Frequently asked Questions
A. The kind of financing most entrepreneurs seek through commercial lenders is debt financing. Most banks provide debt financing for existing and start-up businesses. Banks vary substantially in their lending practices. While one bank may decline your loan application, another may be willing to take a higher risk or be interested in lending to small businesses. It is advisable to understand a bank’s lending guidelines before applying for a loan. The general guidelines that would enable a lending officer to at least make an informed decision regarding your loan proposal are as follows:
Consideration of the Business Idea, usually explained in a Business Plan
Down Payment (or equity in an ongoing business)
Credit history and personal financial net worth
Ability to repay the debt
Conditions of the economy and/or market area
A. "We've all seen the headlines: 'Millions in free government money for your business.' Late-night infomercials, reference guides and websites promote the availability of grant money to entrepreneurs for starting and expanding businesses. Sound too good to be true? It is.
The truth is that federal and state governments do not provide grants for starting and expanding small businesses. However, the U.S. government does offer a wide-variety of low-interest loans and venture capital financing programs to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses."Source: Business.Gov: The Official Business Link to the U.S. Government
A. The basic survival skills include a working knowledge of record keeping; financial management; personnel management; market analysis; break-even analysis; product or service knowledge; federal, state and local tax knowledge; legal structures; and communication skills.
A. Obviously, there are specific requirements in each state, county and locality, but it is possible to list the kinds of basic licenses and registrations a new business will need:
Local A business license from city, town or county, depending on your location, will usually be necessary. In addition, you’ll have to meet zoning laws, building codes, and similar regulations.
State In most states if your business isn’t a corporation and your full name isn’t in the name of the business) you’ll have to register under what’s called a Trade Name Registration. You should also file for a Sales and Use tax number in some lines of business (like liquor stores, construction, barber shops, real estate offices) specific licenses are needed.*
Federal You may need an Employer’s Identification Number (EIN)
A. No. You only have to be considering the idea of opening a business or researching the feasibility of a proposed profit making venture.
A. The Small Business & Technology Development Center program provides low- or no-cost guidance and training in proven management fundamentals helping small business owners and potential owners make sound decisions for the successful operation of their business. Part of a statewide network supported by the SBA and the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the Southern Maryland SBTDC serves businesses through one-on-one, confidential counseling, training, and the use of the extensive resources in our Business Assistance Center which includes the entire 200 volume EntrepreneurGroup’s Business Start-up Guides. Training programs are nominally priced to serve the small-business community.
A. No, but it’s wise to get the best advice possible when you’re starting out. An attorney is one source of the expertise you’ll need to draw on. In some states you need an attorney to form a corporation. Check your state law.
A. Each form, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, has its advantages and disadvantages. The one you should pick depends on your circumstances, including:
Your financial condition
The line of business you’re entering
The number of employees
The risk involved
Your tax situation
A. The Southern Maryland Small Business Development Center’s normal hours of operation are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday. Of course, you’re able to access our homepage and its resource applications 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Helping Small Businesses Grow and Succeed
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Services & Training
In order to better assist start up and early stage companies, please click on the button below and take our start up business assessment.
If you have an existing business, click here to request one-on-one confidential counseling. We can assist you with business/marketing plans, funding resources, procurement and other strategies to grow your existing business.