Small Business resource guide MINNESOTA EDITION 2020
START GROW EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS
Minnesota 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 How to Start a Business 19 Opportunities for Veterans 20 Entrepreneurial Opportunities 22 Find and EIN 24 Write Your Business Plan 26 Local Success Story With SBA assistance Niles Deneen has expanded Deneen Pottery while ensuring that each piece is still hand made from start to finish.
28 National Success Story Jennifer and Jeff Herbert’s
meadery has expanded into a multimillion dollar enterprise thanks to SBA assistance.
31 SBA Lenders 48 Financing 101 49 Need Financing? 50 Go Global with
International Trade 52 R&D Opportunities for High Growth Startups 54 National Success Story
Cheeseburger Baby owner Stephanie Vitori persevered through a financial storm and a natural disaster.
58 Surety Bonds
60 National Success Story Jennifer Rahn steers the course for Admiral Engineering, succeeding as a small business subcontractor. 63 Government Contracting 64 SBA Certification Programs 65 Woman-Owned Small Business Certification
ON THE COVER Hector Ruiz, courtesy of the SBA; Niles Deneen and potter Enoch Wilson, courtesy of the SBA; Amy Brace, courtesy of the SBA; Mohamed Haji, courtesy of the SBA; Jill Pavak and Deb Loch, courtesy of the SBA
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SBA Minnesota District Office 330 Second Ave. S. #430 Minneapolis, MN 55401 (612) 370-2324 Fax (612) 370-2303 sba.gov/mn @SBA_Minnesota
District Director Letter W
Deputy District Director Brian McDonald (612) 370-2337 firstname.lastname@example.org Public Affairs Specialist
Economic Development Specialist/Veterans' Liaison
elcome to the 2020 edition of the U.S. Small Business Administration Minnesota Small Business Resource Guide. The SBA helps make the American dream of small business
Mike Jackson (612) 370-2335
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. The SBA Minnesota District Office works with an extensive network of business advisers and lenders to help our state’s 515,000 small businesses at every stage of development. To get started, visit an SBA office or one of our SBA Resource Partners. Starting on pg. 9 you will find listings for free or low-cost business advisers, which includes Small Business Development Centers, SCORE mentors, Women’s Business Centers, 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’re 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. We're also helping create economic possibility in low-income communities. The SBA works with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs to increase investments in Opportunity Zones located in our district, often expanding from Historically Underutilized Business Zones, HUBZones. Stay up to date on SBA events near you and get valuable local business information by following us on Twitter at @SBA_Minnesota. Register for email updates at sba.gov/updates . Use our Small Business Resource Guide to power your dream of starting, growing, or expanding your small business in Minnesota.
email@example.com Lead Lender Relations Specialist Alisha Podobinski (612) 370-2331 firstname.lastname@example.org Lender Relations Specialists Thomas Osborne (612) 370-2356 email@example.com Dan Schmit (612) 370-2314 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Swenty (612) 370-2316
email@example.com Office of International Trade Regional Manager Carlos Sosa (se habla español) (612) 348-1642 firstname.lastname@example.org Business Opportunity Specialist Shaun McClary (612) 370-2320 email@example.com Lead Economic Development Specialist
Twila Kennedy (612) 370-2300
firstname.lastname@example.org Economic Development Specialist Maribel Reigstad (se habla español) (612) 370-2321 email@example.com
Sincerely, The SBA Minnesota District Office
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Made to Last Joyce and Jerado Reynolds used SBA support to succeed. Written by Micaela Morrissette How We Did It
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE 5 Tips for Success Find a great business mentor.
