El Paso Edition 2020—U.S. Small Business Administration…

Small Business resource guide EL PASO AREA EDITION 2020





El Paso Area Edition 2020

Local Business Assistance

Funding Programs

8 Local Success Story

26 National Success Story Jennifer and Jeff Herbert’s meadery has expanded into a multimillion dollar enterprise thanks to SBA assistance. 27 SBA Lenders 33 Need Financing? 34 Go Global with International Trade 36 R&D Opportunities for High Growth Startups 38 National Success Story

Derek DeGeest wanted to handle his business’s growth with care, so he turned to the SBA for business guidance and financing assistance.

11 Local SBA

Resource Partners

13 Your Advocates 14 How to Start a Business 18 Entrepreneurial Resources 19 10 Steps to Start Your Business 20 Opportunities for Veterans 22 Write Your Business Plan

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 Omar Veliz, courtesy of Veliz Construction; Jennifer and Jeff Herbert, courtesy of Superstition Meadery; Stephanie and Gabrie Vitori, courtesy of the SBA; Roberto Ortiz, courtesy of AVMAC Inc.



I t is my honor to serve as Washington, and in communities across America – that is laser-focused on helping entrepreneurs recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA is here to support our nation’s small businesses by providing timely economic relief and access to invaluable resources for planning, launching, and expanding small businesses. America’s entrepreneurs are innovators and risk- takers. They are the catalyst for employment Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, leading a team of dedicated professionals – in opportunities within their communities. During these unprecedented times, I am confident the small business sector will once again propel our economy to prosperity, just as it has over the last three years. As a member of the President’s cabinet, I am honored to be the voice for America’s 30 million small businesses, advocating on behalf of every entrepreneur. Whether it’s seeking assistance with economic disaster recovery, access to capital, government contracting opportunities, or business mentoring, 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 underserved markets, 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




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Copyright: New South Media, Inc. Reproduction in part or whole is strictly prohib- ited without the express written permission of the publisher. © 2020 NEW SOUTH MEDIA, INC., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Marketing & Customer Service directs the publication of the Small Business Resource Guide under SBA Contract #SBAHQ-17-C-0018. SBA publication winter 2020 national edition #mcs-0134

WRITER/EDITOR Becky Bosshart (202) 205-6677 rebecca.bosshart@sba.gov DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Paula Panissidi Tavares paula.tavares@sba.gov

The SBA’s participation in this publication is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of the contractor or any advertiser or other participant appearing here. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondis- criminatory basis. Directory listings do not constitute or imply an endorsement by the SBA of any opinions, products, or services of any private individual or entity.

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While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information con- tained here is accurate as of the date of publication, the information is subject to change without notice. The contractor that publishes this guide, the federal govern- ment, or agents thereof shall not be held liable for any damages arising from the use of or reliance on the information contained in this publication.


SBA El Paso District Office Serving the West Texas counties of Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, and Terrell 211 N. Florence St., second floor, suite 201 El Paso, TX 79901 (915) 834-4600 sba.gov/tx/el-paso @SBA_ElPaso

District Director Letter W elcome to the 2020 edition of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s El Paso Small Business Resource Guide. The El Paso economy is booming thanks to continued private sector investment and a large government sector presence. Fort Bliss is an important generator of local economic activity. The Borderplex region—El Paso, Texas, Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico—is the fourth-largest manufacturing center on the continent. Your small business dream is vital to the continued prosperity of the El Paso area. 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. To get started, visit an SBA office or one of our SBA Resource Partners. Starting on page 9 you will find listings for free or low-cost business advisers, which includes SCORE El Paso mentors, the El Paso Community College Small Business Development Center, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Border Center, and the Veterans Business Outreach Center. Interested in small business financing? Find out if SBA-backed financing is right for you by consulting with an SBA specialist at one of our partner lending institutions, listed in the green Funding Programs section. This guide also details 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. Stay up to date on SBA events near you and get valuable local business information by following us @SBA_ElPaso. Register for email updates at sba.gov/updates . As our community continues its recovery from the health, social, emotional and economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, we hope you know you can continue to count on SBA for small business assistance. We're in this together.

