Get On Track and Stay There

The Better Business Bureau launches the Small Business Help Center to serve new and small businesses in the state of Texas.

By: Kelly Trevino

Starting a new business can be a daunting prospect, but the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is here to help with tips, resources and advice on navigating the complex process.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses employ about 56 million of the nation’s private workforce, and account for more than half of all U.S. sales. In the state of Texas, a total of 165,026 businesses were formed last year, an almost 5 percent increase from 2014, according to the Texas Secretary of State.

In order to run a successful small business, you need to learn about your customers, your competitors and the economic conditions in your industry. The SBA offers data and information on businesses, including economic indicators, employment statistics and income and earnings of your customers and competitors.

BBB serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin has launched BBB Small Business Help Center, a website that includes tips and resources for new and established small businesses. Included on the site is information needed to get your business started, such as the necessary financing and licenses. BBB also includes resources needed for finding a location for your business, as well as tips to help you market your business.

One of the first things to do when starting a business is to decide on a business structure. To start a business in Texas, you will need a Federal Identification Number (FIN) – unless you are a sole proprietorship – so you must file Form SS-4 with the IRS. You may be required to register your business with the Texas Secretary of State, and some types of businesses or industries require a license, permit or certification.

Once you have taken all the steps to register your business with the state, you will want to learn how to market your business to your customers. Marketing your business includes establishing your unique brand in the marketplace, which should separate you from the competition. BBB’s Small Business Help Center includes tips for marketing your business, including social media best practices and creating a website.

As your business grows, developing and implementing a marketing plan will help you understand your target market, maintain a budget and stay on track throughout the year. One great way to market your business is by networking and meeting other business owners in your industry or field of expertise. BBB also offers resources for educational and training opportunities available to small business owners and employees.

Kelly Trevino is the regional director for the Corpus Christi office of Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin. She is available for media interviews and speaking engagements. You can contact her at 361-945-7352 or ktrevino@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

For more information about starting a business and state requirements, go to www.bbb.org/central-texas or www.texas.gov.

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