Small Business Development Center

Let's Roll Up Our Sleeves and Get STARTED!

Starting a business can be exciting and daunting at the same time. One way to contribute to your success is to break the process down into smaller steps. While there is no hard and fast rule of thumb on how long it takes to start a business, a realistic timeframe is roughly six months.

Let’s Break It Down

It’s natural to have lots of questions in the beginning. In fact, that’s why we exist! We help answer questions and take some of the scariness out of the process. Fortunately, there are a host of other resources available that can also provide nitty-gritty answers to murky subjects.

Working with a Small Business Consultant makes sense as you move your project forward. We are available Monday-Friday, 8AM-4:30PM. To request services, please use the red toggle above or click here to reach our online intake questionnaire. In addition to our consultants, several other agencies partner with the SBDC and make their representatives available to meet with entrepreneurs. Our Collaborative Partners can be viewed using the link provided above.

Getting Set Up

One of the most important decisions you need to make is related to business formation. Are you going to be a Sole Proprietor, part of a Partnership, or some type of Corporation? We have partnered with LegalCORPS to provide our clients with access to legal counsel to answer these important questions. Our Brief Advice Clinic is available the First and Third Wednesdays of every month, with FREE 30-minute   counseling sessions offered between 12:00PM-2:00PM. To schedule, please call 320-308-4842.

  • To Learn More about LegalCORPS, click here 

Once you’ve decided which   business entity meets your needs, you will need to conduct a name search and   file the proper paperwork.

Only Two Things in Life are For Certain…

Taxes are a significant, and often confusing reality for all businesses. Your business formation choices will also impact your tax obligations. Luckily, at both the state and federal levels, there are multiple resources available to guide you and make filing less of a burden.

Both organizations provide extensive training opportunities free of charge:


Whether or not you need a license to conduct your business depends on multiple factors; industry, location and materials handling may all be considerations. Licensure requirements that are industry/profession related can be searched at the state level, while matters dependent on location and materials will need to be sought by reaching out to local entities like cities, counties or townships.

Committing it all to Paper

Rumors of business plans being written in lipstick on a napkin are an urban legend in these complex times. Certainly, anyone planning to approach a bank or other financing entity needs to have a business plan to   demonstrate credibility and intent. Don’t let the development of this important document be the obstacle that derails your dreams.

A Word About Market Research

As cautioned on the Explore page, the demand for your product or service is paramount to the success of your venture. In order to write a realistic business plan, it is important to spend some time looking at current information that describes your community and potential customers. Where do they shop? How do they access services? In addition to visiting your local library, there are several online resources that can help you better understand your market.

Crafting Financials

The final segments of the business plan are the financial projections and cashflow. While these usually land at the end of the document, they are among the first pages to be reviewed by a potential lender. Just like you, banks and investors want to know your project can ultimately make money.


Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and regional support partners. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the program sponsors. Programs are open to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact Central Region SBDC at 320-308-4842.


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