Small Business Resource Guide to power your dream of starting, growing, or expanding your small business in Rhode Island.
District Director Mark S. Hayward (401) 528-4540 firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy District Director Joan L. Moran (401) 528-4580 email@example.com Lead Economic Development Specialist Matthew Spoehr (401) 528-4574 firstname.lastname@example.org Public Affairs Specialist Ryan Brissette (401) 528-4630 email@example.com Economic Development Specialist Lana Glovach (401) 528-4575 firstname.lastname@example.org Lender Relations Specialist Dan Horowitz (401) 528-4576 email@example.com Outreach & Marketing Specialist Katie Charron (401) 528-4585 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark S. Hayward District Director
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Gwendolyn & Roger Graham Owners, Miller’s Roast Beef East Providence, RI & South Attleboro, MA How We Did It
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
he Miller family’s love of fast-casual dining has fed an entrepreneurial dream that has been carried on by three generations. Henry and Ruby opened the first Miller’s Roast Beef in 1972 in East Providence. The business then passed to their daughter, Ruth, and her husband, Roger Sr. Furthering that dream, their son Roger and his wife, Gwendolyn Graham, continue to serve the family’s signature roast beef sandwiches and crinkle-cut French fries. Miller’s Roast Beef has grown into a thriving franchise thanks to SBA assistance. What was your biggest challenge? It’s difficult for small businesses, especially those of us in the restaurant industry, to secure capital to expand. Although we were creditworthy and had a 44-year track record, we weren’t able to qualify for traditional financing. We needed working capital and funds for franchise development; we wanted to lay a path for true brand expansion. What was the solution? The SBA guarantees loans made by lending institutions to small businesses that cannot find traditional financing elsewhere. We qualified for two SBA-backed 7(a) loans and with that financial support we were able to structure Miller’s for potential franchising. We were also able to expand our two existing restaurants. How did you benefit? In 2019, Miller’s Roast Beef was accepted into the SBA franchise directory, making it easier for potential franchisees to open their own location. We’re so pleased to have the support of the SBA in developing our brand into a franchise program. Others can follow in our entrepreneurial footsteps, operating their own small business on the Miller’s model of success. And this includes honoring our loyal employees. Recently, we raised our starting wage to $1.50 over the Rhode Island minimum wage. Thanks to recent tax savings we’ve also been able to add jobs, expand our marketing, and renovate the kitchen. We’ve modernized in other ways: we developed an app and a loyalty rewards program. In 2018, sales increased by about 9% over the previous year, and we employ 45. We truly stand by our motto, we are a family serving family.
We’re so pleased to have the support of the SBA in developing our brand into a franchise program.” Gwendolyn & Roger Graham Owners, East Providence, RI & South Attleboro, MA
Miller's Roast Beef co-owner Gwendolyn Graham
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
SBA Resource Partners No matter your industry, location, or experience, if you have a dream, the SBA is here to help you achieve it. Our SBA Resource Partners offer mentoring, counseling, and training to help you startup and thrive at all stages of the business life cycle. These independent organizations operating across the United States and U.S. territories are funded through SBA cooperative agreements or grants.
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTERS
950 Small Business Development Centers + 20 Veterans Business Outreach Centers + 100 Women’s Business Centers + 300 SCORE chapters +
Achieve your dream of business ownership and remain competitive in an ever-changing global economy with assistance from your local SBDC. Access free counseling and free or low- cost training on topics like regulatory compliance, technology development, and international trade. Find an SBDC adviser at sba.gov/sbdc .
Join the ranks of other business owners who have experienced higher revenues and increased growth thanks to SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors. Experienced executives share real-world knowledge to fit your busy schedule. SCOREmentors are available for free as often as you need, in person, via email or over video chat. Find amentor at sba.gov/score .
WOMEN’S BUSINESS CENTERS
Women entrepreneurs receive essential business counseling and training from this national network of community-based centers. Each center tailors its services to help you navigate the challenges women often face when starting or growing a business. To learn about SBA resources for women visit sba.gov/women .
VETERANS BUSINESS OUTREACH CENTERS
Veteran and military entrepreneurs receive business training, counseling, and referrals to other SBA Resource Partners at a Veterans Business Outreach Center, sba.gov/vboc . Receive procurement guidance to better compete for government contracts. VBOCs also serve active duty service members, National Guard or Reserve members, veterans of any era, and military spouses.
