Starting a Business


Owning a business is the dream of many Americans … starting that business converts your dream into reality. But there is a gap between your dream and reality that can only be filled with careful planning. If you are thinking of starting a business, you should begin by weighing the pros and cons so that you can make a wise decision.

  • How much financial risk can I assume?
  • How do I know if that risk is worth it?
  • Am I sufficiently knowledgeable and experienced in my chosen field?
  • Is there enough demand to sustain my business?
  • Will this fit into my lifestyle?
  • Am I resourceful and organized?
  • How much is it going to cost?
  • Can I support my family financially when cash may be short?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you may want to focus on self evaluation and development before proceeding.

Experience shows that successful entrepreneurs have a solid understanding of their new ventures. This means that they or their management team have operated a similar business before, or that they have unique skills and contacts that promote success.


 STEP 1:

Attend START UP SMART — starting in July!  In this workshop you can explore your idea and business plan, determine if entrepreneurship is right for you and review the steps to starting a small business. If you choose to go forward, you will be connected to the business support resources to take your plan from “maybe” to reality.


Do your research and find resources. Visit the SBA website for a comprehensive guide to help you prepare a business plan, determine if your idea is feasible, identify questions and problems you will face in converting your idea into reality, and to prepare for starting your business.

FREE PUBLICATION:  The Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota provides a concise summary discussion of major issues, questions and concerns that are most commonly raised by those contemplating a business start-up. From the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
View and download the publication (PDF). 



Complete a draft Business Plan. To maximize the value of counseling, clients should prepare a draft business plan before meeting with an SBDC consultant. Without a doubt, preparing an adequate business plan is the most important step in starting a new enterprise. It will be your guide to launching and managing a successful business. It should contain all the pertinent information about your business; it must be well written, factual and organized in a logical sequence. Moreover, it should not contain any statements that cannot be supported. Numerous business plan templates are available on the internet. Start here.



Once you’ve seriously evaluated your goal and you have a draft business plan, it’s time to tap into the expertise of the SBDC.

New clients must complete an  Application for Services and must agree to participate in surveys designed to measure the effectiveness of the SBDC, which helps to ensure funding for the program.

At your initial meeting, your consultant will review your business plan, determine a course of action, and identify areas that each of you will be responsible for completing.

Legal Questions?

Our Legal Clinics for Entrepreneurs are for individuals who own or are starting a small business in Minnesota. You can receive up to 30 minutes of free advice on non-litigation business law matters.  A common question for the volunteer attorneys is what form of business you should choose. By appointment only. Call the SBDC at 507-389-8875.