eynolds Welding & Fabrication has grown steadily, building a loyal customer base, since Jerado Reynolds founded
the company in 2005. “At first the company was just Jerado,” recalls his wife and co-owner, Joyce Reynolds. “Then it was him and me part time.” During the day she worked as a nurse and spent her evenings doing all the company’s paperwork. The Reynolds sank everything they earned into the business—money, time, and energy. She remembers with pride helping Jerado weld a stair railing at a local school. Her son later attended that same school, and she watched her child and others using the rail, benefiting from the hard work the couple did together. It was then Joyce decided as much as she loved her day job, she wanted to devote herself full time to the family business in Windsor, Connecticut. She wanted to work side-by-side with her husband, fully focused on administration and business growth. As they both hoped, word of mouth spread; clients made referrals. Joyce was soon overwhelmed with paperwork. They brought on two employees—doubling up in the busy seasons. They were able to maintain four full-time employees by 2009. After this, Joyce says, they saw that “things were not moving.” She wanted to scale up. Challenge The company wasn’t growing in part because it wasn’t certified with the state department of transportation or prequalified with the Connecticut State Department of Administrative Services, Joyce says. She decided to tackle the certification problem full time, leaving her nursing career. This was the change she'd been wanting to make, but since her background was in health care, Joyce didn’t feel fluent in the languages of construction or business. Joyce wanted to learn, and she had incentive: they needed the certifications to bid on bigger jobs. “Never be afraid to ask questions”, she says. Joyce needed to find people with answers. Solution She and Jerado connected with the University of Hartford Entrepreneurial Center &Women’s Business Center, an
To find your local SBA office and resource partners in your area, visit sba.gov/localresources .
Have a healthy view of competition. We’re not always competing.
We’re a competitor, but if a similar business has extra work, they’ll send it to us and vice versa. That’s the relationship to have.
SBA Resource Partner, where “from day one it was, Eureka! Everyone wanted to see us win.” Women entrepreneurs receive essential business counseling and training from this national network of community-based centers. Most helpful was the detailed personal attention available through free one-on-one business counseling. Joyce also learned about workshops offered by providers like the Metropolitan District, a Connecticut nonprofit municipal corporation offering water and sewer services. At a meet- and-greet, Joyce understood howmuch the SBA could help her business. An SBA professional walked Joyce through the extensive paperwork and, crucially, helped her register the company in the System for Award Management (sam.gov), positioning the company for new federal contracts. “Resources like the Entrepreneurial Center and the SBA will train you from bottom to top”, Joyce says. “They have finance classes that open your eyes regarding taxes. You'll learn how to register your business. They’ll help with a contract or your website or accountability statements. Everything!” Before the SBA, Reynolds Welding attempted the DOT certification on five separate occasions, always falling short because the process was so complicated. Joyce secured the certification with SBA guidance on the first attempt. Benefit Reynolds Welding now employs more than 15 workers, constructing stairs, rails, structural beams, and columns throughout the region. Jerado is working
Record everything you do. Navigating business relationships in this age means keeping an email record of everything you do. Leave a clear paper trail.
Sacrifice to ensure quality. We don’t cut corners. Sometimes you have to lose money to do quality work— it’s rough, but nothing is more important.
Seek SBA assistance to see if you qualify for business certifications. We used to look for jobs. Now that we’re on the SBA Subcontracting Network database, SubNet, and sam.gov , we have a continuous flow of contractors reaching out to us. on two bridges—a lifelong dream. Joyce continues to move forward, getting Reynolds qualified for the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program, which provides free business development education to small businesses so they can better compete in the public sector. “When I came on full time, I set a goal for what I would like for the company, and I’ve achieved 80% of that”, Joyce says. When she secures 8(a) certification for Reynolds, she’ll have hit all her objectives. Then, she admits, she’ll probably come up with some new ones.
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.
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
SBA’s Resource Partners are independent organizations funded through SBA cooperative agreements or grants. Our Local SBA Resource Partners
South Central Region Minnesota State University-Mankato Mankato (507) 389-8875 myminnesotabusiness.com Southeast Region Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester (507) 285-7536 rochestersbdc.com
Twin Cities Metro University of St. Thomas Minneapolis (651) 962-4500 stthomas.edu/sbdc Lead Center St. Paul Department of Employment and Economic Development (877) 653-8333 mn.gov/deed/business/help/sbdc
Small Business Development Centers Northwest Region Northwest Minnesota Foundation Bemidji (218) 755-4255 nwsbdc.org
Adelle Starin is growing Babies on Broadway in Little Falls, MN thanks to guidance from the Women’s Business Alliance, an SBA Resource Partner.