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SBA’s Resource Partners are independent organizations funded through SBA cooperative agreements or grants. Our Local SBA Resource Partners
Office locations: Northern Rhode Island Office 650 George Washington Highway, suite 206, Lincoln (401) 575-7407 Providence Metro Office 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence (401) 490-0378 Southern Rhode Island Office
University of Rhode Island 210 Flagg Road, Kingston (401) 714-9177
Counseling locations: Central Falls City Hall 580 Broad St., Warwick Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce 3288 Post Road, Warren East Bay Chamber of Commerce 16 Cutler St. East Providence City Hall 145 Taunton Ave. Innovate Newport 513 Broadway Pawtucket City Hall 137 Roosevelt Ave. Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce 30 Exchange Terrace, Providence Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce 1 Chamber Way, Westerly SCORE 380 Westminster St., suite 511 Providence (401) 226-0077 ri.score.org
Arthur and Sandra Johnson, owners of 21 Short Stop in Georgia, received assistance from their local Small Business Development Center and SCORE chapter.
Small Business Development Centers University of Rhode Island Lead Office
Carlotti Administration Building 75 Lower College Road, Kingston (401) 874-7232 risbdc.org
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Veterans Business Outreach Center Veteran entrepreneurs or small business owners can receive business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals to other SBA Resource Partners at a Veterans Business Outreach Center, sba.gov/vboc . This is also the place to receive procurement guidance, which can help your business better compete for government contracts. Center for Women & Enterprise 132 George M. Cohan Blvd. Providence (401) 427-6536 cweonline.org/vboc
O'Connor Belting, a Delaware family-owned business, expanded with the help of an SBA-guaranteed 7(a) loan.
Women’s Business Center Center for Women & Enterprise 132 George M. Cohan Blvd. Providence
(401) 277-0800 cweonline.org
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Your Advocates The SBA offices of advocacy and ombudsman are independent voices for small business within the federal government.
To report how a proposed federal regulation could unfairly affect you, contact advocacy.sba.gov . To submit a comment about how your business has been hurt by an existing regulation, visit sba.gov/ombudsman/ comments .
Advocacy When you need a voice within the federal government for your interests as a small business owner, SBA advocates are here to assist. They analyze the effects of proposed regulations and consider alternatives that minimize the economic burden on small businesses, governmental jurisdictions, and nonprofits. The office, advocacy.sba.gov , helps with these small business issues: » if your business could be negatively affected by regulations proposed by the government » when you need economic and small business statistics The SBA Office of Advocacy also independently represents small business and advances its concerns before Congress, the White House, and federal agencies.
Ombudsman Entrepreneurs who have an issue with an existing federal regulation or policy receive assistance from the SBA national ombudsman. The ombudsman’s office helps you: » resolve regulatory disputes with federal agencies » reduce unfair penalties and fines » seek remedies when rules are inconsistently applied » recover payment for services done by government contractors Make your voice heard by participating in a Regional Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Roundtable or a public hearing hosted by the SBA national ombudsman. These events are posted periodically on the ombudsman website, sba.gov/ombudsman .
To submit a comment or complaint through the online form, visit sba.gov/ ombudsman/comments . Your concerns will be directed to the appropriate federal agency for review. The SBA will collaborate with you and the agency to help resolve the issue.
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
10 Tips to Help You Build and Grow a Stand-Out Small Business Brand Build a better business with these time-tested tips.
Elliot Henry, who received SBA- backed 7(a) and 504 loans, runs UnlimitedWater Processing in St. Louis, MO.
The United States loves small businesses. That’s according to a survey by the Pew Foundation reported by Small Business Trends, smallbiztrends.com , which found that 71% of Americans view small business more favorably than any other institutions, including religious organizations. Why is this? Well, small businesses are seen as a positive influence. But it’s more than that. Small businesses are in a unique position to create valuable customer experiences. Their products and services are often
niche, the target customer is very defined. Business operations are agile and unconstrained by corporate rules and processes. Small businesses are also trusted for their integrity, community engagement, and customer service. When was the last time you called a small business and got put through to an automated call center? These things come together to create a hugely competitive value proposition, the linchpin of your brand. But what can you do to leverage these experiences and grow the appeal of your brand without breaking the bank?
