Types of Business
There are several types of business that you can venture into. Location, structure, and the manner in which you want your business to operate, as well as your target market, will determine what business you will have. The following are the main business types and their available funding, taxation, and relevant government assistance programs.
Nonprofit groups makes use of profit to better services, instead of distributing dividends to its investors. The following are relevant government links with regard to this business type.
Grants and Funding
A number of government agencies maintain websites where information on existing grants can be accessed. For a comprehensive list of federal grants, see Federal Grants (Grants.gov) or check the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. You may also wish to check on a circular from the Office of Management and Budget which sets the way in which grants and agreements arranged with nonprofits at Cost-Principles for Nonprofit Organizations.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) maintains links for information on tax matters relevant to nonprofits. Its Tax Information for Nonprofits and Charities provides general information while Tax Forms for Nonprofit/Exempt Organizations is the link for downloadable forms. For tax exemptions, visit Tax-Exempt Status of Your Organization.
Government Sales and Surplus
The government has in store goods which your nonprofit group needs at a lower price compared to what prevails in the market. Find what you need at GovSales.gov, Federal Real Property for Nonprofits, and Computers for Learning: Excess Federal Equipment for Nonprofits.
Programs and Services
The government also maintains programs and services designed to aid nonprofits. Agencies like the Department of Labor (Department of Labor Resources for Nonprofits), Environmental Protection Agency (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Resources for Nonprofit Organizations), and the Postal Service (U.S. Post Office Discount Mailing Services for Non Profits) have specific offerings. Meanwhile, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) Participation is your gateway to various federal government activities on charity.
Going green and organic is a fad which does not seem to be going away. It is a chance to harness your creativity in promoting environmentally-sound and healthful products and services. First, you need to look up for areas which are still under-served in the market, the so-called niche. Then you will need, afterwards, to get certified so people will know that what you are offering is green.
The following are various labeling resources from the local to international market.
U.S. Green Building Council
Leads in the certification of new and existing buildings with its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System
A multitude of goods are rate vis-à-vis standards and awards are given to those having exceptional 'green' qualities.
Scientific Certification Systems
Certification of products from agriculture, manufacturing, and electricity.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program
Organic product certification from the country's lead agricultural agency.
Chlorine Free Products Association
Certification of products which do not contain chlorine.
Green e-Certification Program
From the Center for Resource Solution, a certification for renewable power.
ENERGY STAR Program
Energy efficiency certified by the U.S. government.
Forest Stewardship Council
Certification of wood products by the Scientific Certification Systems and Smartwood.
A number of countries and regional organizations maintain ecolabeling programs for their products.
There are at least two cross-border groups which try to ensure the integrity of ecolabeling programs in a variety of countries. The Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP) initiates the formulation of national laws and regulations which support energy efficiency and labeling of appliances. For its part, the Global Ecolabelling Network seeks to ensure the credibility and integrity of ecolabeling groups.
Embarking on an Online Business
Selling online is a good way to expand your target market, as well as profit. The succeeding points assist you in knowing the steps required for this matter.
Register Business Domain Name
Your business holds a domain name which is also your web address. This is the initial procedure in setting-up your online venture.
Certified Registering Authorities is the link to take note when registering. To avoid falling prey to scams, check out Abusive Domain Name Registration and the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Domain Name Registration Scams.
For technical oversight of Internet protocol address space allocation, protocol parameter assignment, domain name system management, and root server system management functions, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Corporations is the nonprofit organization in charge.
Choose a Web Host
For website space and creation, it is necessary to contact a web host. Choosing depends on the demands of your business, security of the site, and cost compared to capabilities.
Your website is the gateway or portal to your online business. As such, it should be created and designed to encourage viewing and attract consumers. While you can design it, or any of your workers, hiring a specialist or a group of designers can do wonders for your online venture. It is, however, important to note that trademarks are not copied, in conformance with trademark and intellectual property laws by looking at current trademarks.
Roll On and Sell!
Once the website is created, the next logical step is to advertise, market and sell via it. To do so requires the use of search optimization engines or keywords that make your website searchable. As traffic increases so will potential buyers.
