HCB Newsletter Article July 2011

SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES IN OUR COMMUNITIES

Horizon Community Bank strives to work hand in hand with our small business communities to provide access to helpful free or low cost services that lend financial and consultative assistance to business owners. The purpose is to make available resources that can assist our small business customers navigate today’s tough economic climate successfully and profitably.

Business.gov Website

For starters, a very helpful website for small business owners is www.Business.gov. This website provides a one-stop shop for federal resources from the agencies that regulate or serve businesses. While most businesses in the United States are required to obtain a permit, professional license, or identification number to operate, finding the right license can be a major challenge for potential business owners. One of the many useful features of the www.Business.gov website is a “Permit Me” feature that provides a single source for obtaining information about Federal and State permits and professional licenses for businesses. Another useful feature, “Feature Topics”, focuses on common business concerns. It provides context to the compliance information provided on the site and helps business owners understand in plain language the regulatory requirements their business may face. Additional topics are added on a regular basis in response to the most frequent searches on the site.

SCORE/SBDC/WBC

Free counseling, advice and information on starting, better operating or expanding a small business is available through the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and Women’s Business Centers (WBC). Training events are available throughout Western Arizona; some require a nominal registration fee.

SCORE, “Counselors to Americas Small Businesses” is composed of 10,500-active and retired volunteer businesses professionals. With more than 40 years of experience helping small businesses succeed, SCORE matches volunteer business counselors with clients in need of expert advice. SCORE has advisers with expertise in nearly every area of business and maintains a national skills roster to help identify the best counselor for a particular client. Volunteer counselors, whose collective experience spans the full range of American enterprise, share their management and technical expertise with both current and prospective small business owners.

Volunteers work in or near their home communities providing management mentoring and training to first-time owners. They meet with clients at a SCORE community location, such as at a Chamber of Commerce, bank or at the client’s place of business.

Every effort is made to match a client’s needs with an adviser experienced in a comparable line of business. All individual and team counseling is free, there may be a nominal fee for workshops and seminars.

Through in-depth mentoring and training, SCORE volunteers help prospective and established small business owners and managers identify problems, determine the causes and find solutions.

Any small business can obtain help from SCORE. Whether you are considering starting your own business, have a business that is experiencing problems, are ready to expand, or need some other type of advice, SCORE can help. The approach is confidential and personal. You don’t need to be applying for or have an SBA loan to participate in the program. In fact, an idea is all that is necessary; consultation and mentoring before a business opens its doors is an important part of SCORE’s service.

Score can also be found on the Internet at WWW.SCORE.ORG.

Business owners use the Web to fulfill their needs for information and advice. SCORE is primed to meet requests for help by offering e-mail counseling, maps to local SCORE chapters, hotlinks to other business resources on the Internet and more. E-mail counseling is provided by the Cyber chapter, which now includes more than 1,200 online members. You can choose from almost 800 unique skills to find the cyber counselor who best suits your specific needs, including counseling for veterans, service-disabled veterans and Reserve component members. SCORE also offers more than 30 online training workshops on topics for small businesses. Here are 2 local locations for SCORE:

Kingman Branch:
1971 Jagerson Ave., Rm.208
Kingman AZ 86401
928-692-3054
Open Tuesday & Thursday 9:00 am to 11:00 am.

Bullhead City Branch:
1251 Hwy 95
Bullhead City, AZ 86426
928-754-4201
Open Monday – Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

SBDC - Small Business Development Centers meet the needs of small businesses and promote economic development in local communities by helping to create and retain jobs. Partially funded by a cooperative agreement with SBA, SBCDs are focused on providing long-term counseling to clients to help them grow successful businesses. The SBDC network provides counseling and training to more than 550,000 existing or start-up businesses annually.

SBDCs assist with development of business plans; provide manufacturing, financial packaging, surety bonds, contracting and international trade assistance. Special emphasis areas include e-commerce, technology transfer, IRS, EPA and OSHA regulatory compliance, research and development, Defense Economic Transition Assistance, export assistance, disaster recovery assistance and market research. SBDCs also provide special assistance to veterans and help with energy efficiency under new program initiatives. Based on client needs, SBDCs tailor their services to meet the evolving needs of the local small business community.

SBDCs deliver management and technical assistance to prospective and existing small businesses using an effective business education network of 948 service center locations contracted to manage a broad-based SBDC program. SBDCs are located throughout the US, District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Our local SBDC office can be found at:

Mohave Community College
Loy Strother, Busines Counselor
1977 W. Acoma Blvd.
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403
Phone: 928-505-3304
Fax: 928-692-3087
lstrother@mohave.edu
www.mohave.edu

For more information, visit the Web site at: www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/sbdc/index.html

WBC - Women’s Business Centers is a program sponsored by the Small Business Administration. The Women Business Center Program is a network of 110 community based centers which provide business training, counseling, mentoring and other assistance geared toward women, particularly those who are social and economically disadvantaged. Partially funded through a cooperative agreement with the SBA, WBCs are located in nearly every state and U.S. territory.

To meet the needs of women entrepreneurs, the WBCs offer services at convenient times and locations, including weekend. Some offer child care during training and many provide assistance and materials in different languages, depending on the needs of the individual communities they serve. WBC services create local economic growth and vitality; in fiscal 2009, the WBC Program counseled and trained more than 155,000 clients.

WBC training courses are often free or are offered at a small fee with scholarships often available to those who need them. A number of WBCs also provide courses and counseling via the Internet, mobile classrooms and satellite locations. A Women’s Business Ownership Representative is available to assist women business owners. Please contact Cathy lease at 602-745-7231 or email: Cathleen.lease@sba.gov

For more information, visit the Web site at: www.sba.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/sba_program_office/sba_ro_do_wbc.pdf

Business Organization

There are many forms of legal structure you may choose for your business. Each legal structure offers organizational options with different tax and liability issues. We suggest you research each legal structure thoroughly and consult a tax accountant and/or attorney prior to making your decision.

For more information, please contact:
Secretary of State’s Office
1700 W. Washington St., 7th
Phoenix, AZ, 85007
Phone: 602-542-6187 or 800-458-5842
Website: www.azsos.gov

Fictitious Business Name

Registering your business name, after doing a search to make sure that it is not already in use, protects you from others who might want to use the same name. For more information, contact the county clerk’s office in the county where your business is based. If you are a corporation, you’ll need to check with the state.

Secretary of State’s Office
1700 W. Washington St., 7th
Phoenix AZ 85007
Phone: 602-542-6187 or 800-458-5842
Website: www.azsos.govv

Business Insurance

Like home insurance, business insurance protects the contents of your business against fire, theft and other losses. Contact your insurance agent or broker. It is prudent for any business to purchase a number of basic types of insurance. Some types of coverage are required by law, other simply make good business sense. The types of insurance listed below are among the most commonly used and are merely a starting point for your evaluating the needs of your business:

  • Liability
  • Property
  • Business Interruption
  • Key Man
  • Automobile
  • Officer and Director
  • Home Office

Employer Identification Number

An EIN, also known as a Federal tax identification number, is used to identify a business entity. Generally all businesses need an EIN. You may apply for an EIN in a variety of ways, including online, by phone and fax. Taxpayers can obtain an EIN immediately by call 800-829-4933, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.