Top 10 Questions to Think About Before You Start

If you liked your answers from “Is Starting Your Own Business for You” and you think you are ready, then get your notepad, IPad, computer or something to record your answers to our Top 10 questions to think about before you start a business!

  1. Why do I want to start a business?
  2. Am I a risk-taker? What are my risk limits?
  3. What kind of business do I want?
  4. How much time am I willing to spend daily and weekly to get my business started?
  5. Do I have money to invest in the start-up of the business and cover my living expenses?
  6. How will I cover my expenses if the business makes no money in the first year?
  7. How long do I have until I start making a profit?
  8. Is my credit good?
  9. Is there anyone to help me start the business?
  10. Who will be encouraging me in my business?

Starting Your Business

Affordable Care Act Resources

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act or ACA) enacted comprehensive health insurance reforms designed to ensure Americans have access to quality, affordable health insurance. Learn what the law means for small businesses.

Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act

NOT every business has to participate …

The Affordable Care Act includes a variety of measures specifically for small businesses that help lower premium cost growth and increase access to quality, affordable health insurance. Depending on whether you are self-employed, an employer with fewer than 25 employees, an employer with fewer than 50 employees, or an employer with 50 or more employees, different provisions of the Affordable Care Act may apply to you.

Learn about the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act based on the size of your business by calling the OKSBDC and working with our team of counselors to help determine your next move

Eligible Small Businesses can get tax credits up to 35% of premium (so they still pay 65%)

SHOP = Small Business Health Options Program
Health Insurance Marketplaces (Exchange)

Use site to enroll and use SHOP for package deals and benefits

ACA exempts all firms that have fewer than 50 employees! (Nearly 96% of all firms in US) – from any employer shared responsibility requirements.

Health coverage is tax deductible.

Size Standards Tool –Find Out Fast if You Qualify for Government Contracts

In order to be eligible to sell to the government and compete for small business “set-aside” contracts, small business owners had to rummage through various rules and matrices to find out if their business is truly “small” according to SBA size standards. Now, with this new Size Standards Tool, follow three simple steps to cut through the guesswork and quickly find out eligibility.

HUBZone Document Checklist

Small Business Certifications-March 2013

Disaster Assistance

Our team of counselors is ready to help when disaster strikes. Our services include assessing economic injury, reviewing options for financial help, and helping you create ways to keep cash flowing in your business.

Emergency Preparation

Business continunity planning is extremely important no matter the size of your business. The best way to reduce the impact of any disaster is to have your plan in place now and ready to put it into action when the unthinkable hits your business.

How will you protect your records? Who do you call when your location is damaged? What are the first steps to take to reduce your risk?

All of these questions can be answered by our team of counselors working with you to look at your current operations and helping you to put into place a continuity preparedness plan for your business.



General Business Questions

Do I have to register my business name?

It is not required but certainly recommended.

How do I register my small business?

By going to the Oklahoma Secretary of State website (

How do I determine if the name I choose is okay to use?

By going to the Oklahoma Secretary of State website (
And you can do name availability search and see if the name is available.

Do I need a business license?

It depends on the business nature.

What type of business structure do you recommend for a new business?

There are four primary legal forms of business from which to choose from: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, and incorporation (both C-corp and Subchapter S.)

A sole proprietorship is owned by an individual (or a married couple) and it may have one or more employees. Operating a sole proprietorship means that the owner is personally responsible for all liabilities of the business. Also, the owner is taxed on a personal level for all profits generated by the business.

A partnership occurs when two or more people agree to share ownership of a business. This form of business allows the partners to share complimentary skills and resources. The owners share, and pay personal taxes on, the profits of the business.Additionally, each partner is individually responsible for the liabilities of the business.

Another option is to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). This legal form is a combination of the corporate form (providing limited liability) and the partnership form (allowing you to be taxed as in a partnership).

The corporate entity is created when your business registers with the Secretary of State's Bureau of Corporation. This enables the owners to take advantage of the limited liability aspect of the corporate ownership and to raise equity by selling shares of the company. For profit entities have the option to choose either a C-corporation or Subchapter S-corporation status. If you become a C-corporation, the corporate profits are taxed, and then the owners will be taxed on their share of the profits and compensation (i.e. dividends and wages) received from the corporation.