Online Regulations and Trade Laws
Like its real-world counterparts, online marketing and selling is governed by almost the same laws. The FTC maintains links to assisting your business to adhere to these rules. These two links are relevant: Advertising and Marketing on the Internet: Rules of the Road and DotCom Disclosures: Information About Online Advertising.
The following are links to laws which regulate online business:
- The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999
- Selling on the Internet: Prompt Delivery Rules
- Children's Online Privacy Protection Act
There exists international laws governing online business, including advertising, packaging and delivery of goods. You need to be aware of these matters.
State and Local Rules
Aside from the aforementioned federal regulations on businesses done online, states and local governments have their own peculiar laws. Be sure to know them.
Most online businesses pay the same taxes as regular businesses from the federal government down to local bodies. Check it out in your locality.
More than half of businesses in the U.S. are home-based and a number of successful companies including Apple Computer, Ford Motor Co., and Hershey's began from home.
While government does not have readily available grants for financing home-based business, there are low-interest loan programs which can aid you get started. For a complete list of funding sources from the government, look up Loans and Grants Search Tool.
For a primer on how to market your products, visit a link made by university extension researchers at Home-Based Business - Market Your Product.
While your business venture may look insignificant because of size, it is better to be prudent about taxes than have legal matters hound you later. Make use of these links from the IRS and Social Security to know, respectively, the Small Business Self-Employed One-Stop Resource and Social Security Guide for the Self-Employed.
Persons With Disabilities
Physical disabilities do not have to hinder business opportunities. If you are disabled but have a strong urge to venture into business, there are a couple of opportunities to look into. The following are government online links to assist you.
About Business for People With Disabilities
A number of important issues and matters need to be learned by a physically disabled person who, nevertheless, wishes to set up a business. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) maintains a link on the Important Considerations for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities.
Government assistance in the form of seminars, additional advice, and programs can be found at Online Seminar for Persons With Disabilities, the U.S. DOL's Small Business and Self-Employment Service, State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, START-UP USA, and Social Security's Ticket to Work Program.
Funding Your Business
There are no grants available from either the federal or state government for disabled people to start their business with. However, a number of low-interest loans are available.
To kick-off your search for financing, visit Loans and Grants Search Tool for a complete list of loan, grant and venture capital opportunities. Then go to Abilities Fund and Alternative Financing Technical Assistance Project.
A number of states offer specific funding services to disabled persons intending to start a business. The links are enumerated below.
The government offers tax credits for disabled persons running their own business. Tax Incentives Packet on the Americans with Disabilities Act provides information on this matter. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) maintains a link which makes it easier for the disabled to be able to file their taxes. See Accessible IRS Tax Products and Facts About Disability-Related Tax Provisions.
Professional Organizations and Other Resources
Disabled people who run businesses have a couple of organizations and other resources they can join or avail services with. For starters, the Disability Entrepreneurs: What Can You Do Campaign is a good gateway for information and resources. The Business Leadership Network is the lone national organization of business owners which intends to forward good practices about employing disabled workers. A volunteer group of consumers, the Chamber of Commerce for Individuals with Disabilities, makes use of business principles to enhance the status of disabled individuals in the labor market. Disabled Businesspersons Association, meanwhile, is a group that seeks to aid disabled persons in setting-up and running their own business. Similarly, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) offers technical help, consulting, and tutoring services. Agricultural workers with disabilities can consult the National AgrAbility Project with its array of resources.
Businesses by Minorities
Are you a minority who wishes to embark on a business? A couple of advice from several quarters can help you take off correctly.
A government agency specifically created to aid minority groups in setting-up and running their own business is the Minority Business Development Agency. Visit their website at MBDA for assistance. To know more about issues surrounding minority businesses, click Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference, a national conference.
Funding Your Business
Like other business types, government does not provide grants to minority groups for starting business. Exemptions are nonprofit and local groups which give out limited grants. What federal and state governments offer are low-interest loans for kick-starting business. The following links lead to these programs.
An organization offering small business loans not exceeding $50,000, including minorities and women.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs provides loans to First Nation peoples.
