Starting your business can be both very exciting and intimidating at the same time.

Owning your own business and being your own boss is part of the American dream. It is also not as easy as it seems with many decisions to be made before you even open the doors. Below is information to get you started, my apologies for the many web links but there is just too much information at our fingertips to not utilize them.

The Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development (MN DEED) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have an excellent guide that covers all the steps you will need to take to get you on the road to a successful business launch. Whether you are experienced in starting a business or doing it for the first time, the guides cover everything from “Do I have what it takes” to “Writing your business plan.”  MN DEED site; http://mn.gov/deed/business/starting-business, SBA site; https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/how-start-business .

A business plan is an essential roadmap for business success and a must in securing financing. This living document generally projects three years ahead and outlines the route a company intends to take to start and grow. Even if you are self financing your entire business, a business plan forces you to put your ideas, financial projections and plans on paper. Some links to samples and guides.

MN DEED; http://mn.gov/deed/business/starting-business/biz-plans, SBA; https://www.sbagov/starting-business/write-your-business-plan. Samples; http://www.bplans.com/sample_business_plans.php.

In Aitkin County, we have access to several free consulting services as you start or expand your business.    

Brainerd Lakes SCORE, retired business executives that offer their expertise on your site or in their offices. https://centralminnesota.score.org/branch/brainerd-score

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund provide the professional expertise and guidance that every entrepreneur and small business owner needs to flourish in today’s competitive and ever-changing business world.

Central Lakes College http://www.clcmn.edu/small-business-development-center

UMD Center for Economic Development http://www.umdced.com

Northeast Entrepreneur Fund www.entrepreneurfund.org

You will need to decide if your business should be registered as a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership or other choices, both MN DEED and the SBA have information on each to help you in your decision-making process or give you background as you discuss this critical step with advisors. MN DEED; http://mn.gov/deed/business/starting-business/organizing. SBA; https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/choose-your-business-structure

Use this link to find information and contacts on banks in Aitkin County as well as State and Regional lending sources, http://www.co.aitkin.mn.us/departments/economic-dev/pdf-files/Business-Funding-Aitkin-County.pdf

Entrepreneur and Angel Investors www.HillCapitalCorp.com

SBA Loans www.mbfc.org

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce resource page; https://www.mnchamber.com/business-resources-entrepreneurship

You will need to get a State and Federal Tax ID number.

State of MN registration info; http://www.sos.state.mn.us/business-liens/start-a-business/how-to-register-your-business/ and http://www.revenue.state.mn.us/businesses/Pages/Business-Center.aspx

Federal registration; https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online

If your business is using a name other than the legal corporate name or your own full legal name, you will need a Certificate of Assumed Name; http://www.sos.state.mn.us/business-liens/business-forms-fees/assumed-name-sole-proprietorshipforms/?searchTerm=certificate%20of%20assumed%20name

Is the location you have in mind properly zoned for the type of activity you are planning? Zoning and local permitting will depend on where you locate. If you are planning a location in one of the Cities in Aitkin County you will have to check with that city, otherwise Aitkin County Planning and Zoning will be the source for zoning and building permits.

To link to one of the cities; http://www.co.aitkin.mn.us/towns/towns-cities.html

Aitkin County Planning and Zoning; http://www.co.aitkin.mn.us/departments/enviro-svcs/enviromentalSvcs.html

Employee withholding, state and federal taxes are an important consideration for any business, below are links to help as you hire employees.

IRS Small Business and Self Employed site; https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed

IRS understanding employment taxes site; https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/understandingemployment-taxes

State of Minnesota business tax liabilities; http://mn.gov/deed/business/starting-business/taxes/tax-liabilities.jsp

MN Department of Revenue withholding site; http://www.revenue.state.mn.us/businesses/withholding/Pages/File-and-Pay.aspx.

Ross Wagner is the Economic Development & Forest Industry Coordinator for Aitkin County, rwagner@co.aitkin.mn.us.

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