District Director Dante Acosta (915) 834-4600 x620 dante.acosta@sba.gov Deputy District Director Jose L. Campos (915) 834-4600 x632 jose.campos@sba.gov Lead Lender Relations Specialist Rita E. Madrid (915) 834-4600 x626 rita.madrid@sba.gov Business Opportunity Specialist Suzanne Aguirre (915) 834-4600 x634 suzanne.aguirre@sba.gov Economic Development Specialist Lee Anne Vega (915) 834-4600 x633 lee.vega@sba.gov Administrative Officer Aimee Rodriguez (915) 834-4600 x621 aimee.rodriguez@sba.gov Procurement Center Representative


Colleen Burns (817) 320-4737 colleen.burns@sba.gov

Dante Acosta District Director



Omar Veliz Owner, Veliz Construction El Paso, TX How I Did It




ith guidance from the SBA, Omar Veliz positioned his business to better compete for

government contracts. Omar worked as an operations manager for 10 years, overseeing multiple federal, state, and city construction/renovation projects before starting his own company. Omar opened Veliz Construction with his wife, Diana, in 2009. Omar and Diana, the CFO, knew they wanted their small business to capitalize on local SBA assistance so their team and community could benefit. Using SBA contracting assistance programs and SBA surety bonding, Veliz Construction has risen to prominence in the industry, becoming an American Hospital Association Certified Healthcare Constructor. Challenge One of Omar and Diana’s biggest obstacles was figuring out the government contracting process. Bidding on and winning these projects is a daunting process. Veliz Construction needed expert business counselors who could guide it through the process and provide best practices at no additional cost.

Solution The SBA El Paso District Office

directed Omar to the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program, which provides free business development education to better compete in the public sector. Omar had the opportunity to meet with government contracting specialists so he could understand what agencies are looking for and how to best bid for those contracts. Omar learned that the key to success is diversifying and not relying on any one type of market sector. For example, one-third of his business comes from state contracts, one-third from federal contracts, and the final third from the private sector. Diana received business training and networking opportunities in the SBA Emerging Leaders program. She committed to the seven-month program because she wanted to develop a growth plan providing direction and planning tools for manpower, training, and marketing. Veliz Construction continues to use this three-year growth

plan. Diana says both programs are helpful, but the business owner must do the work in order for the knowledge to really pay off. Their small business also successfully completed million-dollar contracts with the help of SBA-backed surety bonding. Surety bond guarantees help small businesses get the bonding support they need to more successfully compete for construction contracts. Benefit Veliz Construction continues to realize overall steady sales growth. Omar has

added employees and a new office in Austin. With the foundation of business knowledge provided by the 8(a) and Emerging Leaders programs, the business owners can focus on improving company culture, including improving employee access to continuing education. Omar and Diana are able to invest in community organizations they care about. Veliz Construction partnered with national nonprofit Home for Our Troops to oversee construction of Energy Star homes for two severely injured veterans and their families.



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.


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 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 .


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.



SBA’s Resource Partners are independent organizations funded through SBA cooperative agreements or grants. Our Local SBA Resource Partners Small Business Development Centers El Paso Community College SBDC Serving El Paso and Hudspeth counties 9050 Viscount Blvd., suite B520 (915) 831-7743 Sul Ross State University SBDC

Serving Brewster, Culberson, Jeff Davis, Loving, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, and Terrell counties 500 W. Avenue H, Alpine (432) 837-8694 SCORE El Paso Chapter 211 N. Florence, suite 201 (915) 538-2489

Arthur and Sandra Johnson, owners of 21 Short Stop in Georgia, received assistance from their local Small Business Development Center and SCORE chapter.



UTRGV 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. CESS Building, suite 1200 1407 E. Freddy Gonzalez Drive Edinburg (956) 665-8931

O'Connor Belting, a Delaware family-owned business, expanded with the help of an SBA-guaranteed 7(a) loan.

Women’s Business Border Center Serving the West Texas counties of Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, and Presidio 2401 E. Missouri Ave. El Paso (915) 566-4066



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.



Adriana Medina, owner of Fuerte Fitness, in Seattle, WA, received counseling from a SCORE mentor and a Women's Business Center adviser.

Thinking of starting a business? Here are the nuts & bolts. How to Start a Business in the El Paso Area

The Startup Logistics Even if you’re runningahome-basedbusiness, youwill have tocomply withmany local, state, and federal regulations. Donot ignore regulatory details. Youmayavoidsome red tape in thebeginning, but your lackof compliance couldbecomeanobstacleas your business grows. Taking the time to research regulations is as important as knowingyourmarket. Beingout of compliance could leaveyouunprotected legally, lead to expensivepenalties, and jeopardizeyour business. Market Research 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.

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. » City of El Paso One Stop Shop 811 Texas Ave. (915) 212-0104 elpasotexas.gov Name Registration

Register your business name with the county clerk where your business is located. If you’re a corporation, also register with



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.

