So, you’ve been dreaming of starting a business?! What an exciting (and sometimes stressful) time in your life! Did you always know you wanted to start a business? Were you the only kid in the neighborhood with a profitable lemonade stand? Or maybe you mowed lawns through high school to pay for your first car? Chances are, you’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit.
We get to see a lot of businesses in their infancy and learn the stories of how the idea came to be. We love working with entrepreneurs because of their passion, dedication, drive and vision for the future.
As you’re dreaming of your business, you may have questions. Here’s a list of 9 resources our clients have found helpful on their business journey.
- Choosing your Business Structure There are several options when it comes to choosing what type of business you want to start – sole proprietor, LLC, Coop, Corporation, Partnership or S-Corp. Each of these business types have varying advantages, disadvantages, requirements and tax implications.This article will help you determine which is right for you. And, be sure to consult your accountant and attorney when determining your business structure.
- Writing a Business Plan Benjamin Franklin said “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”Business plans are extremely helpful in understanding your target market, guiding you in recommended industry research and helping you identify gaps in your strategy. Further, your business plan will be helpful when you meet with your business banker about securing commercial loans for start-up costs, buildings or equipment.This downloadable Business Plan Template from the Small Business Administration is a great resource to help you get started.
- Understanding Business Financials We’ve all done taxes and balanced our checkbook – or at least our online banking program has. But when it comes to balance sheets, income statements and cash flow analysis, things start to get a little hazy. Investopedia is a good resource for getting a general understanding of key financial statements.For day-to-day questions about reading, interpreting and making data-based business decisions, find a commercial banker that will work with you to help you along the way.
- Marketing Once your business is started, how will you find customers? How will they find you? What market should you even be targeting? Marketing isn’t about billboards and brochures, it’s about understanding what makes you and your product different and optimizing your message to reflect that.Here are some great SBA online courses to aid you in your marketing efforts.
- Protecting your Business Identity theft, cybersecurity and fraud are concerns that you don’t just think about personally, but now with your business too. When you register your business, your personal and professional information will be more public, therefore more vulnerable.Here are some ways to protect your business from fraud.
- Leading your Team One of the most rewarding parts of being a business owner is the opportunity to lead people. Your passion and example will set the stage for the people you hire.We love com for its leadership insight like these 22 qualities that make a good leader.
- Getting Involved Locally If you’re going to be doing business locally, and even if you’re not, playing an active role in your community is important to the success of your business. Local businesses drive our economy and help build the communities where we live and work.We’re lucky to have great business resources in the St Cloud Area like our Chamber of Commerce, who offers networking events, socials and does a great job of referring business. The Small Business Development Center within St. Cloud State University is also a great resource for starting or growing your business.
Meet with a One of our Experienced, Commercial Bankers.