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1 What is Your Brand? It’s important to understand that your brand is much more than your logo, merchandising or products. It is all the experiences customers have with your business, including the visual elements of your business. It also includes what you do, how you do it, customer interactions, and your marketing. All of these elements help establish the trust and credibility of your business. 2 Stand Out If your brand is going to be strong, you need to be able to pinpoint what makes you different from competitors. A SCORE mentor, sba.gov/score , can help you use competitive differentiators to build your business brand. Don’t forget to weave your differentiators into your company’s messaging and marketing. 3 Have Great Products and Services Word of mouth is often a small business’s greatest lead generator, so having great products and services that people talk about is a critical part of your brand. Even the most outgoing and charming small business owner is not going to succeed in bringing customers back unless the product or service they provide delivers and exceeds expectations. Don’t lose sight of your product, keep refining it, testing new offerings, and making sure you always put product first. 4 Make Sure Your Customers Know the Face Behind the Product One of the biggest reasons that small businesses fail is because of the persistent absence of the business owner. You only need to look at a few episodes of business makeover TV shows to witness what can go wrong when a business is left to run itself. Without an actively engaged owner, employees lose motivation and structure, which can quickly lead to sloppy service, a poor product, and customer churn. Yes, your business needs to be able to function without your constant presence, but it’s important to strike a balance. Find ways to make sure your customers know you and connect with the face behind the business. Businesses thrive when the energy of the owner is present. 5 Get Your Name and Logo Right It’s important to get this right the first time because changing your name and logo later can be costly. Your logo and name should be easily recognizable and reflect the nature and tone of your business as well as appeal to your target market. I’m a dog owner, and two of my absolute favorite small businesses cater to pet owners: my local provider of dog walking services and a healthful pet food store. When I see their logos, it makes me feel good; I feel an affinity with them. That’s what you need to shoot for.
6 Have a Distinct Voice
A great way to ensure your distinct brand message is delivered consistently across your business is to focus on how you and your employees interact and
communicate with customers in person, on the phone, and on social media. Not sure what your “voice” should be? Look to other brands. What do they do that you’d like to emulate? How do they greet and interact with you? What is it they do that makes you feel good about doing business with them? 7 Build Community Around What you Do A successful brand is one trusted and respected by customers. Building a strong community online and off can help you achieve this. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do this. In fact, many successful brands concentrate almost exclusively in online and offline community building. Offline participation in community activities, such as local events, fundraisers, and charities, as well as hosting your own events, such as workshops or loyal customer events, can all help you build community and extend the trust your brand has earned. 8 Be an Advocate for Your Business— Not Just a Salesman You don't have to be the greatest salesman to succeed in business. Selling takes many forms, and being a brand advocate gels them. For example, many small business owners strive to be the number one salesman, the number one cheerleader, and the number one fan of their own business. If you are passionate about your business, be an advocate for it. Invite people in! 9 Be Reliable Letting your customers down by failing to live up to your own promises and brand standards can be particularly harmful for small businesses that depend heavily on referrals. The foundation of brand loyalty lies in great service; a happy customer is a loyal customer. Make sure you aren’t making promises that you can’t keep, whether you run a pizza business and pledge to deliver within 30 minutes, or you’re a painting contractor who promises to start a job on a Monday at 9 a.m. sharp. Stand by your promises. 10 Have a Value Proposition Value, not to be mistaken with price, can help define your brand and differentiate you from the competition. This goes back to my second point about standing out. What niche do you serve? What do you do well in that niche that makes you different from everyone else? What are the emotional benefits of what you do? The answers to these questions will help define what your value is to your customers. It could be your great customer service, product quality, innovation, or a combination of these.
written by Caron Beesley , contributor
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
HOW THE SBA HELPED ME SUCCEED It takes years for whiskey to reach its peak, making it difficult to maintain the revenue to sustain a small business while also ensuring quality. To get Sons of Liberty Spirits Co. over this revenue shortfall, Mike Reppucci turned to the SBA. He qualified for three SBA-backed loans, giving him time to properly age his product and get it on shelves. The SBA guarantees loans made by lending institutions to small businesses that are creditworthy, but not able to find conventional financing elsewhere. Mike says his SBA-backed financing helped Sons of Liberty achieve international recognition. “It really allowed us to take our product to a whole new level,” he says.