Northeast Region Northland Foundation Duluth (218) 726-7298 nesbdc.org West Central Region Concordia College Moorhead (218) 299-3037 westcentralmnsbdc.com North Central Region Central Lakes College Brainerd (218) 855-8140 clcmn.edu/small-business- development-center Central Region St. Cloud State University St. Cloud (320) 308-4842
Women’s Business Centers Entrepreneur Fund Women’s Business Alliance entrepreneurfund.org/womens- business-alliance Duluth (218) 623-5730 Little Falls (218) 735-6033 WomenVenture
stcloudstate.edu/sbdc Southwest Region Southwest Minnesota State University Marshall (507) 537-7386 sbdcassistance.com
Serving the twin cities metro area (612) 224-9540 womenventure.org
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
SCORE Visit sba.gov/score to start working on your business goals. Contact your local office to schedule an appointment. Central MN-St. Cloud (320) 240-1332 centralminnesota.score.org
Southeast MN–Rochester (507) 200-0760 seminnesota.score.org South Central–Owatonna (507) 455-3215 x124 southcentralminnesota.score.org
South Metro–Burnsville (952) 890-7020 southmetro.score.org St. Paul (651) 632-8937 stpaul.score.org
Minneapolis (952) 938-4570 minneapolis.score.org
SBA-backed financing helped Christine Lantinen scale up Maud Borup Inc., a retail candy company in Plymouth, MN. A U.S. Army veteran, Christine focused her business on selling giftable confections wholesale to specialty and mass retailers, including Whole Foods and Target. The SBA Emerging Leaders program helped her create a plan to purchase a manufacturing facility in LeCenter and create sustainable plant-based Easter eggs. She employs over 100.
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. Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. (414) 395-4560 wwbic.com/veterans
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, find your regional SBA advocate at sba.gov/advocacy . To submit a comment about how your business has been hurt by an existing regulation, visit sba.gov/ ombudsman/comments .
The SBA’s Office of Advocacy also independently represents small business and advances its concerns before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, federal courts, and state policy makers. Ombudsman Entrepreneurs who have an issue with an existing federal regulation or policy can receive assistance from the SBA’s national ombudsman. The ombudsman’s office can help 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
Advocacy When you need a voice within the federal government for your interests as a small business owner, the SBA’s regional advocates are here to assist. The advocates analyze the effects of proposed regulations and consider alternatives that minimize the economic burden on small businesses, governmental jurisdictions, and nonprofits. Find your regional advocate at sba.gov/advocacy . Your advocate helps with these small business issues: » if your business could be negatively affected by regulations proposed by the government » if you have contracting issues with a federal agency » when you need economic and small business statistics
Make your voice heard by participating in a Regional Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Roundtable or a public hearing hosted by the SBA’s 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
Urban Growler Brewing Co. co-owners Jill Pavak and Deb Loch opened the first woman-owned microbrewery in Minnesota with an SBA-backed loan. The SBA guarantees loans for entrepreneurs who are eligible and can't find traditional financing. Jill and Deb bought beer canning equip- ment to expand production thanks to a second SBA-backed loan.
How to Start a Business in Minnesota Thinking of starting a busin ss? Here are the nuts & bolts.
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. » Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development mn.gov/deed/business > starting a business > legal and regulatory » Minnesota Sales and Use Tax Permits revenue.state.mn.us/businesses » Minnesota Department of Commerce-Franchises mn.gov/commerce/industries > securities, franchises and subdivided lands 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. sos.state.mn.us Taxes As a business owner, you should know your federal tax responsibilities and make some business decisions to comply with certain tax requirements. The IRS Small Business and Self- Employed Tax Center, go.usa.gov/xPxYR , offers information on a
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. Carefully investigate the laws affecting your industry. Being out of compliance could leave you unprotected legally, lead to expensive penalties, and jeopardize your business. Market Research Need to do research on your clients and location? 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
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Amy Brace grew Amy's Cupcake Shoppe in Hopkins, MN thanks to an SBA-backed 7(a) loan.
