Are you thinking of starting up a small business in Kansas? If so, you are not alone. In 2012, over 15,000 new businesses opened their doors in the state – 1,500 more than in 2011. Even more encouraging, that number is far more than the 13,354 businesses that were formed in 2007 before the Great Recession struck. In part, this is due to increased economic growth in the state, but perhaps the biggest single factor is that Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill in May 2012 that completely eliminated income taxes for a huge number of small business owners.
If you are planning to start a small business in Kansas, there are a number of things that you need to think about. What sort of business are you going to open? How will you get financing? What resources are available to help you? And, what will you need to do to make sure you get all the appropriate approvals and permits from local and state government?
Let’s start with the type of business that you are going to open. While there are many different options in Kansas, you really need to do your research to find out what types of goods and services are in demand in the state. A good place to get a breakdown of different types of businesses in various areas of Kansas – as well as in neighboring Missouri – is from the Mid-America Regional Council, a non-profit association that promotes regional cooperation within the Kansas City area.
You also need to think about whether your business is going to have a single product or service, or whether you are going to offer a range. For instance, a pest control company Kansas City has a number of choices. However, one of the leading ones, Augustine Services, not only offers pest control but also other residential services such as carpet cleaning, duct cleaning and snow removal. By offering a number of services, they are able to drive more revenues from their customer base, as well as attract customers who might not need pest control services. On the other hand, if you spread yourself too thin at the start, you risk not making progress in any particular area, as well as overextending yourself.
Next, you need find out how you are going to finance your business. You may have enough money to do this yourself, or perhaps you have friends or family who are willing to give you a loan. However, you should never underestimate the amount of money it actually takes to start a small business, so you need to have a clear business plan that identifies what you expect to invest upfront, what your ongoing expenses will be, and how quickly you expect your revenues to start to come in. The chances are that you will find out that you need more money than you actually have when you do this.
There are a number of good resources in Kansas that can help you to figure all of this out. For example, the Kansas Small Business Development Center offers a range of educational programs and training courses, and also provides one-on-one business consulting to startups – as well as to more established businesses. They work with many organizations across the state to deliver high-quality information and help – these include universities, chambers of commerce, city and county governments, banks and government agencies. They also have a specific partnership program with the federal US Small Business Administration (SBA), as well as the Kansas Department of Commerce.
Another good resource when you are thinking of setting up a business is the Kansas Association of Certified Development Companies (KACDC). This is an association of nonprofit corporations throughout Kansas that provide entrepreneurs with information about starting a company, and also help them get access to financing. They will work with you to assess your business potential, and then put together a loan package that meets your financing needs. Typically, this will pull together financing from a number of sources, including the Small Business Administration and other federal financing sources, state programs, local government initiatives, conventional banks and venture capitalists.
If you are looking for more assistance, take a look at the Government of Kansas Business Center website. Not only do they have guidance on things like developing a business plan – including over 500 free templates that you can use – they also provide a directory of no less than 400 other organizations that can help you get your business growing. You will also find lots of other useful information here, such as any licenses or permits you will need to start your business, information about state taxes, and how to file your business with the state.
In addition to financing your business and dealing with all the regulatory requirements, you also need to think about your obligations to any employees that you plan to hire. For example, what is the minimum amount that you need to pay them, what working conditions are you required to provide them with, and do you have to hold their job open for them if they become ill? What are the implications if one of your employees or their partner has a new baby? You might not have to deal with all of these things right away, but it pays to know where you can find the information. Again, the Government of Kansas Business Center is a great place to start for this information, but you may also want to look at other sites such as the IRS or the Kansas Department of Commerce.
Finally, keep in mind that in addition to federal and state government, you will have to deal with the local county or city government in the location where you are opening your business. For instance, there may be local taxes to pay, or you may have to meet specific zoning requirements. You should be able to find your local government offices online, or failing that, look them up in the phone book.