Turning a dream into reality requires action. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy framework to assist you as you begin your journey.
We’re Here to Help
The Innovation Center is here to help you through the start-up process by providing tools, training, and one-on-one technical assistance. The first step is attending one of our regularly scheduled Evaluating a Business Idea classes.
Evaluating a Business Idea Class
Have you thought about who your customer is? Is there a market for your product? Are you ready to be a business owner? Have you written a business plan? Can you make money in the business?
This introductory class is offered once a month and will walk you through these questions and more to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your business idea. You will also learn more about the resources available through the Innovation Center.
Register today for the upcoming class.
First Things First
A business plan provides a roadmap for your company and determines the viability of your product or service. It also serves as the primary communication tool for potential investors or partners. If you are looking for financing, a business plan will be required.
Often as you write out the plan you discover strengths and weaknesses in your marketing, sales, and operational strategies. Our detailed instructions make it easy to plug your information in and move to the next phase of starting a business.
Writing a Business Plan
Our Business Plan Outline maps out a plan for each of the following areas:
- Business Summary
- Marketing Plan
- Operations Plan
- Financial Plan
- Request for Financials
This process is not as hard as you think. Be diligent and thorough in your research. Talk to potential customers, observe the market, understand industry trends, and talk with other business owners.
We are happy to assist with industry research and technical assistance. Schedule an appointment by completing our application for services if you’ve not done so already. If you need further assistance with this process, call 918-343-7533.
Once you have a business plan in place, the Innovation Center’s team of specialists can help you review the plan and give you feedback.
Show Me the Money
One crucial aspect of your plan will be the financial projections. There are three key sets of numbers you should gather and compile into projected financial statements.
- Money projected to come in (sales forecast)
- Money projected to go out (expenses)
- Start-up costs
Completing Financial Projections:
- Develop a sales forecast, income statement, cash flow projection and balance sheet based on the three sets of numbers described above.
- Download the form, read the instructions (Excel) and enter the numbers in the appropriate areas
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Now it’s time to get the ball rolling! You have a plan and your numbers are in place, now you need to consider your business structure, filing your business name, licensing, and taxes.
There are number of local and statewide agencies that can support you through this process.
Rogers State Universtiy (RSU) Innovation Center was established to foster economic development and to address the educational needs of business and industry in northeast Oklahoma. The center assists entrepreneurs who need assistance in the following areas when starting or expanding their business: business plans, financial planning, management, production, workforce training, incubator space and business workshops. The Innovation Center can be reached by calling (918) 343-7533 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claremore Industrial & Economic Development Authority (CIEDA) is an economic development organization trust that facilitates the creation of wealth and new investment in Claremore through business attraction, retention and expansion efforts. Their offices can be reached by calling (918) 341-4755.
Rogers County Industrial Development Authority (RCIDA) is a public trust created for the purpose of assisting businesses to develop, provide jobs and create economic, cultural and educational benefits for the residents of Rogers County. RCIDA will provide assistance in the following areas: facility location and site searches, economic and demographic information, real estate and equipment finance, business start-up programs and small business development. Contact RCIDA by phone at (918) 343-8959.
Northeast Technology Business Development The Business Development Program assists business owners with their endeavor to increase sales revenue, achieve optimum profitability, and contend with the vast complexity of government regulations. Tuition for an entire academic year of the Business Development Program is $125. Clients are welcome to co-enroll their spouse or partner to participate in the classes and/or the consultations for an additional $25. Contact NE Tech by phone at (918) 825-5555.
Oklahoma Department of Commerce - OKStartUp.com is a one-stop shop for entrepreneurial assistance in the state of Oklahoma. You can sort through business licensing options, register the business, find service providers and explore financing options.
Tulsa Chamber Sourcelink Resource Navigator provides resource suggestions based on small business needs throughout the Tulsa metro area.
Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology – OCAST is Oklahoma’s agency for the development, commercialization and transfer of technology. OCAST offers numerous statewide programs to facilitate commercialization including SBIR assistance and student intern grant programs.
i2E – i2E, Inc. is a private not-for-profit corporation focused on growing technology-based companies in Oklahoma.
Rural Enterprises, Inc. – REI Oklahoma cultivates Oklahoma’s economic opportunities with offices throughout Oklahoma to help entrepreneur navigate resources through lending, training and technical assistance.
Oklahoma Small Business Development Center – OSBDC assists small business owners with advising, workshops and technical assistance.
- Debt financing
- Equity financing
Debt FinancingDebt financing is the most often used and requires going through lending institutions, friends, family or investors. Many entrepreneurs first think of the Small Business Administration (SBA), which has many loan programs available. It’s important to note that the SBA does not finance businesses, the entrepreneur must go through a local lending institution first. It’s also important to note the SBA does not offer grants to individual business owners to start or grow a business.
Here’s a typical lender’s checklist for small business financing:
- Completed loan application from the financial institution
- Business financial statements – to support your application and demonstrate your ability to repay the loan, prepare and include the following financial statements:
- Profit and Loss (P&L) Statement – this must be current within 90 days of your application. Also include the last 3 years if available.
- Projected financial statements – for start-up businesses, include a detailed, one-year projection of income and expenses.
- Company debt schedule
- Income tax returns – include signed personal and business federal income tax returns of your business’ principals for previous three years.
- Ownership and affiliations - include a list of names and addresses of any subsidiaries and affiliates
- Resumes – include personal resumes for each principal
- Business Overview and history – provide a brief history of the business and its challenges. For start-up businesses, include a Business Plan.
- Business lease – include a copy of the business lease or note from the landlord giving the proposed lease terms
- Copy of proposed purchase contracts, if applicable
Anyone considering debt financing should adequately prepare in advance and expect to take at least several months to go through the process. Existing businesses should ensure they are keeping their books and financials up to date.
- i2E – Innovation to Enterprise – is a private, not for profit corporation focused on growing high-growth companies In Oklahoma and making a positive impact on the state’s economy.
- Small Business Innovation Research program - The SBIR Program encourages small businesses to explore their technological potential by reserving a specific percentage of federal research and development funds for small businesses. The program services to fund the critical start up and development stages for a technology and encourages commercialization of the technology, product or service. For more information on this, visit the SBA website for the SBIR program.
- Small Business Technology Transfer Program - The STTR program reserves a specific percentage of federal R&D funding for award to small business and nonprofit research institution partners. For more information on this, visit the SBA website for the STTR program.
- Oklahoma’s small technology and manufacturing firms have much to gain from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. OCAST provides both financial support and expertise to help qualifying firms develop their federal proposals for SBIR/STTR and other programs. The program defrays a portion of the proposal preparation costs for qualifying firms, providing up to $3,000 to help offset the costs of developing a federal proposal. OCAST also provides critical bridge funding between Phase I and Phase II of these federal programs, in amounts up to $25,000. In addition to being the designated state agency for the SBIR/STTR programs, OCAST provides funding opportunities through several of their own grant programs.