FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions

Q?

Is there a grant that can help me start my business?

A.

Although there are numerous infomercials and “consultants” that insist the federal government offers millions of dollars in “free money” and grants to give to individuals for business start-ups, the reality is that the federal government does not provide grants for starting and expanding a business. Grants from the federal government are only available to non-commercial organizations, such as non-profits and educational institutions in areas such as medicine, education, scientific research and technology development. The federal government also provides grants to state and local governments to assist them with economic development. Most grants from Missouri state agencies are only available to local governments for projects related to infrastructure or schools. The current exceptions are grants for research and development of value-added agricultural products and the other is for products made from recycled materials. These grants are not necessarily “free money” requiring the recipient to match funds or combine the grant with other forms of financing such as a loan. Visit our Financing page for more information and resources.

Q?

How much does it cost to start up a business?

A.

That depends on the business! Does the business you are starting need equipment? What size does the dedicated space need to be? How about supplies or resources? You will need to determine the cost of all of these items plus expenses such as licensing, incorporating, business cards, etc. It can be overwhelming to see the numbers at first, but it’s better to be prepared! We have business counselors on staff to help you navigate the start-up expenses, and put together a business plan so you can look for financing.

Q?

What is the first step to starting a successful business?

A.

A good place to start is the business plan.  It helps you describe in words what you foresee in your business.  You will want to describe your product or service, your competition, what makes it your niche, who will buy your product or service and why, and how you will fund it. One of the most important parts of the business plan is the funding section.  It lists out your estimated expenses, your estimated sales (which should be based on market research, not just guessing), and estimated profit.  Keep in mind that most businesses do not make a profit for three years, so include how you will keep the business running in those years.  Do you have savings?  This is the part of the business plan that any banker is going to look at first.

Q?

What services does your office provide?

A.

MREIC works in conjunction with Missouri’s Small Business & Technology Development Centers (SBTDC). MREIC/SBTDC offers numerous services for entrepreneurs. These include:

Business Start-up Information and Assistance: The issues involved in starting, running, or expanding a business are often complex. Should you form an LLC or S Corporation? Is a business license required? Will you own or lease your equipment? If you need answers, the center’s counselor(s) can offer assistance to meet your needs.

Business Planning: Our business counselors can provide assistance for developing a full scale business plan for your business start-up.

Intellectual Property Management: Ideas often need to be protected before taking them to the marketplace. MREIC/SBTDC provides information on a variety of means for doing that – patents, trademarks, copyright, etc. and information on cost effective means to provide protection.

Development and Marketing: MREIC/SBTDC has the tools available to help you assess the competition, thoroughly analyze your business, and develop a plan for success.

SBIR Grant Assistance: The center provides expertise with SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) funding, including help in locating appropriate funding opportunities and expertise in grant writing.

Funding Assistance: Most entrepreneurial small businesses are confronted with funding needs. Center staff is skilled in financial analysis and financial statement preparation. Counselors are also familiar with the loan guarantee program offered through the Small Business Administration.

To take advantage of these resources, contact the office at 660-665-3348 to make an appointment to speak with a counselor.