Issues guarantees and loans to socio-economically-depressed families of farmers and ranchers.
The state's Access Program gives loans of low collateral to small businesses
Its Consumer Micro-Loan Program issues loans to locals under temporary economic distress or Native Hawaiians who plan to better their careers. Meanwhile, its Native Hawaiian Revolving Loan Fund is for locals to fund the initial stages of their business, as well as expansion needs.
The state provides loans to companies in which 51 percent of ownership and management belongs to minorities, women, and the disabled.
Akin to Illinois, it offers loan guaranty, loans, and equity grants to minority groups, women, and persons with disabilities.
The state's BDC Capital Community Loans program is for women and minorities.
This state has two loan programs- a. Capital Access Loan Program and; b. Minority Business Enterprise Loan Program. The former substitutes for conventional loans for people having difficulty in obtaining them while the latter specifically targets minorities with low-interest loans.
The frontier state's Indian Equity Fund involves grants for government recognized tribes and members of the Little Shell Chippewa Tribe to funds new or existing business.
The state's Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation Small Business Loan is for start-up or expanding businesses or community development endeavors which are on or proximate to the Winnebago Indian Reservation.
For the municipalities of Camden, Trenton, Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, East Orange, New Brunswick and Atlantic City, the Urban Plus program of NJ state offers funding assistance to businesses that are small, owned by women or minorities, nonprofits, manufacturers, and redevelopers.
Its Community Development Loan Fund helps a whole gamut of needy businesses which, due to their weak positions, are not able to borrow from traditional lenders like banks. Beneficiaries include the low-income, women and minority groups.
From its Community Development Financial Institution Assistance Program comes funding for small businesses, including tutelage and guidance for their success.
The state's Mini-Loan Guarantee Program offers loans for companies which are able to show that they can hire people in Ohio.
Ethnic minority groups are provided low-interest loans to fund their businesses.
The state's Small and Minority-Owned Business Assistance Program has funding available to recently-established companies or old ones which cannot borrow from banks or other common lending institutions.
Subsidizes interest rates for loans given to women or minority groups for start-up or expansion aims.
Business Guidance and Support
Located in some states are Minority Business Development Centers (MBDC) that aid business women and men to embark, run, and expand their business. Training activities, one-to-one mentoring, among other programs seek out to assist minority enterprises achieve their goals.
The following are links to these MBDCs.
- National Center for American Indian Entrepreneur Development
- Alabama: AL Minority Business Development Center
- Arizona: AZ Minority Business Development Center
- California: Inland Empire Minority Business Development Center; LA Metro Minority Business Development Center
- District of Columbia: Washington DC Minority Business Development Center
- Florida: FL Minority Business Development Center
- Georgia: GA Minority Business Development Center
- Hawaii: Honolulu Minority Business Development Center
- Illinois: Chicago Minority Business Development Center
- Michigan: MI Minority Business Development Center
- Minnesota: MN Native American Business Enterprise Center
- New Mexico: NM Minority Business Development Center
- New York: Manhattan/Bronx Minority Business Development Center
- North Carolina: NC Minority Business Development Center
- Oklahoma: OK Native American Business Enterprise Center
- Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico Minority Business Development Center
- South Carolina: SC Minority Business Development Center
- Texas: San Antonio Minority Business Development Center
- Wisconsin: WN Minority Business Development Center
As a soldier from a war or one who got disabled because of it, you have some opportunities from the government regarding business ventures. For starters, click National Veteran Small Business Conference & Expo for know-how.
Funding Your Company
While the government does not offer grants to veterans to fund their initial business requirements, it provides some opportunities such as low-interest loans. For a comprehensive inventory of these programs which are specifically designed for veterans and military professionals, go to Loans and Grants Search Tool.
The states of Illinois and Wisconsin offer loans particular to veterans and/or military members. Visit Employ Illinois - Military Reserve Loan and Wisconsin Dept. of Veteran Affairs: Personal Loan Program to know more about their programs.
The three levels of government- federal, state, and local- reserves part of the percentage of contracting products and services to small businesses. As a veteran, you are legible to apply for these contracts. For more information, click Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses: Contracting Guidance.