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Small Business Resources
Starting your own business is hard work and a journey filled with uncertainty and apprehension. It can leave you feeling overwhelmed if you don’t know where to turn for answers. The estimated 25.8 million small businesses in the United States have generated 60 to 80 percent of the net new jobs over the last decade. The Chamber understands the importance of these small businesses. In fact, more than half of the Chamber’s 1,400-plus members have four or fewer employees.
The Chamber is committed to your success. We offer relevant and timely programs and resources that will help you through various stages of your business. The resources listed below do not cover every aspect of starting a business. However, they serve as a starting point for the entrepreneur forming a new business in the Rochester area.
SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business,” provides free and confidential business counseling tailored to meet the needs of your small business and your personal objectives. SCORE Chapter #406 also offers workshops, for a modest fee, for both start-up entrepreneurs and in-business small business owners.
SCORE assists people who are starting a new business, buying or selling a business or need counseling on an existing small business. Click here to visit SCORE's Web site. Click here to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a SCORE mentor.
SCORE Business Roundtable
SCORE Business Roundtables, co-sponsored by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, focus on topics that are important to you (from marketing to growth, and business planning to funding opportunities). Each roundtable is facilitated by a SCORE mentor and are designed to help you grow your business network, discuss topics that matter to you, get feedback and helpful advice, learn from the success of others and connect with experts and entrepreneurs. Roundtables will be held the fourth Saturday of each month thru June. For more information, visit the Score website.
Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
- The Small Business Development Center in Rochester provides consulting for business planning, market research and analysis, financial planning and loan packaging.
The SE Minnesota SBDC is an organization supported by the Rochester Community and Technical College and funded by the Small Business Administration, The Department of Employment and Economic Development and various local funding sources. Click here to visit SBDC's Web site.
Starting and Growing a Business in Rochester, Minn.
(a Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) resource)
How will you organize and register your business? What are the regulatory considerations? How will you protect your intellectual property? Is your business plan adequate? Where can you find financing? What are your obligations as an employer? Do you understand your tax responsibilities?
Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) will provide answers to those questions and more - or point you toward the local, county and state offices and agencies that are best suited to help. Click here to visit RAEDI's Starting and Growing a Business Web site.
SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) Toolkit by IBM
IBM's SME Toolkit is a FREE, one-stop, online portal that offers businesses high value content and tools. The toolkit provides information on accounting, finance, business planning, human resources, legal and insurance issues, green business, marketing/sales, operations and technology. The SME toolkit provides the opportunity to build a web page, promote your business in the business directory and join forums to share insights and experiences.
IBM and the International Finance Corporation - a private sector development arm of the World Bank - have partnered to launch the SME Toolikit for Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American and women-owned businesses in the United States. Click here to learn more about IBM's SME Toolkit.
U.S. Small Business Administration
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve competitive free enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.
Click here to visit SBA's Web site.
U.S. Chamber Small Business Library
- The U.S. Chamber’s Small Business Library is a valuable resource where you can find an abundance of ready-to-use business tools to help you get the job done faster and easier, including model business documents, financial spreadsheet templates and official government forms. The library also includes helpful information on getting financing, marketing, taxes, etc.
Click here to visit the U.S. Chamber's Small Business Library.
Economic Development Agencies
For an in depth look at the area's economy, including a community profile, economic outlook, major employers and other useful statistics, visit RAEDI.com, the home of Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc.
Tax Information and IRS Resources
The IRS.gov Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center has useful tax information and services for business owners.The tax center can help whether you are starting, operating or closing a business. You can apply for an Employer Identification Number online or get a form you need. If you want employment tax information, the center has it.
It also offers tools and resources:
• IRS Video Portal. Watch helpful videos and webinars on a variety of topics from filing and paying your taxes to understanding the IRS audit process.
• Online Tools. The Tax Calendar for Small Businesses and Self-Employed features e-filing and e-paying options, alerts for important filing dates and tax tips. You can order a wall calendar or install the IRS CalendarConnector and access important tax dates for small businesses right from your desktop.
• Small Business Events and Educational Products. The online Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop has nine interactive lessons designed to help you understand and meet your federal tax obligations. You can also find free IRS small business workshops and other events planned in your state.
Go to the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center and use the A-Z index to find whatever you need.