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Do you want to start a small business?

We're the organization you can turn to for free, confidential counseling. 

If you or your business reside in New York, the SBDC can maneuver you around the obstacles to success.  Through direct counseling, we provide a range of management and technical assistance services.

Here are some examples of the types of assistance provided:

  • business plan development
  • accounting
  • marketing
  • financial planning
  • cost-analysis
  • legal business structures
  • loan packaging
  • e-commerce
  • entering international markets
  • employee management

I want to start a small business – where do I begin?

This can certainly be a daunting question. First, make an appointment to receive counseling, free of charge, from your local SBDC. Among other talents, our advisors are adept at helping you write a business plan, the "roadmap" for your venture. Assistance from an SBDC is available to anyone interested in beginning a small business for the first time, who cannot afford the services of a private consultant.

In addition, the Division for Small Business of New York’s Empire State Development has helpful resources for aspiring entrepreneurs in New York State.

I’ve made an appointment with an SBDC advisor. Now what?

  • Write down your questions. Bring a list of your questions and concerns to your appointment.
  • Review your finances. Know what resources you have to invest in the business, and how much income you need.
  • Don't make any rash decisions. Meet with an advisor before making financial or life changing commitments (like signing a lease or quitting your day job). Starting a business can be more complex and take longer than you expect.
  • Set a goal for your meeting.
  • Have a vision. Your advisor can help you get there, but you have to know where you want to go.

I’ve heard of grant money being available to start my business – how can I find out more about it?

Unless your business involves the development of new technology or is a non-profit organization, it is difficult to find a grant to start or expand a small business.

Even though many publications and talk shows publicize grants to small businesses, there are only certain types of government grants available to small businesses.  

The SBA's Loans & Grants Search Tool is a good place to begin a search for grants or government financing programs, including programs for specific industries, minority or veteran business owners, or geographic areas. Find additional grant and financing resouces here.

If that's the case, then – where is the money?

Keep in mind that the SBDC is not a lending institution. However, each SBDC in New York has cultivated a relationship with their local banking community. While that is no guarantee that your loan will be approved, advisement from an SBDC counselor might better position your company to get the funds you need.

Where do I find information on permits and licenses?

Your first visit should be the NYS License Center Business Wizard website. Also, the New York State Division of Licensing Services will be helpful regarding certain types of businesses. NYC Business Express can help New York City businesses learn about relevant permits and licenses.

Where in New York can I register my business as a corporation?

You should visit the site of the Division of Corporations within the New York Department of State.  They’ll have answers to your questions.

Where can I obtain a Federal ID number?

Also called a "Federal Tax Number" or "Employer Identification Number," you may apply for an EIN in various ways, including online, through the IRS website.