How to Start a Business in Rhode Island
Thinking of starting a business? Here are the nuts & bolts. The Startup Logistics Even if you’re running a home-based business, you will have to comply with many local, state, and federal regulations. Do not ignore regulatory details. You may avoid some red tape in the beginning, but your lack of compliance could become an obstacle as your business grows. Taking the time to research regulations is as important as knowing your market. Being out of compliance could leave you unprotected legally, lead to expensive penalties, and jeopardize your business. » RI Business Portal ri.gov/SOS/businessassistant/wizard/business_categories Market Research
Business License & Zoning Licenses are typically administered by a variety of state and local departments. It is important to consider zoning regulations when choosing a site for your business. Contact the local business license office where you plan to locate your business. You may not be permitted to conduct business out of your home or engage in industrial activity in a retail district. » Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation 1511 Pontiac Ave., Cranston (401) 462-9500 dbr.ri.gov Name Registration Register your business name with the county clerk where your business is located. If you’re a corporation, also register with the state. » RI Secretary of State Business Services 148 W. River St., Providence (401) 222-3040 sos.ri.gov/divisions/business-portal
View consumer and business data for your area using the Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition, https://cbb.census. gov/sbe . Filter your search by business type and location to view data on your potential customers, including consumer spending, and a summary of existing businesses, available as a map and a report.
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
An O’Fallon Casting Inc. employee at work in O’Fallon, MO. General Manager Vince Gimeno grew his business thanks to the Small Business Innovation Research Program.
Taxes As a business owner, you should know your federal tax
Employment Eligibility Verification The Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires employers to verify employment eligibility of new employees. The law obligates an employer to process Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service offers information and assistance through uscis.gov/i- 9-central . For forms, see uscis.gov/forms . For the employer hotline call (888) 464-4218 or email Iemail@example.com. E-Verify is the quickest way for employers to determine the employment eligibility of new hires by verifying the Social Security number and employment eligibility information reported on Form I-9. Visit e-verify.gov , call (888) 464-4218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Health & Safety All businesses with employees are required to comply with state and federal regulations regarding the protection of employees, visit employer.gov and dol.gov . The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides information on the specific health and safety standards used by the U.S. Department of Labor. Call (800) 321-6742 or visit osha.gov . » RI Department of Health 3 Capitol Hill, Providence
responsibilities and make business decisions to comply with certain tax requirements. The IRS Small Business and Self- Employed Tax Center, irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses- self-employed , includes information on paying and filing income tax and finding an Employer ID Number. As the IRS continues to implement some of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions, your tax obligations may change. For the latest tax reform updates that affect your bottom line, visit irs.gov/tax-reform . » IRS Tax Assistance Center 380 Westminster St., Providence (401) 525-4282 » State Taxes RI Division of Taxation 1 Capitol Hill, Providence (401) 574-8484 tax.ri.gov Social Security If you have any employees, including officers of a corporation but not the sole proprietor or partners, you must make periodic payments, and/or file quarterly reports about payroll taxes and other mandatory deductions. You can contact the IRS or the Social Security Administration for information, assistance, and forms at (800) 772-1213 or visit socialsecurity.gov/employer . You can file W-2s online or verify job seekers through the Social Security Number Verification Service.
(401) 222-5960 health.ri.gov Employee Insurance
Check your state laws to see if you are required to provide unemployment or workers’ compensation insurance for your employees. For health insurance options, call the Small Business
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Health Options Program at (800) 706-7893 or visit healthcare. gov/small-businesses/employers . Association Health Plans allow small businesses, including self-employed workers, to band together by geography or industry to obtain healthcare coverage as if they were a single large employer. For information, visit dol.gov/general/topic/ association-health-plans . » Office of Employee Benefits 1 Capitol Hill, third floor, Providence (401) 222-3160 wwvw.employeebenefits.ri.gov Environmental Regulations State assistance is available for small businesses that must comply with environmental regulations under the Clean Air Act. State Small Business Environmental Assistance programs provide free and confidential assistance to help small business owners understand and comply with environmental regulations and permitting requirements. These state programs can help businesses reduce emissions at the source, often reducing regulatory burden and saving you money. To learn more about these free services visit nationalsbeap.org/states/list . » Environmental Protection Agency Small Business Division epa.gov/resources-small-businesses » RI Office of Customer & Technical Assistance 235 Promenade St., Providence (401) 222-6822 Accessibility & ADA Compliance For assistance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, call the ADA center at (800) 949-4232 or the Department of Justice at (800) 514-0301. Direct questions about accessible design and the ADA standards to the U.S. Access Board at (800) 872-2253, TTY (800) 993-2822, email@example.com or visit access-board.gov . Child Support Employers are essential to the success of the child support program and collect 75% of support nationwide through payroll deductions. You’re required to report all new and rehired employees to the State Directory of New Hires. If you have employees in two or more states, you may register with the Department of Health and Human Services to report all your employees to one state. Find electronic income withholding orders and the Child Support Portal, which can be used to report information to nearly all child support agencies, at acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/employers . Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. » RI Office of Child Support Services 77 Dorrance St., Providence
