Plan My Business

 Research 

Business research reduces your risk and saves you time and money. You’ll gain an edge on your competition with proper research and planning. In order to do that, you should research your business idea fully, become familiar with topics such as taxes and record keeping, marketing, legal matters and financing. Listed below are several resources to help you get started in the right direction.

Business Readiness Assessment

Step 1 of 9: Planning

  1. Do you have a specific goal for starting a business?
  2. Do you know the products/services you will provide?
  3. Do you know why the products/services you will provide are unique?
  4. Have you thought seriously about both the personal time and resources it will take to make your business successful?
  5. Do you have a written plan for managing your business or working with partners, with specific duties and responsibilities?
  6. Do you know if your business will require suppliers, and do you know how to contact them?
  7. Do you know how you will distribute your products/services, and where and how they will be sold?
  8. Do you have a written plan for the business you are planning to start?
  9. Have you discussed your business idea, business plan or proposed business with a business coach or counselor, such as a faculty advisor, SCORE counselor, Small Business Development Center counselor or other economic development advisor?

Step 2 of 9: Requirements

  1. Are you familiar with Kentucky's business registration requirements?
  2. Do you know how to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) for your business?
  3. Do you know what form of legal ownership (sole proprietor, partnership or corporation) is best for your business?
  4. Are you familiar with local business registration requirements for your city and county?
  5. Have you ever taken a course or seminar designed to teach you how to start and manage a small business?

Step 3 of 9: Financials

  1. Do you know how to compute the start-up costs for your business?
  2. Do you have the money that you will need to get your business set up?
  3. Will you need to get a business loan?
  4. Do you know how long you can have to finance your business before you will start making a profit?
  5. Do you understand how a business loan can impact your credit?
  6. Are you comfortable reading your own financial statements and those for your business?
  7. Do you know how to prepare a balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement?
  8. Do you know how to compute the financial 'break-even point' for your business?
  9. Are you familiar with the taxes required of your business or industry in Kentucky?
  10. Do you know the professional services (legal, financial, professional etc.) that your business will require, and do you have a way to cover the start-up and recurring costs?

Step 4 of 9: Insurance

  1. Have you thought about the types of insurance your business will be required or should have to operate?
  2. Do you know if your business will be self-insured or if you will buy into a group plan?
  3. If you have an occupational license or permit, are you familiar with your insurance requirements in Kentucky?

Step 5 of 9: Employers

  1. Do you have a plan for managing your business?
  2. Do you have a written contract or agreement with your business partner that clearly sets up individual responsibilities?
  3. Are you aware of your employer responsibilities in Kentucky?
  4. Do you know how many employees you will need to start up?
  5. Do you have a payroll process, or salary schedule planned for your business?

Step 6 of 9: Permits, Etc.

  1. Do you know if your business will require a special license or permit and how to obtain it?
  2. Are you aware of the annual reporting requirements in Kentucky with the Office of the Secretary of State?
  3. Do you know the requirements for how to renew your professional license or permit?

Step 7 of 9: Marketing

  1. Have you established your business' target market?
  2. Do you know where to find demographic data and information about your customers?
  3. Do you have a customer service strategy in mind or in place?
  4. Do you know how to learn about your business competitors?
  5. Have established how you will price your products or services compared to your competition?
  6. Do you have plans to market your business?
  7. Do you know how long it will take from when an order is made for your products/services to when they are available for your customers?

Step 8 of 9: Location

  1. Do you know where your business will be located?
  2. Have you considered how your location will help or hurt your business?
  3. Have you considered the logistics required to access suppliers and distributors?
  4. Do you know your local zoning requirements or required permits?
  5. Do you want information on business incubators and accelerators?

Step 9 of 9: Industry

  1. Have you ever worked in a business similar to what you are planning to start?
  2. Do you know if your business should have some form of intellectual property protection?
  3. Do you know where to obtain information about regulations and compliance requirements that impact your business?