Subchapter S-corporation does not pay a corporate tax. If you have any questions regarding these forms of business entities, please feel free to call your local Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers.

What type of insurance should I obtain for my small business?

When you start your own business, there are various types of business insurance that should be considered essential and others that, while not essential, may be desirable and add to the security of a business. Most businesses will require some type of general liability insurance and many businesses obtain an "umbrella policy" that covers a variety of risks including personal property, liability, fire, theft, and medical payments.

If you have employees, you will need to obtain workers compensation insurance. Additionally, if your business owns or uses vehicles for business purposes, automobile coverage is necessary. Beyond this, what other forms of insurance obtained depends on what risks are incurred in operating your business, and what kind of supplementary coverage you want to employ to provide additional security for your business.

The following is a list of certain types of insurance that you may need to consider: Key Person Insurance, Flood Insurance, Fidelity and Surety Bonds, Boiler and Machinery Insurance, Product Liability, Business Interruption Insurance, Overhead Expense, Disability Insurance, and Life Insurance. The best course of action is to contact an insurance agent, or several agents, for a consultation regarding the appropriate types of insurance for you and your business.

Do I need a sales tax number and how do I register for one?

It depends on the business nature and if you are a retailer or not, you can apply for one through the Oklahoma Tax Commission website or by mailing in a request form.

How do I finance the start-up of a small business?

To determine financing needs, you should first prepare a business plan with a complete set of financial projections including a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. With a properly completed business plan, you will have identified your funding needs. Keep in mind that most small business start-ups are funded through personal resources including savings, equity or loans from family, friends or other investors, home equity loans, cash value of life insurance, or other personal resources.

Banks will lend to some business start-ups if they are satisfied with your business plan, your level of equity investment, the collateral you have to pledge to the loan, your credit history and experience. If your request is denied, ask your bank if they would consider the loan with a guarantee from the Small Business Administration (SBA)

What initial cost should I consider?

Initial costs are one-time expenses that are needed to set your business in motion. There's no way you can start and build a successful small business if you don't have the funds to back it up. Start by making a list of ALL your initial costs, no matter how small or insignificant.

  • Incorporation
  • Legal fees
  • Accounting
  • Licenses and permits
  • Rent and security deposit
  • Signage
  • Transportation
  • Insurance
  • Building/remodeling
  • Supplies
  • Initial inventory
  • Furniture and equipment
  • Installations
If I am self-employed, how do I report my taxes?

Self-employed business owners are required to pay state and federal income taxes, Social Security, and Medicare based on the profits generated by the business. Profits in a proprietorship are determined before you draw compensation from the business (i.e. your draw or wages are not considered an expense of the business.) Once your liability for federal income tax and self- employment FICA exceeds $500, you will need to deposit the tax payments to the IRS (whether this happens in any one quarter or combination of quarters.)

What is a business plan?

A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals and serves as your firm's resume. It describes the products and services you will sell, the customers to whom you will sell them, the production, management, and marketing activities needed to produce your offerings, and the projected profit or loss that will result from your efforts.

How long will it take to write a business plan?

A well thought-out business plan generally takes anywhere from six months to a year to complete, but it can be less depending on how committed you are to the business, and how much time you are willing to spend on writing your plan. Your business plan is a joint venture with your consultant.

Why do I need to define my business in detail?

It may seem silly to ask yourself, “What business am I really in,” but some owner-managers have gone broke because they never answered that question. One watch storeowner realized that most of his time was spent repairing watches while most of his money was spent selling them. He finally decided he was in the repair business and discontinued the sales operations. His profits improved dramatically.

Can you name a good reference book that can be used in the creation of a business plan for a restaurant?

The National Restaurant Association, the trade/industry group for the restaurant industry, has a number of publications you may find useful. You can find more information on these publications on the National Restaurant Association's website at or by calling (800) 482-9122.

What are some resources to view and download various business forms?


What is a feasibility study?

This is a preliminary business plan used to answer the question, “Should I do that?” It includes facts and projections that outline what will happen if something is done. It allows a businessperson to look at probable results before anything is done to produce those results. These studies can be brief or lengthy.