For inventor entrepreneur resources visit uspto.gov/inventors . There are three types of patents: • Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement. • Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for a manufactured article. • Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one provider from others. Trademarks and service marks can be registered at both the state and federal level. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office only registers federal trademarks and service marks, which may conflict with and supersede state trademarks. Visit uspto.gov/trademarks . » State Trademark Registration Secretary of State Business Services 148 W. River St., Providence (401) 222-3040 email@example.com sos.ri.gov Copyrights protect original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic, and certain other intellectual works, such as computer software. Copyrights do not protect facts, ideas, and systems, although they may protect the way they are expressed. For general information on copyrights, contact: » U.S. Copyright Office U.S. Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building 101 Independence Ave. SE Washington, DC (202) 707-3000 or toll free (877) 476-0778 copyright.gov Chambers of Commerce Block Island
1 Water St., New Shoreham blockislandchamber.com Central Rhode Island 3288 Post Road, Warwick centralrichamber.com Charlestown 4945 Old Post Road charlestownrichamber.com East Bay 16 Cutler St., Warren eastbaychamberri.org East Greenwich 580 Main St. eastgreenwichchamber.com
(401) 458-4400 www.cse.ri.gov Intellectual Property
Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are types of intellectual property that serve to protect creations and innovations. For information and resources about U.S. patents and federally registered trademarks consult uspto.gov , call (800) 786-9199 or visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.
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East Providence 1011 Waterman Ave. eastprovidenceareachamber.com Greater Cranston 200 Midway Road, suite 165, Cranston greatercranstonchamberofcommerce.org Greater Newport 513 Broadway, suite 218, Newport newportchamber.com Greater Providence 30 Exchange Terrace, Providence providencechamber.com Jamestown 53 Narragansett Ave. jamestownrichamber.com
Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber 1955 Westminster St., second floor, Providence rihispanicchamber.org South Kingstown 230 Old Tower Hill Road, Wakefield srichamber.com Economic Development Polaris MEP 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence (401) 270-8896 polarismep.org Rhode Island Commerce Corp. 315 Iron Horse Way, suite 101, Providence (401) 278-9100 commerceri.com Exporting Assistance Providence U.S. Export Assistance Center 315 Iron Horse Way, suite 101 (401) 528-5104 export.gov/rhodeisland State Trade Expansion Program John H. Chafee Center for International Business Bryant University 1150 Douglas Pike, Smithfield (401) 232-6406 firstname.lastname@example.org
Narragansett 36 Ocean Road narragansettcoc.com North Kingstown 8045 Post Road
northkingstown.com Northern Rhode Island 6 Blackstone Valley Place, suite 402, Lincoln nrichamber.com Ocean Community 1 Chamber Way, Westerly oceanchamber.org
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Vocademy in Riverside, vocademy.com , trains underserved populations for vocational careers in manufacturing. Indiana Ruckus Makerspace in Indianapolis, ruckusindy.com , provides coaching and job placement complementing day-to-day job skills training. Massachusetts The Clubhouse-to-Career Pathways to Success program in Roxbury, flagshipclubhouse.org/c2c , places its participants in meaningful employment matching their skill sets. Missouri Rightfully Sewn in Kansas City, rightfullysewn.org , prepares at-risk women and underserved populations for entry level sewing positions, increasing their tailoring and production management skills. New Hampshire Monadnock Art x Tech Makerspace in Peterborough fills the need for qualified welders in construction and industry, visit monadnockartxtech.org . New Jersey New Jersey Institute of Technology Makerspace in Newark connects participants with entry level advanced manufacturing jobs, in addition to an apprenticeship program, visit njitmakerspace.com . New York The Foundry in Buffalo, thefoundrybuffalo.org , operates four makerspaces, metal and wood shops and tech and textile labs, in support of education and entrepreneurship. North Carolina Forge Greensboro connects untapped talent to employment opportunities through pre-apprenticeship programs and accreditation, visit forgegreensboro.org . Oklahoma Fab Lab Tulsa prepares participants with high-value skills to secure careers as operators and technicians in digital fabrication, visit fablabtulsa.org . Pennsylvania NextFab’s Furnishing a Future program in Philadelphia places trained carpenters, visit nextfab.com .
Workshops for Warriors welding student Nikolas Williams trains in the San Diego makerspace, which receives SBA funding for its welding and machining programs. Workshops for Warriors places program graduates into advanced manufacturing careers nationwide.
