Most entrepreneurs and new business owners have questions about writing a business plan, understanding business structures, raising capital and conducting market research for your specific industry. The questions and answers below include links to additional helpful information.
1. Where can I find information on writing a business plan?
Visit the SBA Small Business Planner for writing a Business Plan . Our consultants are here to assist you in writing your tailored business plan or reviewing a rough draft. We guide your efforts to ensure that you are on the right track to creating the roadmap to your business's potential. Contact us at SBDCinfo@shsu.edu for further assistance.
2. What is a DBA and do I need one?
A DBA (doing business as or assumed name) is required for all Texas businesses in every Texas county where you transact business. You can file for a DBA at the County Clerk's office in the County where the business is to be based as well as surrounding counties, if needed. Note: Filing your business name with the County Clerk's Office does not mean that your business name is registered in every county in the state or with the Secretary of State.
3. What is an EIN number?
You need an Employer Identification number if you will be paying a salary to one or more employees or forming a partnership or corporation as a legal structure. An application form is available from the Internal Revenue Service online. If you are a sole proprietor without employees you can use your Social Security Number.
4. Do I need a sales tax permit?
If you will be selling tangible personal property or some types of labor or services, then yes. Due to several new services falling under sales tax rules, it is advisable to contact your district comptroller's office. Sales tax permits are handled by the State Comptroller’s Office. Note: Our SBDC and other SBDC Network centers regularly offer free New Texas Taxpayer Seminars. Visit our workshop registration page.
5. What kind of business organization do I need?
Different legal structures such as a Limited Liability Corporation, S Corporation, C Corp, and Sole Proprietorship all have different requirements for paying taxes to the state. For a more detailed explanation of the different organizational structures and for the applications necessary visit the Secretary of State Corporations Section. You may also want to speak with an attorney or CPA to discuss your particular business and the most appropriate structure.
6. Are there grants for my business?
If you are starting a for-profit business, there generally aren’t any grants. Businesses are typically started with the business owner’s own capital or money from friends and family. A small business loan is another option. The Sam Houston State University Small Business Development Center can help you determine your eligibility for a bank loan and assist you in putting together a loan application. Visit the Small Business Administration website for information regarding finance start-up.
7. How do I obtain demographic information?
Visit the U.S. Census Bureau website’s American FactFinder section for 2000 actual data. The Census Bureau also has population projections by age and ethnicity. The Sourcebook of Zip Code Demographics offers projections based on income and spending potential.
8. How do I find about trends in my specific industry?
Encyclopedia of American Industries has industry statistics, overviews, and leading companies.
9. How do I find an association for my business and what can they do for me?
Look through the Encyclopedia of Associations, available at libraries, or search on a specific ‘association’ on Google. Trade associations usually have industry statistics and other information to help you with your market research and strategy.
10. How do I find out about specific franchises?
Bond’s Franchise Guide or the International Franchise Association, Opportunities Franchise Guide have detailed descriptions on a variety of franchises. You can then visit the specific franchise websites for more information.