Counseling Questions

How do I sign up for your service?

You can sign up for counseling or training by going to and clicking Register for Free Counseling.

What is the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center (OKSBDC)?

OKSBDC assists small business owners and new entrepreneurs by providing no charge, one-on-one business management advising, business management workshops and business technical assistance. OKSBDC advises business owners in many areas including financial analysis, capital sources, business planning, operations, industry research, international trade, commercial financing, human resources, accounting, competitive market studies, import/export assistance, government contracting opportunities, information technology and economic and business data modeling and analysis.

We serve all 77 counties in Oklahoma.

Why should I use your service?

Because you will have access to 20+ professionals and their expertise, at no cost. You will also be able to take advantage of state of the art tools that OKSBDC possesses in their tool box. Business Advisors have the skills, knowledge and tools to help existing business owners grow and reach the next levels of success. We also strive to get new businesses on their feet and into the business world successfully.

What will a business counselor help me with?

Our business counselors provide assistance with business and marketing plans, financial and cash flow analysis, accounting and record keeping, marketing and sales, start-up and buying or selling a business, market research, loan packaging and capital access, operations and personnel management, international trade, sources of credit and financing and more. It should be noted that the counselor will not do the work for you. They will certainly help you each step of the way if that is what it takes to make your business a success.

What can I expect from a meeting with a business counselor?

The business counselor will ask pertinent questions, listen to your needs and tailor the session around your specific experience and concerns.

Does the Oklahoma SBDC charge for its services?

No. Oklahoma SBDC is a free service to Oklahoma small businesses and future business owners.

What are hours of operation?

Monday- Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Do I have to make an appointment?

Yes, to set up an appointment call your local SBDC or register online at

What do I need to bring to my first appointment?

You are not required to bring anything but your thoughts, questions, ideas, etc. However, if you have information and/or materials that you think will help the counselor better understand your situation/business then bring them. If there is something in particular that the counselor would like to see, they will be sure to let you know before the appointment.

Where are the counselors located?

Refer to the OKSBDC website. (

Is there limits on how many times I can see a business counselor?

There are no limits.

Will information I discuss with an SBDC counselor or staff be kept confidential?

Yes. All information between clients and councelors will be kept confidential.

Are your counselors qualified to help me?

Our requirements are:
1. Bachelor’s degree
2. Business ownership experience

Does the Oklahoma SBDC provide financing or grants?

No. Oklahoma SBDC will help you with loan applications. It is rare for a for-profit business to be awarded a grant, however, we have had one business find and receive a grant.

Will you write my business plan?

No. Our counselors will assist you in the writing of your business plan. We strive to give you the resources and knowledge to develop your business plan.

Do you provide Legal assistance or advice?

No, we do not provide Legal assistance or advice. Consult your attorney.

Do you host workshops, seminars or courses?

Yes, we do host workshops and seminars. Some of our courses are online and can be accessed through our website.

How is the Oklahoma SBDC funded?

Through the state and federal government

Is the Oklahoma SBDC the same as the SBA?

No, the Oklahoma SBDC is funded by the SBA but is not the same entity.

Starting a business

Are there any grants or loans available?

Not through the OKSBDC

How do I get a business loan?

By completing a well written business plan and filing through appropriate channels

Where can I learn about starting my own business?

A great place to start is with the Oklahoma SBDC workshops and online trainings.

What basic skills do I need to run a business?

The basic skills include a working knowledge of record keeping, financial management, personnel management, market analysis, breakeven analysis, product or service knowledge, federal, state and local tax knowledge, legal structures, and communication skills

What business should I choose?

Usually, the best business for you is the one in which you are most skilled and interested. As you review your options, you may wish to consult local experts and businesspersons about the growth potential of various businesses in your area. Matching your background with the local market will increase your chance of success

How long will it take to start a small business?

As long as it takes you to complete your feasibility study, prepare your business plan, gather your money, buy what you need to buy, and arrange your business operation affairs. This could take a few weeks or many months. If you have difficulty with any of these items, the time to learn and solve problems must be added

Should I buy a franchised business to start?