Workforce Recruitment Find qualified workers at these makerspace initiatives fund d by the SBA. If you are a small business employing skilled laborers, access a new talent pool for recruitment at your local makerspace. How it benefits you These community operated workspaces provide training and resources to better prepare workers for the jobmarket, offering job-specific and soft skills training. Connect with one of these organizations to see if thesemakerspace participants could work for your small business. California Workshops for Warriors, wfw.org , trains, certifies to national standards, and places veterans into advanced manufacturing careers nationwide.
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
How Do I Find an EIN?
Not sure whether you need an EIN? Check out this guide from the IRS. Answering yes to any of the questions in the list means you need one for your business.
Do you have employees? ❒ YES ❒ NO
How to apply for an EIN The easiest way to apply for your EIN is online via the IRS EIN Assistant. As soon as your application is complete and validated, you’ll be issued an EIN. There is no charge for this service (beware of internet scams that will try to sell you their EIN application services). You can also apply by mail or fax using Form SS-4, available at irs.gov/formss4 .
Do you operate your business as a corporation or a partnership? ❒ YES ❒ NO
Do you file any of these tax returns: employment, excise, or alcohol, tobacco
and firearms? ❒ YES ❒ NO
Changing your business structure? Get a new EIN
No doubt, there are probably quite a few regulatory and administrative items on your new business checklist, like getting a permit and registering your business name. One of the key requirements for most new businesses (or businesses that are restructuring) is obtaining an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, from the IRS. Here’s what you need to know about EINs and how to go about getting one for your business. What is an EIN? An EIN is a unique nine-digit number that identifies your business for tax purposes. Think of it as the business equivalent of a social security number (although it shouldn’t be used in place of it). As a business owner, you’ll need an EIN to open a business bank account, apply for business licenses, and file your tax returns. It’s a good idea to apply for one as soon as you start planning your business. This will ensure there are no delays in getting the appropriate licenses or financing that you need to operate. Who needs an EIN? An EIN is needed by any business that retains employees. However, non employers are also required to obtain one if they operate as a corporation or partnership. Answering yes to any of the questions in the list on the right means you need one for your business.
Do you withhold taxes on income, other than wages, paid to a non-resident alien? ❒ YES ❒ NO
As your business grows and matures, you may choose to change its legal or ownership structure. For example, a sole proprietor may decide to incorporate, or a partnership may be taken over by one of the owners to then operate as a sole proprietorship. In instances such as these, your business will need a new EIN. There are other scenarios that require a new EIN, such as bankruptcy, a change in a corporation’s name or location, or reorganization of a corporation. Check out "Do You Need a New EIN" on irs.gov. Using your EIN to make tax deposits If you have employees, you will have been automatically enrolled in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (eftps.gov) when you applied for your EIN. This allows you to make tax deposits, including federal employment and corporate taxes, online or by phone. Lost your EIN? If you lost or misplaced your EIN, you can retrieve it in the following ways: • Reference the original notice issued by the IRS when you received your EIN, or call the IRS Business & Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933. • If you used it to open a bank account or get a license, contact these organizations.
Do you have a Keogh plan? ❒ YES ❒ NO
Are you involved with any of the following types of organizations? • Trusts, except certain grantor-owned revocable trusts, IRAs, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Returns • Estates • Real estate mortgage investment conduits
• Nonprofit organizations • Farmers’ cooperatives • Plan administrators ❒ YES ❒ NO
They should be able to retrieve your number. • Find an old tax return. Your EIN should be on it. written by Caron Beesley , contributor
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
HOW THE SBA HELPED ME SUCCEED U.S. Navy veteran Roberto Ortiz puts his 40 years of aviation management experience to use as a small business owner in Chesapeake, VA. Bert expanded AVMAC Inc. into the government sector fulfilling aviation and maritime logistical services with the help of his local SBA Veterans Business Outreach Center. VBOCs are the first stop for military community entrepreneurs looking to start, grow, or expand a small business. The VBOC located at Old Dominion University helped Bert obtain government contracting business certifications. With support from his local VBOC, Bert has strategically positioned AVMAC in the federal marketplace to better compete for large-scale government contracts. From AVMAC’s first contract in 2010, this veteran-led company has nearly doubled in revenue and grown to over 400 employees.
AVMAC President/CEO Bert Ortiz, left, and fellow U.S. Navy veteran and electrician Ken Morey manufacturing a power panel bracket.
Opportunities for Veterans
Military community members become more successful entrepreneurs with the help of the SBA.
