As you read about starting a business in Buffalo, you’ll learn about the many steps it takes to be successful:
- Getting loans to build your company
- Creating a business plan to outline future goals
- Finding the right property to fit your needs.
Are you considering starting or relocating a business in Buffalo? As a growing city with the infrastructure to support the burgeoning industry, Buffalo, NY, is a great place to set up shop. However, there’s a lot to do before you open your doors. If you plan to make Queen City your headquarters, here are six steps for success.
1. Look Into Legal Requirements
Depending on your industry, there may be some legal requirements you have to meet:
- Age restrictions
To ensure you start on the right foot, you need to research the various federal, state, and local ordinances. Failure to do so can lead to fines, closure, or even jail time.
DBA is short for “doing business as.” When you file a DBA, you make a legal record of names your company uses that are not its legal name.
Why is this important? Your company’s legal name appears on official documents and is set when you initially register your business. However, your customers may know your establishment under a different name, which you want to use for advertising purposes. For example, if you’re a sole proprietor who owns a restaurant, your business’s legal name is your legal name, but your customers refer to it by the restaurant name.
2. Create a Business Plan
Now that you’ve got the legalities in hand, it’s time to draw up a business plan. This plan serves as an outline for your business model and includes legal, budget, and marketing information. While you can’t fill in all the blanks, it’s essential you be as detailed as possible. After all, a business plan isn’t just for company use — lenders and potential investors will want to see it as well.
One of the most critical parts of your business plan (and one that financial benefactors will be particularly interested in) is the budget. You want to have a full accounting of your assets and predicted expenditures. You should show how your company will make a profit.
3. Find the Right Location
There are plenty of beautiful buildings in Buffalo, NY, but which is right for you? The first thing you need to think about when searching for commercial property is location. As you look at potential places, ask yourself these questions:
- What amenities are nearby?
- Is the area convenient for commuting?
- What’s the area’s reputation?
You also need to think about what your company needs. For example, if you plan to run an office, you need enough space for cubicles and utilities that can support high-speed internet. As you make your list, prioritize each item. That way, if you don’t find your dream space, you can still get a building that checks the most important boxes.
While customers may come to you if they like what you offer, it’s best to go to the customers when you’re first starting. That means doing some research about the best areas for your industry.
In some cases, it’s beneficial to set up shop where other companies have already made a mark. For example, if you want to open a bar, you may want to be in the thick of the Central Business District, where there’s plenty of nightlife. On the other hand, it can be advantageous to make your base where no one else is offering similar products or services.
4. Get Financing
In some cases, entrepreneurs can launch a business with their own funds. However, the vast majority of start-ups have to look for capital elsewhere.
That’s where financing comes in. The good news is, there are plenty of grants and programs for starting a business in Buffalo. With careful research of these resources, you can get competitive financing that helps your business grow in the long term.
Small Business Administration
While the Small Business Administration doesn’t lend directly, it does guarantee SBA loans offered by financial institutions. These loans are designed specifically for the needs of small business owners who don’t have the resources of large corporations. If you’re a start-up with good credit, you may qualify for SBA financing.
5. Network With Local Business Owners
There are many beloved businesses in Buffalo, NY, especially where taverns and restaurants are concerned. If you plan to join the fold, you should make an effort to network with local owners. These connections can make all the difference during the first few years.
For example, you should get to know local suppliers with contacts in your industry. You may also be able to join associations that put you in touch with vendors, manufactures, and lenders.
Entrepreneurial Assistance Program
The EAP offers a wide variety of resources:
- Assistance refining your business plan
- Assistance accessing business support networks
- Access to a web-based mentor platform called Business Mentor NY
There are several Entrepreneurial Assistance Centers in New York state, including one that serves Erie County.
6. Hire Employees
Finally, you need to find people who can help you make your business successful. Hiring can be challenging if you’re in a new place, but there are plenty of resources to help you find qualified workers. Buffalo, NY, draws many people seeking employment, which means you have a generous pool to dip into.
Buffalo Employment and Training Center
If you’re having difficulty recruiting qualified candidates, you can partner with the Buffalo Employment and Training Center. This establishment offers career counseling and skill development courses to individuals looking for jobs, making it a bridge between employees and employers.
Are you planning to start a business or move it to Buffalo, NY? If so, Ellicott Development can help you find the perfect building. We own real estate across Buffalo and offer a wide range of property types. Because we manage our own properties, we can guarantee prompt assistance and well-kept spaces. To learn more or look for your new office, give us a call at 716-854-0060 or contact us online.
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