Approximately 40 percent of present-day retailing in the US is done through the franchise method, which makes owning a franchise an appealing option. There are definite advantages to starting out with a franchised business, but it is important to be knowledgeable about the different kinds of franchising options available to you. Some offer fair value for what you pay and others are rip-offs. Get legal or business counseling advice before purchasing a franchise.

Should I buy an existing business to start?

The advantage of buying an existing business is that it is already established in the market. It has customers and is carrying on business. You avoid the hassle and expense of starting from scratch. The trick is making it fit your desires and capabilities. Is it the kind of business you want? Can you afford it? Can you operate it?

How do I start a home-based business?

If you are entertaining the idea of having a home-based business, contact your city or county planning and zoning department, depending on whether you live within city limits or not. Contact them before you start the business, not after. They will inform you about the requirements for a home-based business.


What does marketing involve?

Marketing is one of your most important organizing tools. There are four basic aspects of marketing, often called the “Four P's”:

  • Product – the item or service you sell.
  • Price – the amount your charge for your product or service.
  • Promote – the ways you inform your market as to who, what, and where you are.
  • Place – the channels you use to take the product to the customer.

As you can see, marketing encompasses much more than just advertising or selling. For example, a major part of marketing involves researching your customers: What do they want? What can they afford? What do they think? Your understanding and application of the answers to such questions play a major role in the success or failure of your business.

Should I have a web page?

Yes, every business should have some form of website, whether it is a blog, Google Business page, or a standard dynamic website. A website is an essential marketing tool for a business, and one that will allow your customers to obtain important information about your business instantly on the web. There are several free websites editing programs online- such as Weebly, Wordpress, and Wix- that have drag-and-drop systems allowing users to easily create and update their own websites.

How do I obtain a domain name for my business?

A domain name can be purchased online from one of several different domain name companies. One of the most popular domain companies is GoDaddy. Most domain names can be purchased for as little as $15 a year. Once purchased, you can connect that domain name to your website’s hosting company, allowing your customers to find your website by typing in the domain name into the browser bar.

What is the most important item to include on my website for international exporting?

A minimum order free on board quote or MO FOQ

What is my market potential?

The principles of determining market share and market potential are the same for all geographic areas. First, determine a customer profile (who) and the geographic size of the market (how many). This is the general market potential. Knowing the number and strength of your competitors (and then estimating the share of business you will take from them) will give you the market potential specific to your enterprise.

How can I find profiles on typical industry customers?

Trade Associations: Trade and industry groups often conduct extensive market research and make this research available to members. While they often focus on national or statewide trends, you might find local statistics through a group's local chapter. The SBDC can also provide relevant, up-to-date information on your industry.

Local Chamber of Commerce: Chambers also conduct market research. They primarily focus on economic development issues in key industries.

How do I find suppliers for my business?

Contact your local SBDC for information concerning suppliers. Our consultants have information concerning international, governmental, and private suppliers for your business. Another option is to attend trade shows. Trade shows are a great place to track down suppliers and wholesalers. One on-line resource for tracking trade shows is the Trade Show News Network at

What are some resources to help with marketing research?

SBDCnet Industry Links –  resources by industry (click on the "Industry Information Links" in the blue bar)
Industry Resources Reports – guide to industry information, research, and analysis for over 400 industries
County Business Patterns – lists establishments, payroll and employee size for all U.S. counties by SIC
Northern Light Market Strategic Research Portals - market and competitive intelligence
BizMiner  – reports on industry, market and financial trends by size of business  –  search U.S. markets by SIC code – databases of market research reports

Human Resources

How can I find and keep qualified employees?

Two of the greatest challenges for any business are hiring the right people and keeping them. Employees, and, more importantly, their contributions, are a business' most important asset. So how do you go about finding, selecting, and retaining the best people?

Decide What You Want – Before beginning your hiring efforts, know what you want. One way to list the skills, experience, and other attributes you are looking for is in categories of:

  • Must-have: skills you do not have the time, money, or desire to teach but which are absolutely necessary to do the job.
  • Should-have: sets of skills in which the candidate should have some degree of knowledge or skill.
  • Nice-to-have: what you'd love to have but can live without.