Who’s eligible? Service members transitioning out of active duty and military spouses. Boots to Business: Reboot, for veterans, National Guard or Reserve members and military spouses, teaches this entrepreneurship curriculum off base in communities. Register for either B2B program at https://sbavets.force.com . For women veterans Receive entrepreneurial training geared toward women veterans, service
members, and spouses through these SBA- funded programs: » Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship in Syracuse, New York
Entrepreneurship training In Boots to Business, explore business ownership and other self-employment opportunities while learning key business concepts. Walk away with an overview of entrepreneurship and applicable business ownership fundamentals, including how to access startup capital using SBA resources. Boots to Business is conducted on all military installations as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program.
» LiftFund in San Antonio, Texas For service-disabled veterans Learn how to start and grow a small
business using these SBA-funded programs: » Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities in Syracuse, New York
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
» Veterans Entrepreneurship Program at the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma » Veteran Entrepreneurship Jumpstart at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania » Dog Tag Inc., affiliated with Georgetown University in Washington, DC
Financing Employee called to active duty?
You can receive funds that enable your business to meet ordinary and necessary operating expenses when an essential employee is called up to active duty in the military reserve. Ask your local SBA specialist or lender about the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Government contracting Veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses that want to better compete in the public market receive training from the Veteran Institute for Procurement, nationalvip.org . VIP Start Enter the federal market and become ready for procurement. VIP Grow Strategize to expand and operate within the federal marketplace. VIP International Enter or expand your federal and commercial contracting opportunities overseas. Get certified Learn about the service-disabled veteran- owned small business certification program on page 49. Need assistance? Veteran and military entrepreneurs receive business training, counseling, and referrals to other SBA Resource Partners at a Veterans Business Outreach Center, sba.gov/vboc . For veterans business information visit sba.gov/veterans .
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Regional Innovation Clusters Create jobs and grow the economy through an SBA Regional Innovation Cluster. Who should join Small businesses driving innovation in one of these tech industries: • advanced composites • agTech • bioscience • food processing • data sciences
Online Learning Find free short courses and learning tools to start and grow your small business at sba.gov/learning . The SBA’s free Online Learning Center is a great resource for every entrepreneur, especially rural business owners looking for easy access to vital business training. Courses include: • writing your business plan • understanding your customer • buying a business • marketing to win customers
• medical sciences • power and energy • unmanned aerial systems • water tech • wood products
• legal requirements • financing options • disaster recovery
How it works Each industry cluster is based in a geographic region. Your small business must be located in or near that region in order to join the cluster. For example, the AgLaunch Initiative cluster, which focuses on agricultural technology, is located in the Tennessee area. A small agTech business in or near Tennessee will connect with other agTech suppliers, service providers, and related institutions through that innovation cluster. How it benefits you Network with other industry innovators and connect with resources that will help your small business find funding. You’ll also receive guidance on how to better compete for government contracts and other opportunities for growth and expansion. Receive free technical and legal assistance to develop your tech and get it to market for government and industry buyers. Get involved Find an SBA Regional Innovation Cluster near you by visiting sba.gov/localassistance . Select the regional innovation clusters on the drop-down menu.
Native American Workshops Tribal enterprises and business organizations can receive entrepreneurial training at an SBA Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshop. These workshops cover business concepts important for starting, growing, or expanding a small business. RedWind instructors, SBA contractors, identify and help participants avoid common pitfalls. Learn how to prepare a business plan, gain access to capital, and basic book keeping. Request a workshop in your area by visiting nativesmallbusiness.org .
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Write your Business Plan
Your business plan is the foundation of your business. Learn how to write a business plan with the help of an SBA Resource Partner. TRADITIONAL BUSINESS PLAN FORMAT
When you write your business plan, you don’t have to stick to the exact business plan template. Instead, use the sections that make the most sense for your business and your needs. Executive Summary Briefly summarize your company and why it will be successful. Include your mission statement, your product or service, and basic information about your company’s leadership team, employees, and location. You should also include financial information and high-level growth plans if you plan to ask for financing. Company Description Go into detail about the problems your business solves. Be specific as to audience and location. List out the consumers, organizations, or businesses your company plans to serve. Explain the competitive advantages you have that will make your business successful. Are there experts on your team? Have you found the perfect location? Your company description is the place to boast about your strengths. Market Analysis Demonstrate a solid understanding of your industry outlook and tar- get market. This is where it pays to partner with an experienced busi- ness counselor fromyour local Small Business Development Center, SCORE, Women's Business Center, or Veterans Business Outreach Center—all these SBA Resource Partners provide free or low-cost business assistance. Competitive research will showwhat other busi- nesses are doing and their strengths. In your market research, look for trends and themes. What do successful competitors do? Why does it work? Can you do it better? Now's the time to answer these questions. Organization and Management
Business plans help you run your business. A good business plan guides you throughmanaging your business. You’ll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors want to see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you—or investing in your company—is a smart investment. Brain storm with a business counselor (visit one of our SBA Resource Partners detailed on page 10) and write a traditional business plan , which uses a standard structure and detailed sections. Once you've got it all down, you can then condense it to a lean startup business plan, which typically contains key points on only one page.
