For Small Business
This page was updated on January 9, 2018.
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In my daily travels, I constantly run across people who are unhappy with their jobs and want to break free from their corporate restraints by striking out on their own, but with all the rules, regulations, permits, fees, taxes, licensure requirements, etc., that the government heaps upon businesses, the task seems daunting and the questions innumerable. Suffice to say that it is not that difficult, at least in Oklahoma, which is very friendly to small business, but that is not so in other states, unfortunately.
There are many resources out there to assist you and many are free or very low cost. The purpose of this page is to provide you with some direction and resources to start your journey.
Here is an excerpt from a class I am working on - it's a short list of the steps you need to take to start your own small service business:
STEPS TO STARTING YOUR OWN SMALL SERVICE BUSINESS - Updated 1-20-2016
I suggest you start with reading FormSwift's "Freelancer's Essential Guide to Business and Taxes."
To get started, I highly recommend taking a small business start-up class - here are some suggestions:
SMALL BUSINESS START-UP CLASSES/RESOURCES
Community Action Partnership and Community Action Agency of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma
If you really want to get started out on the right foot and understand the challenges you face to starting your own business, they offer a fantastic, comprehensive training program for only $25, which includes a large 3-ring binder with all materials plus handouts. It consists of 8-10, two-hour workshops held over a 4-week period and are repeated throughout the year. Click here for more info.
Oklahoma Tax Commission
Offers free, 3-hour workshops held at various locations throughout the state. Among other things, they will show you how to calculate and submit your sales taxes and how to save money by doing it online. Click here for more info.
SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives)
Provides low/no-cost training and mentors in your industry.
Oklahoma City SCORE Chapter
U.S. Government's Small Business Administration
BUSINESS IDEA EVALUATION TOOLS
If you want to start a business and you want it to be successful, you'll need to think very carefully about your business idea. Is it a great idea that could turn into a major brand or service or will it fall flat at the start line? The team at MOO.COM have created this interactive flowchart that asks all the right questions to put your business idea to the test and then gives you the resources/tools to get going! The folks at MOO.COM have a very comprehensive site and cover all the angles. Yes, all these questions are overwhelming and personally, I didn’t go through all of them; I didn’t see the need or benefit and if I did, I’d probably still working my way through the list, but that is up to you. Completely going through this list would obviously be beneficial in certain circumstances, but don’t “over-engineer” your business if you don’t have to.
Business Idea Evaluation Flowchart
Business Startup Toolkit
Business Professional's Guide
This is one of the fastest-growing small business opportunities. Unfortunately, there are many forces out there opposed to this for a variety of reasons and are doing everything they can to squelch this growing industry. Below is a link to a website operated by a man who has dedicated himself to helping the industry prosper.
RideShare Guy - Blog, Podcast, News & Info for rideshare drivers
CAUTION: Before engaging in this activity, even if doing so in a volunteer capacity, I strongly urge you to contact your insurance carrier and discuss your plans with them to ensure that your coverage is not jeopardized.
I received a call from my auto insurance agent on 10-4-2016. He called to inform me that because of recently passed legislation, Oklahomans could now engage in ridesharing activities and no longer risk jeopardizing their personal insurance policy coverage. The new law now allows respective insurance companies to issue policies to Uber, Lyft, etc., drivers. The original bill, HB 1614, known as the "Oklahoma Transportation Network Company Services Act" was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin on May 8, 2015. The full text of the law is here: Title 47, Chapter 73A, Section 1010, et seq. (scroll down to near the bottom of the page to get to Chapter 73A). Related: Chapter 73, "The Oklahoma Ridesharing Act," in the same title.
Map of state-level ridesharing laws (Updated regularly, gives status of legislative changes in your respective states).
STARTING YOUR OWN BAKERY:
I know a lot of outstanding, talented bakers, many of whom would love to start their own bakery, but lack the start-up capital to rent or buy a building and equipment necessary to comply with the state's commercial food production licensure requirements. Well, there is good news for all you aspiring home bakers. In April, 2013, Governor Mary Fallin signed into law HB 1094 (Title 63, Section 1-1440 et seq. of the Oklahoma Statutes), the Oklahoma Home Bakery Act of 2013, which makes it much easier to legally bake and sell certain items out of your home. Read the text of the law here - scroll about 1/4 way down the page.
See the bill's history here.
News story here: NewsOK.com
The laws are always changing, but there is a website that keeps up with them around the country: Cottage Foods
If you have any questions, be sure to check with your respective city/county health department first as they may have additional rules/regulations/restrictions.
DO YOU HAVE A GREAT FOOD PRODUCT IDEA YOU'D LIKE TO BRING TO THE MARKET BUT DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START?
Well, we are very fortunate to have the OSU-FAPC (Oklahoma State University's Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Product Center). This incredible facility is dedicated to helping budding food business entrepreneurs develop and market their product(s)....at very low cost. The best place to start is with their Basic Training Class - here is the basic course description from the website: "FAPC offers a Basic Training workshop for food business entrepreneurs that helps participants address issues through business planning assistance, market identification, strategies and an explanation of food processing regulations."
PART/FULL-TIME WORK OPPORTUNITIES
I've been contacted by several people recently looking to either augment their income or replace their current one (regular 9-to-5 job). Mostly, they are just wanting to shed the restraints of the corporate meat grinders with all their tired, antiquated and restrictive rules, regulations, policies and procedures that the HR weenies dream up for their own job security. Hey, having worked for one of the biggest corporations in the world, I definitely sympathize with them!!! Here are a few articles I have come across with legitimate work-at-home ideas that you can explore:
FormSwift (customizable personal & business forms, fee-based)
Expertise.com Small Business Resources
Oklahoma Workers Compensation Forms (including Affidavit of Exempt Status)
Free Online College Courses from Associates to Doctorate level
Connecticut Education Network Higher Education Resources
Skill Share (learn new skills)
Michael McGill Empowerment/Motivational Speaker
SMALL BUSINESS RIGHTS
The regulatory situation in this county continues to get worse every year, especially in the past 7 years. In fact, according to the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom, when President Obama took office, the United States ranked 6th and now we're 11th! Thousands of new rules and regulations are added each year and their cost to business is in the billions of dollars. (Politico Article 1-4-16: Obama Pushing Thousands of New Regulations in Year 8) And to make matters worse, some states and cities have rules, regulations, training and other licensure requirements that borderline on the completely ridiculous, creating "protected industries" and thus making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a small business person/entrepreneur to get started. Fortunately, these two organizations have had great success throughout the country getting some of these hurdles removed.
The information, reports, forms, etc., on this website are all free and without any obligation whatsoever; I won't even ask for your e-mail. I provide all this as a service to my clients and the public. However, if you would like to make a small donation to support the website and keep all the good information coming, it would be most appreciated!