The decision to open my own small business was one of the scariest and most exciting times of my life. At the time, I had a lot of experience selling real estate and a vision for what my company would look like and offer, but I didn't know much about the ins and outs of starting a small business. Thankfully I was able to surround myself with people that I could trust and that had the knowledge and skill to guide me through the process.
On a tip from my wife, I made an appointment with Ross Hart at the Vermont Small Business Development Center, on Eastern ave in St. Johnsbury. Ross helped me build a business plan and cash flow spreadsheet that helped me figure out my overhead and other essentials to start a business. Ross explained a lot of unknowns and helped me get my plan on paper, which in turn made it a hell of lot less scary. Through Ross's hard work and skill I was able to get a small business loan and a grant to set up my website. He also introduced me to to Mike Welch, a Senior Project Manager at Northern Community Investment Cooperation, also in St. Johnsbury. Mike was instrumental in helping me secure a grant through the NCIC Small business Cost Sharing Program. A business website is super important in today's marketplace, but having a website that people can easily find, is paramount. Mike helped me achieve that.
The next step to start a business, that I was completely clueless about, was registering my business with the state and Federal government. Jay Abramson is an Attorney in St Johnsbury who I have had a long standing professional relationship with and I highly recommend. Jay helped me to register and create my business with the Secretary of the State and with the IRS. He also help me structure the business with an eye towards the future, in the anticipation of the company growing and expanding.
With all these factors in place I was able to secure a business loan through Mark Clough at Community National Bank. Mark worked incredibly hard to help me clear the hurdles to get a loan. I wouldn't be where I am today without his help.
None of these steps were easy, but in the short time that I have been in business I'm confident it was worth it and I wouldn't change a thing!