Explain how your com- pany will be structured and who will run it. Describe the legal structure of your busi- ness. Statewhether you have or intend to incor- porate your business as a C or an S corporation, forma general or limited partnership, or if you're a sole proprietor or limited liability company.
Want to see an example of a business plan? View examples of business plans at sba.gov/business-guide/plan/ write-your-business- plan-template
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
LEAN STARTUP PLAN FORMAT Write a lean startup plan if requested from an investor, or if your business is relatively simple or you plan to regularly change and refine as you go. Lean startup plans use more visual organization tools and only a handful of elements to describe your company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. They’re useful for visualiz- ing your company's fundamental facts. Your business counselor can help you edit down into the Business Model Canvas, used here—the most well known style, or another lean startup template. Key Partnerships Note the other businesses you’ll work with--suppliers, manufactur- ers, subcontractors, and similar strategic partners. Key Activities List the ways your business will gain a competitive advantage. Will you sell direct to consumers or use technology to tap into the sharing economy? Key Resources List resources you’ll leverage to create value for your customer. Your most important assets include staff, capital, or intellectual property. Leverage business resources that might be available to women, veterans, Native Americans, and HUBZone–certified businesses. Value Proposition Make a clear and compelling statement about the unique value your company brings to the market. Customer Relationships Describe how customers will interact with your business. Think through the customer experience from start to finish. Is it auto- mated or personal? In person or online? Customer Segments Name your target market. Your business won’t be for everybody; it’s important to have a clear sense of who you serve. Channels List the most important ways you’ll talk to your customers. Cost Structure Will your company focus on reducing cost or maximizing value? Define your strategy, then list the most significant costs you’ll face. Revenue Streams Explain how your company makes money: direct sales, member- ships fees, selling advertising space? If your company has multiple revenue streams, list them all.
Use an organizational chart to show the hierarchy. Explain how each person’s experience will contribute to the success of your venture. Consider including CVs of key members. Service or Product Line Describe what you sell or what service you offer. Explain how it ben- efits your customers and the product lifecycle. Share your plans for intellectual property, like copyright or patent filings. If you're doing research and development for your service or product, explain it. Marketing and Sales Your marketing strategy should evolve and change to fit your needs in each context. Describe how you'll attract and retain customers. Show how a sale will actually happen. You'll refer to this section later when you make financial projections, so be thorough. Funding Request If you're asking for funding, outline your funding requirements. Specify whether you want debt or equity and the terms you'd like. Your goal is to clearly explain how much funding you’ll need over the next five years and how the investment will be used. Specify if you need funds to buy equipment or materials, pay salaries, or cover specific bills until revenue increases. Explain how ❒ Executive summary ❒ Company description ❒Market analysis ❒ Organization and management ❒ Service or product line ❒Marketing and sales ❒ Funding request ❒ Financial projections ❒ Appendix TRADITIONAL BUSINESS PLAN CHECKLIST
you'll pay off the debt. Financial Projections
Supplement your funding request with a prospective financial outlook for the next five years. Show how your business will be a financial success. If your business is already established, include income state- ments, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the last three to five years. List collateral you could put against a loan. Include forecasted income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and capital expenditure budgets. For the first year, be even more specific and use quarterly—or even monthly —projections. Make sure to clearly explain your projections and match them to your funding requests. Use visual organization tools--graphs and charts—to tell your business's financial story. Appendix Here you'll attach supporting documents or other requested materials. Common items to include are credit histories, CVs, product pictures, letters of reference, licenses, permits, patents, legal documents, and other contracts.
LEAN STARTUP PLAN CHECKLIST
❒ Key partnerships ❒ Key activities ❒ Key resources ❒ Value proposition ❒ Customer relationships
❒ Customer segments ❒ Channels ❒ Cost structure ❒ Revenue streams
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