New Business Assistance
Ashland Area Development Corp. (AADC) staff gladly provides assistance in a multitude of ways, such as providing information, arranging introductions, reviewing business plans, assisting with real estate searches, planning and zoning issues, and financing needs.
Where should you begin? We believe creating a business plan = planning for success. A business plan can be simple or complex, but is an important part of the process of starting a business. AADC has created a BUSINESS PLAN WORKBOOK which will help you develop your business plan. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a very helpful step-by-step tool to guide you in the creation of your business plan. You'll find many resources are available online such as Starting and Managing a Business on the SBA website. Another educational resource is the Ashland/Bayfield County Inventors & Entrepreneurs Organization quarterly Business on Stage programs which feature presentations from local successful business people who share their experiences about developing and growing a business.
Starting and managing a business takes motivation, desire, and talent, plus research and planning. Taking time up front to explore, evaluate and plan business and personal goals will greatly increase your chance for success. Creating a comprehensive and well thought-out business plan provides a road map and is a valuable tool which will help you to think through important issues and establish milestones to gauge your progress. Consider why you want to go into business, your qualifications, and how much time you can devote to managing your business. Is the proposed business a good fit for you and your family? What are your goals and what sacrifices will be necessary to achieve those goals?
Take advantage of online resources, a few of which are listed on this page and others are listed in our Resource Center.
As you take the following steps and create your business plan, be sure to include an action timetable.
- Choose a business name. Marketing starts with creating your business name. A business name and logo should create an image for customers that will remain for the life of your business. It's very important to choose a business name that is easy to remember and helps to market your business. The more simple, appropriate and descriptive a name you choose for your business, the less you will need to fix it in the minds of your prospective customers.
- Create a team of financial and legal advisors. They will help you determine which bookkeeping method and legal structure is right for your business. Register your business name, establish business bank accounts and obtain as necessary a business tax identification number, licenses and permits.
- What skills and experience do you bring to the proposed business? What role do you expect to play in the company and how much time will you be able to devote to building the business?
- Describe your business product or service and the market it would serve. Do market research to determine if you can fill a need or create a demand for your business. Consider what differentiates you and any advantage you may have over existing competitors. How will you be unique or provide a better product or service? Have you market tested your product or service?
- Choose a business location. Will you buy or lease? Create an operating plan. Determine what equipment, supplies or infrastructure is needed and estimate availability and costs.
- Consider staffing needs. Will you have employees and how many? What will you pay these employees and is it competitive with area wages? Are the employee skills you need available or will training be necessary?
- Create a marketing strategy. How will you draw customers to you? What will promotional costs be?
- Calculate all costs, including labor, and determine if you can make an acceptable profit.
- Realistically project income and expenses for the next three years. Consider your financial resources. How much do you plan to personally invest in the business? What potential sources of financing do you have? How will you fund your operations?
- How will you compensate yourself? Will you and your family have sufficient resources to live on while establishing the business? Understand your responsibilities as an employer and what happens to the business in the event of failure, divorce, disability or death.
AADC staff is available and will gladly assist you in finding the resources you need to be successful. Give us a call at (715) 682-8344!