Search in the Right Places – Basically, the harder it is for you to find the skills you need, the wider the net you must cast. You may choose from local media, the state's employment center, and using the Internet. View any employment ad as a marketing tool for your company, making it as appealing as possible. Put a headline on your ad that describes the absolutely best benefit you can offer. Be sure to add your must-have list of skills, experience, and education. To get qualified people without having to weed through a pile of applications, be specific about what you say and very selective about where you place the ad.

Don't underestimate the value of networking. You may choose to ask your best employees if they know someone who would fit into your organization and might be interested in joining or use your network in the community to find employees.

Conduct a Thorough Interview – Give the applicant a complete and accurate picture of your business. In today's tight job market, you have to sell both yourself and your company. Through your questions, cover the job's must-haves, should-haves, and nice-to-haves and be sure to obtain a clear picture of where the candidate is in relation to these attributes. Remember, good questions lead to good answers-the more you learn about each applicant's experience and skills, the better prepared you are to make your decision. If you find yourself talking as much or more than the candidate, stop – you only learn about the candidate when you are listening. Don't be afraid to press a candidate for more information – it is then that you may learn important information.

Hire the Right Person – Some tips for choosing who to hire are:

  • Go with your gut
  • Accomplishments are what really matter
  • Attitude counts
  • Be objective

Three critical elements in hiring the right people for the job are: skills match, company fit, and job match. Be objective in determining which candidates have the best overall fit.

In terms of wages, try to be a leader in your market – think about the cost of paying a little more versus the cost of turnover (roughly 25% of salary and benefits).

Hang on to Good Employees – Retention of employees is as important as the initial hire. An individual's suitability to a particular job is the single most important factor in job performance and retention. Be sure to provide people jobs that fit with their personality and then take the time for a proper orientation. Listen to them and continue to provide training and skills development opportunities. Set clear expectations, show concern for employees, and treat them fairly.

What other financial responsibilities do I have for employees?

You must withhold federal and state income taxes, contribute to unemployment and workers compensation systems, and match Social Security contributions. You may also wish to inquire about key employee life or disability insurance.

What is OSHA?

The U.S. Department of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees workplace safety. All employers are required to provide a safe and healthy workplace and are subject to no-notice safety and health inspections by OSHA. Employers with more than 10 employees are required to maintain a record of injuries on the OSHA 200 form, which must be available for inspection for a period of five years.

How do I know if I should hire someone?

When you are considering hiring someone be sure to address these conditions:

Can you afford an employee?
Will you really save time?
With an extra employee, would you have more time to market your services and expand your business?

Would an extra employee allow you a chance to produce more products or serve more clients?

Would an extra employee allow you to give your customers more efficient service or quicker delivery, with the result that higher quality would lead to more customers?

There's a tension between how much the employee's salary and benefits will drain your business' budget and how much extra money the employee's presence will bring in.

How can I effectively interview applicants?

Use interviews along with background checks and references in order to help determine whether or not the applicant is suitable for your position. This way, you will have an idea of the applicant's personality as well as qualifications.

Which federal posters do small businesses need to post?

The federal posters that should be on display for your business vary widely depending on the type of business that you are in. The U.S. Department of Labor has an interactive Poster Advisor tool that will walk you through the steps to determine the posters that you will need specifically for your particular business. In addition to knowing what federal labor posters you should have on hand, you should also visit the state labor office to determine the labor posters that are required in Oklahoma.

What is the self-employment tax? Do I have to pay it?

Sole proprietorships and partnerships that report a profit are required to pay self-employment tax in lieu of Social Security and Medicare contributions. Self-employed persons may be required to make quarterly deposits of estimated deposits based on profits. For specific information, consult with an accounting professional.

Sole proprietorships and partnerships that report a profit are required to pay self-employment tax in lieu of Social Security and Medicare contributions. Self-employed persons may be required to make quarterly deposits of estimated taxes based on profits. For specific information, consult with an accounting professional.

Can I deduct everything since I’m a small business owner?

To be deductible, an expense must be “ordinary and necessary” in conducting your business. The IRS provides more information on small business and taxes.

