I. INTRODUCTION

Since becoming a SCORE Chapter in March of 2007, we of Northwest Connecticut SCORE have counseled over 2,000 existing and prospective small businesses regarding a wide range of business issues. Approximately 60 percent of those counseled have sought information and guidance on how to start a small business, from simple issues like obtaining a state tax number to the more complex issues of obtaining financing.

What this is and what it’s not.

This guide covers many of the technical aspects of starting a business, like obtaining permits, tax number, obtaining financing, etc. What it is not is a guide to how to assess whether the venture makes any sense or has a decent probability for success. We will address all the things that go into a business plan such as a describing how the business will operate, whether there is a market for the product or service, or projected financial return.

Many of the questions posed to our SCORE counselors are similar in nature and can be answered by referring to an appropriate document, state or local agency, or website. The purpose of this booklet is to summarize information that responds to some of the most frequently asked questions by those seeking assistance from the Northwest Connecticut SCORE Chapter members.

This guide focuses on six areas that seem to recur in our SCORE counseling.

  1. Necessary steps in starting a small business.
  2. Choosing a legal structure (sole proprietor, LLC., corporation, etc.)
  3. Issues relating to starting a home based business.
  4. Forming a not-for-profit organization.
  5. Obtaining financing.
  6. Preparing a business plan.

An important purpose of this guide is to point the reader to resources available in the public domain for answering the most common problems brought to our counselors. Not covered are the many proprietary aids that are available for a fee, such as the many software packages for writing business plans and the assistance of attorneys, accountants, and professionals who consult in these areas. It is not the intent to provide the reader with a business plan, a legal structure for the business, or market research analyses. It is meant as a guide for pointing the reader to some of the resources available to help make important decisions when starting a business.

Included in this booklet are outlines for those considering starting a business in Northwest and Central Connecticut. The purpose of this guide is to help those in the regions covered by the Northwest Connecticut SCORE Chapter to more easily focus on the key aspects of starting a small business in this area. The specific towns included are the towns covered by the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce in Torrington and the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce in Bristol.

Most of the topics covered in this guide are covered in more detail in the book “STARTING A SMALL BUSINESS IN CONNECTICUT” published by Community Accounting Aid and Services, Inc. (CAAS). We strongly recommend that anyone considering starting a small business in Connecticut obtain a copy. It is available at their website www.communityaccountingaid.org. Copies are also available at some of the libraries in the region, including Litchfield, Farmington, Harwinton and Winsted.

What we hope to do in this guide is to help those we counsel to focus on the key aspects of starting a business in the regions served by the Bristol and the Northwest Connecticut Chambers of Commerce and to point to the resources that help respond to the issues we see most frequently. We plan to update this guide regularly as the business environment changes and grows.

NOTE: The information contained in this guide is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of printing. Since we live in a dynamic environment where telephone numbers, websites, and even agencies can change as agencies reorganize, websites improve, and laws and regulations change, some of the information may become obsolete over time. Hopefully, the dedicated reader will be able to adapt to the changes and follow the resources as they change and evolve.