» Unemployment tax information for employers: Texas Work Force Commission 1359 Lomaland Drive, suite 301 El Paso (915) 600-2970 or (512) 463-2699 twc.state.tx.us Social Security

the state. The secretary of state supports Texas businesses by registering and authenticating business entities and trademarks, enabling secured creditors to protect their financial interests. » El Paso County Clerk 500 E. San Antonio, suite 105

(915) 546-2071 epcounty.com » Texas Secretary of State

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. 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 I-9central@dhs.gov.

(512) 463-5555 sos.state.tx.us

Taxes As a business owner, you should knowyour federal tax responsibilities andmake business decisions to complywith 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 IDNumber. As the IRS continues to implement some of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions, your tax obligations may change. For the latest tax reformupdates that affect your bottom line, visit irs.gov/tax-reform . » Texas State Comptroller Office of Public Accounts 401 E. Franklin Ave., suite 170 El Paso (915) 533-0506 comptroller.texas.gov



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 e-verify@dhs.gov. 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 . » Wage and Hour Division JJ Pickles Federal Building

standards to the U.S. Access Board at (800) 872-2253, TTY (800) 993-2822, ta@access-board.gov or visit access-board.gov . Child Support Employers areessential to the successof the childsupport programand collect 75%of support nationwide throughpayroll deductions. You’re required to report all newand rehiredemployees to theStateDirectory of NewHires. If youhaveemployees in twoormore states, youmay registerwith theDepartment of HealthandHumanServices to report all your employees toone state. Findelectronic incomewithholdingorders and theChildSupport Portal,whichcanbeused to report information tonearlyall childsupport agencies, at acf.hhs.gov/programs/css/ employers . Sendquestions toemployerservices@acf.hhs.gov. » Texas Attorney General (512) 460-600 texasattorneygeneral.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 Texas Regional Office in Dallas, Texas, uspto.gov/texas . 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 James E. Rudder Building 1019 Brazos, Austin (512) 463-5555 sos.state.tx.us/corp/trademark.shtml 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

300 E. Eighth St., suite 865, Austin (512) 916-5638 or (866)487-9243 » Texas OSHA 4849 N. Mesa St., El Paso (915) 534-6251 osha.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 Health Options program at (800) 706-7893 or visit healthcare.gov/ small-businesses/employers . AssociationHealth Plans allowsmall businesses, including self- employedworkers, to band together by geography or industry to obtain healthcare coverage as if theywere a single large employer. For information, visit dol.gov/general/topic/association-health-plans . » Work Force Solutions Borderplex 300 E. Main St., suite 800, El Paso (915) 887-2600 borderplexjobs.com » Texas-Division of Workers Compensation 401 E. Franklin Ave. #330, El Paso (915) 834-7000 tdi.texas.gov/wc Environmental Regulations Stateassistance is available for small businesses thatmust complywith environmental regulationsunder theCleanAir Act. StateSmall Business Environmental Assistanceprogramsprovide freeandconfidential assistance tohelpsmall businessownersunderstandandcomplywith environmental regulations andpermitting requirements. These state programs canhelpbusinesses reduceemissions at the source, often reducing regulatoryburdenandsavingyoumoney. To learnmoreabout these free services visit nationalsbeap.org/states/list . » Environmental Protection Agency Small Business Division epa.gov/resources-small-businesses 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



Economic Development Texas Economic Development (512) 936-0100 gov.texas.gov/business EL PASO COUNTY City of El Paso Economic and International Development Department (915) 212-0094 elpasotexas.gov/economic-development El Paso Central Business Association (915) 282-1184 elpasocba.com Horizon Economic Development Corp. (915) 852-1046 x110 horizonedc.com Veteran Business Association (915) 534-0588 vbawebsite.com PECOS COUNTY Fort Stockton Economic Development Council (800) 336-2166 fortstocktonedc.com PRESIDIO COUNTY Presidio Municipal Development District (432) 229-3517 x3199 presidiotx.us Chambers of Commerce EL PASO COUNTY El Paso (915) 534-0500 elpaso.org El Paso Hispanic Chamber (915) 566-4066 ephcc.org

Kari Weigel provides educational services to rural communities through her Sylvan Learning Center in Fargo, ND, which she expanded with the help of SBA-backed financing.

REEVES COUNTY Pecos area (432) 445-2406 visitpecos.com/pecos-chamber TERRELL COUNTY Sanderson (432) 345-2324 sandersonchamber.com Export

JEFF DAVIS COUNTY Fort Davis (432) 426-3015 fortdavis.com PECOS COUNTY Fort Stockton (432) 336-2264 fortstockton.org

Assistance U.S. Export Assistance Center 1919 Smith St., suite 10087 Houston (202) 412-4657 alale.allal@sba.gov



Learn the skills to grow your small business in this seven-month course.