What is the business life cycle?

The business life cycle refers to the various stages of development of a small business. Each stage has its own unique characteristics and the focus of business activities will reflect the current point within the life cycle

Client Rights and Responsibilities

Welcome to the Oklahoma Small Business Development Network (OKSBDC). You have a right to expect:

  • Prompt, Courteous, and Professional Counseling Services. The demand for our services is high and cases must often be prioritized by need and training may be recommended before counseling is provided.
  • Confidentiality of Information Discussed. All information shared will be held in strictest confidence. No information provided by you will be used to the commercial advantage of any staff member, consultant, or other resource of the OKSBDC or to the benefit of any third party.
  • Confidentiality of Client Status. No public use of your name, address, or business identity will be made without your prior approval. OKSBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration and that limited information with respect to your client status is provided to the agency.
  • Business Consulting. Our role is to counsel and assist small business owners and those planning to go into business. We will not make business decisions or judgments for you, though we will make recommendations and suggestions as appropriate.
  • Fees and Charges. The OKSBDC may charge reasonable fees for training programs, special services, and publications. However, you have a right to feel secure that no fee will be charged by the OKSBDC or its resources for normal counseling services provided to you.
  • Recommendations and Referrals. No recommendations will be made as to the purchase of goods or services from any individual or firm with which any OKSBDC staff or its resources have any financial, familial or personal interest. The counseling services provided to you are a part of the effort of the OKSBDC and its sponsors to respond to the growing needs of the small business community and to positively affect the economy of Oklahoma. They are not intended to compete with, replace, or be a substitute for services available from the private sector. Clients whose needs can be fully met by private sector practitioners or firms in an affordable manner will be encouraged to use those resources.
  • Waiver. In consideration of the OKSBDC furnishing you with management and technical assistance, you agree to waive all claims against the OKSBDC and its constituent institutions, its staff, or any other resources employed by or used in connection with these services. We rely on our clients in our efforts to assure the quality and effectiveness of the counseling services we provide.
  • Surveys. In return for no cost consulting OKSBDC asks all clients to complete a written evaluation of the services provided. In addition, all clients will be asked to complete a brief “impact” assessment within one year following the close of the case file. Finally, clients may receive direct inquiries from this office, the State Director’s office or the U.S. Small Business Administration with respect to the services provided to you. Your response to all of these inquiries will be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to OKSBDC. We look forward to working with you.
We welcome you as a client and encourage you to call on us if you have any questions or comments with regard to your rights and responsibilities or services you receive. You can do so by requesting advising.


OKSBDC takes great pride in the network of partners we work with everyday and that are available to small businesses in the State of Oklahoma.  OKSBDC works diligently to see clients receive access to the programs and services that provide the tools and resources most appropriate for their needs.

Small Business Administration

The SBA is an independent agency of the federal government that provides small businesses with information, counseling, and assistance. Through their website, visitors can access numerous guides and online courses on several topics. For small businesses seeking loans to get started or expand, the SBA offers different loan programs to assist in acquiring such funding from various institutions, private and otherwise. The SBA is able to provide these services through their extensive network and partnership with public and private organizations across the country. The OSBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Below are some quick links to some of the SBA’s programs:

Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC)

The ASBDC is part of a massive nationwide network that has partnerships with government, private, higher education, and nonprofit organizations. Their website is a quick link to national and local business resources. The OSBDC is part of the extensive ASBDC network.

State of Oklahoma

The State of Oklahoma website connects you with a variety of state resources and information. Locate your local Chamber of Commerce, download required tax forms, connect with local media networks, and more. They provide you with an easy way to find the information you need from the resources you trust. The OSBDC receives funding in part from the State of Oklahoma. – Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center

The Small Business and Self Employed Tax Center gives you quick access to tons of important information you need as well as upcoming workshops and online resources. – Various Industries and Professions Tax Center

The Industries and Professions Tax Center is a great place to find out industry-specific requirements, tips, and tax information and resources.

Oklahoma Department of Commerce (ODOC)

The ODOC website provides quick access to information about business licensing, financing, minority support, and many other topics. Receive the latest economic news in Oklahoma through their online news reports and dozens of online videos about specific industries, workforce issues, global trade, and more.

Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma, Inc. (REI)

REI Oklahoma has focused on promoting economic growth and job creation for more than three decades. REI Oklahoma works with partners across the state to create opportunities and provide resources to individuals, businesses and entrepreneurs. From technical assistance and training, to lending programs and down payment assistance, REI Oklahoma is committed to positively impacting businesses and communities in Oklahoma.

SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)

SCORE offers free business counseling as well as modestly priced workshops for entrepreneurs and business owners.

Helping Small Businesses Start, Grow & Succeed

OKSBDC assists small business owners and new entrepreneurs by providing no charge, one-on-one business management advising, business management workshops and business technical assistance. OKSBDC advises business owners in many areas including financial analysis, capital sources, business planning, operations, industry research, international trade, commercial finance, human resources, accounting, competitive market studies, import/export assistance, government contracting opportunities, information technology and economic and business data modeling and analysis.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SE), in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) established the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center Network (OKSBDC) in 1984. SE continues to serve as the lead university in a statewide consortium of private and public partners including the SBA, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, many Oklahoma universities, the Creek nation as well as many other entities and organizations including, chambers, economic development organizations and Main Street programs. Banks and commercial lenders across the state are also key supporters of OKSBDC.

OKSBDC is one of 63 SBDC programs existing in every state in the nation as well as in many U.S. territories. Similar entrepreneurial development programs in other countries have been modeled after the SBDC program in the United States. OKSBDC provided over 16,000 hours of consulting to Oklahoma entrepreneurs and small business owners in 2012 and provided services in all 77 Oklahoma counties.

The OKSBDC State Office is located at 301 W University Blvd, Durant, OK 74701, can be reached by phone at (580) 745-2877, or by email at You can click here to request advising or find a list of resources at

Register here for free online training!

Reinveinting Q & A Checklist

When you are considering reinventing or reinvigorating your business, the first step is to assess your current business and the business environment.

Use the following checklist to help you get started, and then contact your local OKSBDC office to schedule a no-cost Business Success Check-Up. Working together we will work to gain a current benchmark for your business and begin developing a strategic plan toward your new goals.


*What is your current product or service?

*Does it meet today’s customers’ needs/wants?

*Are you providing the product/service in the most cost efficient, consumer-friendly way?

*How does your pricing compare with your competitors?

*How does your delivery system compare with your competitors?

*Do you have additional expertise or assets that could be utilized? Or, are some equipment and assets unused and need to be sold to make room for a new direction?


*Should you add new products/services to your line?

*Should you grow your existing markets or seek new market share?

*What is happening in your industry that will affect your decisions?

*What is happening in the economy that will affect your decisions?


*What research is needed to provide you with the required information?

*What training will you need to help you set and accomplish your goals?

*Are additional employees needed and do you know how to hire and manage them?

For assistance with these issues and more, contact your local OKSBDC office.

Top 25 Questions to answer before you start

If you liked your answers from “Is Starting Your Own Business for You” and you think you are ready, then get your notepad, IPAD, computer or something to record your answers to our Top 25 questions to answer before you start a business!

  1. What’s my number one reason for starting a business? My second reason?
  2. What will success look like in my business in 1 year? 5 years?
  3. What kind of business do I want?
  4. Am I prepared to spend the time needed to get my business started?
  5. How will I set up the legal structure of my business?
  6. What products or services will my business provide?
  7. What types of suppliers do I need?
  8. How soon will it take before my products or services are available?
  9. Where will my business be located?
  10. Am I prepared to spend the money needed to get my business started?
  11. Is my credit good?
  12. How much money do I need to get started?
  13. Will I need to get a loan?
  14. Who is my competition?
  15. How will I price my product compared to my competition?
  16. Who is my ideal customer?
  17. How will I advertise my business?
  18. What differentiates my business idea and the products or services I provide from others in the market?
  19. How long do I have until I start making a profit?
  20. How will I keep track of my sales, expenses and income?
  21. What taxes do I need to pay?
  22. How many employees will I need?
  23. Do I need to protect my products or business?
  24. What kind of insurance do I need?
  25. How will I manage my business?