Welcome to The Learning Center
Maybe you are thinking of going into business for the very first time. Maybe you are in the early stages of starting a business and want to be sure you really know what you're doing. Maybe you already have a business, but it's suffered from the pandemic and you're looking to rethink everything about it - maybe even start over.
Whatever the reason, the Learning Center provides basic information and resource links that can help in that journey. Use it in conjunction with the rest of B&I's online Business Resource Center to learn more about general business requirements, what you should think about, and what types of tools and resources are available in Nevada to help you succeed.
Who doesn't want to be their own boss, make their own rules, and make money while making a difference? Yes, it's exciting to own and operate your own business! But it's also a demanding challenge. Take a minute to answer the questions below - these are a few of the things you should consider before making the leap:
- Do you have a business plan?
- How about a mentor?
- Have you researched your business idea and checked out the competition?
- Is there a store two blocks from where you want to open that is selling the same things?
- Can you eat and pay your bills without receiving a paycheck for potentially several months?
- Are you ready to work 60-80 hours a week or more to make your business work?
- Are you going to be okay not spending as much time with your family and friends?
- Are you looking for a loan to start or grow your business?
Truth be told, these questions don't just apply to newbies, you should consider them each and every time you want to launch, acquire or retool a business. You should also review the following:
Find a Mentor
When you are just getting started you will have lots of questions. Do you have a mentor? Someone that you can talk with to get advice on your business, or help you determine the steps you need to take to start your business. Luckily, there are free resources available to you. The Nevada Small Business Development Center (Nevada SBDC), SCORE, the Small Business Administration (SBA), Nevada Women's Business Center and Nevada Industry Excellence offer free mentoring/counseling services. Nevada SBDC and SCORE also offer tons of training opportunities, most of which are free of charge, or for a minimal fee. Whether you are just starting out or looking to grow you business, Nevada SBDC, SCORE and the SBA can help you. Contact your local office and set up an appointment today.
A business plan is a written description of your business's future, a document that tells what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. A business plan is like a blueprint for your business. Creating a business plan will help you to be a successful small business owner. It will provide a clear picture of where you are and where you want to go. Having a business plan will help if you are seeking a loan to start or grow your business. Your business plan does not have to be 100 pages, it could be 20 pages or less. There are multiple resources available, some of which are free of charge to assist you in writing your business plan.
The business structure you choose will have legal and tax implications. Be sure to do your research and pick the business structure that will work best for you and your business.
- Sole Proprietorship
- S Corporation
- Limited Liability Company
To obtain information on the various types of business structures available visit the Nevada Secretary of State and click on the Business Center. You may also want to look at the Small
Business Administration (SBA).
Once you are ready to register for your business license you can do that online through the SilverFlume with the Nevada Secretary of State.
It is recommended that you seek the advice of an accountant or attorney when choosing your business structure.
Location, Location, Location. We have all heard this a million times. Where we choose to live, shop and dine are often based on location. Where you decide to open up shop could make or break your business. Some things to take into considering when selecting a location:
- Parking: Is there enough customer parking? If there is limited parking or if it is inconvenient to park you may lose customers. There should be ample parking in the area.
- Access: Your business needs to be easily accessible. Sites that are difficult to get in and out of could be a negative for customers.
- Signing: Signs help to create a business identity and help to build name recognition. The closer a building sits to the street the easier it is for customers to read storefront and building signs.
- Traffic: Every business needs traffic driving by its front door. When looking at potential sites you need to evaluate the proximity to nearby intersecting streets, proximity to one or more traffic signals, and physical barriers such as medians.
- Activity: Shopping centers, office buildings, hotels, schools, libraries, churches, grocery stores, drugstores, gas stations, and nearby restaurants, create activity. Activity is what generates customer traffic and sales. Having heavy foot traffic past your front door will draw in customers.
- Visibility: If customers can't see your business and don't know you exist it will be difficult to run a successful business.
It is a good idea to learn about the demographics in and around your desired business location. What is the average income in the area? How many people live in and around the surrounding area? What is the average age in the area?
If you live in Clark County the Las Vegas Clark County Library District offers a great tool called Business Decision. It is a web-based service with both reporting and mapping tools. Find extensive consumer household, market segmentation, and demographic data to use with GIS mapping. The powerful mapping capability will reveal trends, patterns, and opportunities often hidden in tabular data. Create a host of reports and maps and have them emailed to you.
To insure that you are in a location zoned for your type of business, check local city and county ordinances before signing any lease. For home-based businesses, verify if a Home Occupation Permit is required.
How are you going to promote your business? There are lots of cost-effective ways to get the word out. How you market your business will vary depending on your type of business.
- Website-every business should have a website. Even if you can't afford to pay someone to build a fancy website you need to create one yourself.
- Target audience-determine your target audience and market to that group.
- Business Card-you will need business cards when meeting with potential customers...and everyone is a potential customer.
- Social Media-get active on social media including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, create a YouTube video, write a blog, these are creative methods of letting people know about you and your business.
- Create brand recognition.
- Attend networking events such as your local Chamber of Commerce or Rotary Club.
- Build an email database and send out e-marketing blasts.
- Mail a postcard to residents in the area around your business and offer a discount on their first purchase, a free coffee, or free meal.
Are you finances in place? Are you looking for a loan to get started or to grow your business? There are several types of traditional and non-traditional financing available. For more information on access to capital check out our Access to Capital Directory.
It is a good idea to determine your start-up costs. If you are interested in obtaining a small business loan you will want to create financial projections for at least 2 years. Do you have collateral that you are able to offer to get a loan? Looking for a micro-loan under $50,000.00? There are several options available in Nevada.
Every business operating in Nevada must obtain a state business license through the Nevada Secretary of State.
If you plan to use a business name other than your legal name, you must file a Fictitious Firm Name Certificate (Doing Business As - DBA) at your local County Clerk's office. You can find links to County and County Clerk's offices in our Resource Directory tab.
Every new business must check with the State Department of Taxation to determine if a resale permit or an exemption certificate is needed, and if the business is subject to use tax. A deposit or bond may be required. Check with the taxation department for fee payment and other information.
Some types of businesses also require a permit, such as: contractors, child care workers and restaurant/food service industry. For a list of all county/city offices, as well as links to required permits please visit our Resource Directory.
Is your business growing to the point where it is time to hire employees? One of the first things you may want to do is be sure you are in compliance with local Nevada Labor Laws. Labor laws are enforced by the State of Nevada, Office of the Labor Commissioner under Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) CHAPTER 608 - COMPENSATION,
WAGES AND HOURS. For additional information on labor laws, minimum wage, overtime and break laws please visit the Office of the Labor
It is also recommended that you view the hiring employees section in the Resource Directory for additional requirements and information on hiring employees.