Accelerate Growth Small business executives looking to grow their business, create jobs, and strengthen their communities will find their next challenge

in the SBA Emerging Leaders program. This seven-month course offers about 100 hours of training and provides the opportunity for high-potential small business owners to work with experienced coaches and mentors while developing connections with peers, local leaders, and the financial community. How it benefits you Since the start of the program in 2008, Emerging Leaders graduates have reported creating over 6,500 jobs, gaining more than $300 million in new financing, and securing over $3.16 billion in government contracts. Participants produce a three-year strategic growth plan that connects them with the necessary tools and resources to reach major performance targets. What you learn The curriculum is research-based and nationally scalable, enabling you to engage in focused development and expansion strategies, including options for accessing new capital and securing government contracts. Who’s eligible Small businesses having annual revenues of at least $250,000, in business for at least three years, and with at least one employee.

HOW THE SBA HELPED ME SUCCEED When April Broderick wanted to expand into government contracting, she turned to the SBA. A&A Fire and Safety Co. in Cabot, AR serves the fire protection and service needs of businesses, schools, and fire departments across Arkansas. She took over from her father, Alan, in 2014, becoming one of the few women executives in her industry. With the help of the SBA Emerging Leaders program, April received business training and networking opportunities to help her better compete in the public marketplace. April committed to the program because she wanted to develop a three- year growth plan with business experts. Since graduating from Emerging Leaders, she has grown her business to six full-time employees, seven part time, with a projected 2019 revenue of $1.7 million.

Get involved To register online, visit sba.gov/ emergingleaders .



4 Pick your business location 5 Choose a business structure much you pay in taxes, and your personal liability. 6 Choose your business name already being used. 7 Register your business Once you’ve picked the perfect business name, it’s time to make it legal and protect your brand. If you’re doing business under a name different than your own, you’ll need to register with the federal government and often your state government. 8 Get federal and state tax IDs You’ll use your Employer Identification Number for important steps to start and grow your business, like opening a bank account and paying taxes. It’s like a social security number for your business. Some, but not all, states require you to get a tax ID as well. 9 Apply for licenses and permits Keep your business running smoothly by staying legally compliant. The licenses and permits you need for your business vary by industry, state, and location. 10 Open a business bank account A small business checking account can help you handle legal, tax, and day-to-day issues. Are you setting up a brick-and mortar business or launching online? The legal structure you choose for your business will affect your business registration requirements, how Pick a name reflecting your brand. Check your secretary of state's website to make sure your business name isn’t

1 Conduct market research This will tell you if there’s an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business. Gather information about potential customers and businesses already operating in your area so you can use that information to find a competitive advantage. 2 Write your business plan This is the roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. You’ll use it to convince people that working with you and/or investing in your company is a smart choice. 3 Fund your business Your business plan will help you figure out how much money you’ll need to startup. Investors or lenders will help you get the amount you need. 10 STEPS to Start Your Business Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions, and completing a series of legal requirements.



Entrepreneurial Resources

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 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 .


SBA Regional Innovation Clusters

Autonomous & Unmanned Systems Cluster – Emerging Tech Ventures The Ozarks Cluster – Startup Junkie (Industry focus: Food processing, supply chain, & logistics) The Water Council Cluster Marine IndustryScience& TechnologyCluster BioSTL: St. Louis Biosciences Cluster Oklahoma-South Kansas Unmanned Aerial Systems Cluster The AppalachianOhioWoodProducts Cluster Conductor RIC in Healthcare, Education & Data/Decision Sciences – Startup Junkie Consulting

Integrative Business Services Inc. (Industry focus: Optics) Great Plains Technology & Manufacturing Cluster Montana Bioscience Cluster – Montana Technology Enterprise Center AgLaunch Initiative

Utah Advanced Material Manufacturing Initiative

Defense Alliance - LSI Business Development Inc. (Industry focus: Advanced Power and Energy)



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



» 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 .



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?



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



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



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, such as suppliers, man- ufacturers, subcontractors, and 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, and 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. 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. Explain your projections and match them to your funding requests. If your business is already established, include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the last three to five years. List collateral you could put against a loan. 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.


❒ Key partnerships ❒ Key activities ❒ Key resources ❒ Value proposition ❒ Customer relationships

❒ Customer segments ❒ Channels ❒ Cost structure ❒ Revenue streams


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