Marshall Texas News Messenger Seminar offers small business advice By Steve Bandy, News Messenger Saturday, September 20, 2008 Potential small business owners in the Marshall area will get advice on ways to jump start their entrepreneurial endeavors during a free seminar on Oct. 30. The Kilgore College Small Business Development Center, the Marshall Economic Development Corp. and the Marshall Business Development Center will be sponsoring the "Business Start-up Meeting" at the Center for Applied Technology. Instructors will be Brad Bunt, director of the Kilgore College SBDC, and Virgel Conner, counselor for the SBDC. Also on hand to answer questions will be Gay Hobbs, manager of the Center for Applied Technology and the Business Development Center of Marshall. The session will be from 9 a.m. until noon and will continue twice a month thereafter. "We are pleased to offer this in the Marshall area and are excited that we will be able to continue offering this on a continuous basis in Marshall," Bunt said. "The Center for Applied Technology and Business Development Center are wonderful resources for the people of Marshall and one of their goals is to increase business development and education of small businesses in Marshall. "By joining forces, we can offer training that will benefit anyone wishing to start a new business and continue to work with them in the future on any business need," he added. "We hope to hold this seminar about twice a month at the CAT center and feel it will benefit those people who live in and around Marshall greatly." This start-up meeting was designed by the Kilgore SBDC in an effort to aid current and future entrepreneurs not only with the difficult decision of going into business for themselves, but also with the difficult day-to-day decisions regarding the operation of a business, according to Bunt. From making the initial decision to start a business, to planning for a company's tax savings, Bunt said these meetings will help would-be entrepreneurs with opening a business, as well as keeping that business running as efficiently as possible. The meetings are presented in a step-by-step, practical approach to business as opposed to a theoretical or academic approach, with the small business owner and potential owner in mind. During the start-up meetings, attendees will learn, among other things, the importance of: Deciding on a legal entity. Advantages and disadvantages of sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships — LLCs and LLPs. How to register a business name and conduct a business name search. Employment forms including W4, I-9, and others. Your Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN – Form SS-4). How to calculate and manage employees and payroll expenses. Employees vs. contract labor. Sales taxes vs. nontaxable items and services for small business. Insurance requirements and workers' compensation. Small business lending and SBA loan programs. How to prepare a business plan. Managing your cash flow projection and budgeting. Marketing and advertising planning and budgeting. Miscellaneous business licensing and permits. Attendees will receive a free packet of information including all federal, state and local forms, publications, and all applicable business start-up materials discussed during the meeting to assist them in the start-up phase. "Whether it is poor or ineffective management, lack of financial resources, or just a lack of information and planning, many business startups fail within the first five years of operation," said Bunt. "Business planning programs such as this are key to the success of owning and operating a business in East Texas." To register for the free start-up meeting, call the Small Business Development Center at (800) 338-7232.