variety of topics including: obtaining an Employer Identification Number, paying and filing income tax, virtual workshops, forms, and publications. As the IRS continues to implement some of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions, your tax obligations may change. Visit the Tax Reform Provisions that Affect Businesses page on irs.gov for the latest tax reform updates that affect your bottom line. » IRS Tax Assistance Centers (844) 545-5640 to schedule an appointment Bloomington 1550 American Blvd. E., suite 700 (763) 347-7509 Duluth
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. 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 call (800) 870-3676. For the employer hotline call (888) 464-4218 or email Ifirstname.lastname@example.org. E-Verify, operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration, electronically verifies the Social Security number and employment eligibility information reported on Form I-9. It’s the quickest way for employers to determine the employment eligibility of new hires. Visit e-verify.gov , call (888) 464-4218 or email email@example.com. Health & Safety All businesses with employees are required to comply with state and federal regulations regarding the protection of employees, visit dol.gov for information. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides information on the specific health and
515 W. First St. (218) 626-1624 Mankato
1921 Excel Drive (507) 513-6990 St. Cloud 1010 W. Saint Germain St. (320) 251-9261 St. Paul 430 N. Wabasha St. (651) 312-8082
» State Taxes Minnesota Department of Revenue revenue.state.mn.us
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
safety standards used by the U.S. Department of Labor. Call (800) 321-6742 or visit osha.gov . » Minnesota Department of Public Safety dps.mn.gov/pages/default.aspx » Minnesota Department of Health health.state.mn.us/index.html » Minnesota Unemployment Insurance uimn.org » Workers Compensation in Minnesota dli.mn.gov/business/workers-compensation-businesses » Minnesota OSHA dli.mn.gov/business/safety-and-health-work » Department of Labor 443 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul (800) 342-5354 » Vocational Rehabilitation 616 America Ave. NW, suite 300, Bemidji (888) 234-1116 » Minnesota OSHA and Workers’ Compensation 525 Lake Ave. S., suite 330, Duluth (218) 733-7810 » Minnesota OSHA and Vocational Rehabilitation Mankato 12 Civic Center Plaza, suite 1650 (877) 470-6742 Rochester Atrium Professional Building
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 . Free and confidential services from the Minnesota Small Business Environmental Assistance Program help businesses comply with environmental rules, reduce wastes and emissions, and reduce regulatory obligations. Learn more at pca.state. mn.us/smallbizhelp or by calling (800) 657-3938. 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, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit access-board.gov . Child Support Employers are essential to the success of the child support program and are responsible for collecting 75% of support nationwide through payroll deductions. The Office of Child Support Enforcement at Health and Human Services offers employers step-by-step instructions for processing income withholding orders for child support. Download the fact sheet about the Employer’s Role in the Child Support Program at the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s website at acf.hhs.gov/ programs/css > employer responsibilities . You can also find information about other employer responsibilities and tools that can make meeting those responsibilities easier, such as electronic income withholding orders and the Child Support Portal. Send questions to email@example.com. Intellectual Property Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are types of intellectual property that serve to protect creations and innovations. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is the federal agency that grants U.S. patents and registers trademarks. For information and resources about U.S. patents and federally registered trademarks consult uspto.gov. Call the patent and trademark office help center at (800) 786-9199 or visit your nearest office at Elijah J. McCoy Midwest Regional Office in Detroit, Michigan, uspto.gov/detroit . A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to an inventor, issued by the U.S. patent office. The right conferred by the patent grant is the right to exclude others frommaking, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the United States or importing the invention into the country. For information 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 an article of manufacture. • 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,
401 16th St. SE (877) 470-6742 St. Cloud 3400 First St. N., suite 405 (877) 470-6742 Employee Insurance
Check with 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 . Department of Labor 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 . » Minnesota Commerce Department mn.gov/commerce/industries > Insurance > small businesses 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 complex environmental regulations and permitting requirements. These state programs can help
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Mohamed Haji, owner of Haji's Towing Service, received assistance and help purchasing his first tow truck from SBA participating microlender African Development Center.
device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others and to indicate the source of the goods/services. Trademarks and service marks may be registered at both the state and federal level. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office only registers federal trademarks and service marks. Federally registered trademarks may conflict with and supersede those registered only at the state level. Visit uspto. gov/trademarks . State Trademarks Registering your trademark or service mark with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office does not copyright your mark, it only registers it to ensure it is officially recognized with the state of Minnesota. sos.state.mn.us > how to register trademarks and servicemarks Copyrights protect original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic, and certain other intellectual works. Copyrights do not protect facts, ideas, and systems, although they may protect the way they are expressed. For general information 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 For a listing of Minnesota chambers, visit mnchamberexecutives.com Minnesota Chamber mnchamber.com Minnesota Black Chamber mnblackchamber.org Minnesota Hmong Chamber mnhmongchamber.org Latino Chamber latinochambermn.com Minnesota American Indian Chamber maicc.org Quorum-Minnesota LGBTQ Chamber twincitiesquorum.com
Grow Minnesota is a partnership of 80 chambers conducting comprehensive one-on-one site visits with businesses each year, tracking business conditions, collecting data on what it takes for businesses to stay and grow in Minnesota and identifying areas where they can provide solutions to business concerns. Learn more at mnchamber.com.
