Going into Business: First Steps

Updated: Mar 29

Watch the video below or scroll down to read the recap

The Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority (BEDA) hosts workshops to fit the need of the region's business owners. This class taught by Harold Patterson, a WV Small Business Development Center Certified Business Coach, walks aspiring entrepreneurs step-by-step through the steps of starting a new business. Special Guest Jason Roberts, Executive Director of the Region I Planning & Development Council, shares Region I's Revolving Loan Program.


BEDA Executive Director Jim Spencer opens the workshop up with notes from Jim Flowers and Virginia Tech Knowledge Works. To start, he defines an entrepreneur through seven words: "Solving People's Problems for Profit and Fun"


You may be an entrepreneur if...

  1. Time: I can devote enough time to succeed Is this a hobby? Or am I trying to succeed?

  2. Effort: will I devote the time needed? Will I work nights and weekends? Do I have the staying power? Nothing goes as planned

  3. Anxiety: Am I (are we) good at dealing with uncertainty? Rule #1: The boss cannot freak out Rule #2: The boss's spouse/partner cannot freak out

  4. Failure: What is the worst that can happen? Don't plan on it, but don't let it catch you unprepared What are the things you can't afford to lose? No business is worth sacrificing your health, integrity, or family How much money can I risk?

Jim welcomes anyone interested in starting a business, no matter where you're located, to check out our free Entrepreneur's Bootcamp that's self-paced and fast-tracked to help you build your business plan and organize your business.

 

Some key take-aways from Harold Patterson's Steps for starting a business include:

  1. Choose a Business Name • Make sure it's Available! • Search the WV SOS or Social Media • Do you have a trademark in mind?

  2. Choose a business address • Should you use your home or USP address? • Would a maker space be right for you? • Make sure to get an e-mail address

  3. Get a phone number • Landline vs. Cell Phone

  4. Business Entity • Sole Proprietorship vs. Partnership vs. LLC vs. S-Corporation • Register your business through the WV Business Wizard: https://apps.wv.gov/sos/bizwiz

  5. Register your Business • Go to the IRS site to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) • Should I use my social security number as my EIN? • You can pay your fees online through the WV SOS One Stop Business Portal • Once you register through the WV Secretary of State and the WV Department of Taxation, you need to go to your City Hall for a City Business License

  6. Open a Business Bank Account • This bank account needs to be for your business only. • Track all of your expenses to make tax time easier

  7. Contact Utilities • Do you have a Public Service District? • Think about Water, Sewer, Electric, Internet, Gas, Phone, Garbage

  8. Contact/Contract an Accountant • Take your time and don't rush. Find someone who communicates well, helps you strategize, and maximizes your business's finances. • Ask them to walk you through your Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss Statement, and other statements

  9. Establish Business Credit • Consider getting a Business Credit Card • Can your suppliers offer Net 10 or Net 30? • Make sure suppliers report to the credit bureaus

  10. Create a Website • Get a website developer to build you a website, there are so many changes in regards to aesthetics and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that happen every day • Can your client find your address? Phone number? • Is it fresh, quality content? • Register with Google My Business, Bing, Yelp, and/or Trip Advisor • BEDA's Website Development Program may be able to help you if you are in the City of Bluefield.

 

Jason Roberts shared Region I Planning & Development Council's Revolving Loan Fund (RLF): There are two types of RLF: "Traditional" RLF

  • Funded by local financial institutions and the US Economic Development Administration (EDA)

  • Historically available only to businesses ineligible for conventional financing (too risky, no collateral)

  • Recently defederalized; will be used for a match for EDA recapitalization

  • Businesses must be located within Region I (McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers & Wyoming Counties)

  • The loan review committee is comprised of local bankers and economic development officials CARES Act RLF

  • Open to any business or startup that self-identifies as COVID-impacted

  • Businesses must be located within Region I (McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers & Wyoming Counties)

  • Same loan review committee as "Traditional" RLF

What do I need to apply?

  • Solid Business Plan (Harold can help with this!)

  • Current Financial statements

  • Personal financial statement (you will most likely be asked to give a personal guarantee even if your business is a corporation or a partnership)

  • Pro forma cash flow to demonstrate loan service capacity

  • Copies of federal tax returns from the last three years

Review loan terms and more at www.regiononepdc.org/revolving-loan-fund

 

Additional Resouce: BEDA has an Entrepreneur's Bootcamp program that is free, self-paced, and fast-tracked to help you put together your business plan and structure your business.

 

Let's Get in Touch!


Harold Patterson, Certified Business Coach WV Small Business Development Center | harold.d.patterson@wv.gov | (304) 767-0532

Jason Roberts, Executive Director Region I Planning & Development Council | jasonroberts@regiononepdc.org | (304) 431-7225


Jim Spencer, Executive Director Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority | jspencer@bluewv.org | (304) 902-2332 x 1



Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority Logo (The words "My Bluefield" underneath an outline of the Bluefield, West Virginia Skyline)


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