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Minneapolis restauranteur Hector Ruiz opened Don Raul, his fourth concept, thanks in part to business guidance he received in the SBA Emerging Leaders program. This seven-month program provides practical tools to pursue new paths for business success through training and networking opportunities.
Economic Development Better Business Bureau bbb.org
Exporting Assistance Minnesota U.S. Export Assistance Centers Carlos Sosa (612) 348-1642 firstname.lastname@example.org sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/eac Minnesota Trade Office mn.gov/deed/business/exporting Minnesota Commerce Department mn.gov/commerce U.S. Commercial Service export.gov/minnesota Export-Import Bank of the United States Minneapolis Regional Office (612) 348-1213 exim.gov
For state assistance with business expansion, international trade, workforce and community development, visit Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development at mn.gov/deed . Entrepreneurs can receive free, confidential business counseling from the Open for Business programs, available throughout the twin cities metro area. Go to mccdmn.org/open-to-business to learn more. Low-income small business owners can receive free assistance in non-litigation business law from LegalCORPS. Find clinic locations and information on setting up a 30-minute consultation time at legalcorps.org . Business owners who qualify can receive longer one-on-one representation. The Minnesota SBIR/STTR Assistance Office is the state’s resource to provide free and confidential assistance to Minnesota firms with R&D needs. It focuses on innovation, technology transfer, investments and commercialization, visit mhta.org/mnsbir .
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Need financing? Loan Fee Relief
To encourage lending to members of the military community who want to start or grow their business, the SBA reduces upfront guarantee fees on select loans. That means the cost savings will be passed down to you, the eligible veteran or qualifying military member. Ask your local SBA district office or SBA Lender about the Veterans Advantage program. Have an employee who was called to active duty? You may 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 district office or SBA Lender about the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Interested in contracting? Veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses interested in federal contracting receive training from the Veteran Institute for Procurement, which offers a platform with three training programs to assist veterans. Visit nationalvip.org . VIP Start Enter the federal market and become ready for procurement. Nearly 200 veteran-owned businesses from 29 states plus Washington, DC have graduated from the program. VIP Grow Strategize to expand and operate within the federal marketplace. More than 700 veteran-owned businesses from 42 states plus DC and Guam have graduated from this program. 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 65. For more 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 .
HOW THE SBA HELPED US SUCCEED Margot Adam Langstaff, left, and Elisa Hamill, right, sought assistance from their local Veterans Business Outreach Center, which helped them better compete for government contracts. LifeHealth of Littleton, CO has expanded to more than 30 states with offices in Washington, DC and San Antonio, TX. Their clients include the Department of Defense, the National Guard, and the Indian Health Service. They also expanded their business using an SBA-backed line of credit for $350,000. Margot started her career as an Army medic, eventually running one of the largest outpatient clinics in the Northeast at Ft. Devens, MA.
Opportunities for Veterans
Members of the military community can start and grow their small businesses with the help of SBA programs.
Need entrepreneurship training? In Boots to Business, you explore business ownership and other self- employment opportunities while learning key business concepts. You will 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. Who’s eligible? Service members transitioning out of active duty and military spouses. Are you a veteran or member of the National Guard or Reserve or a military spouse? Boots to Business: Reboot teaches this entrepreneurship curriculum off base and in local 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 of service members through these SBA-funded programs: » Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship in Syracuse, New York » 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
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 Resources Find free short courses and learning tools to start and grow your small business at sba.gov/learning . The free SBA 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 • buying a business • financing options • digital and traditional marketing to win customers • disaster recovery • understanding your customer Native American Workshops Tribal enterprises and business organizations can receive 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 .
• medical sciences • power and energy • unmanned aerial systems • water tech • wood products
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 so you can grow and expand. 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.
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 A eri- al 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)
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
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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