It is well documented that many immigrants harbor a great desire to participate in the “American Dream” by starting their own businesses in the United States. For this reason, the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut decided to organize an Immigrant Resource Center to provide a specialized service for legalized immigrants in eastern Connecticut who have expressed an interest in starting a new or expanding an existing business in the region.
Through research and informal discussions with members of the immigrant community, we have learned that many immigrants and their family members have had business experience in their home countries before deciding to come to the United States. We have also learned that obstacles such as language barriers, cultural unfamiliarity, or perhaps a lack of understanding of our legal and permitting process complicates the challenge of starting their own business in this country.
There is a significant amount of excellent information presently available on federal and state websites. Also, there are a number of organizations with well-trained staff who are eager to assist entrepreneurs looking to go into business. These support systems are scattered far and wide, often creating confusion for the user. One of the goals of the Immigrant Resource Center initiative is to bring together all of these resources in a convenient format.
A second important component of this effort is to provide language translation and advisory support systems to serve the client at public and private meetings and hearings.
Step 1: Create a Business Plan
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a guide for your business that outlines your goals and details how you to plan to achieve them. Consider your business plan a “pitch” and keep it simple. The best business plans include:
- A summary about your business
- A company overview
- Your products and/or services
- Your target market
- Marketing and/or sales plan
- Milestones and metrics (how you will measure your success)
- Organizational structure (who will perform what duties for your business)
- Your financial plan (sales forecasts, profits and loss statements, cash flow statements)
Learn more about formulating your business plan.
Who can help?
The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut
We can help get you started. Call the Chamber at (860) 701-9113 or stop by our office at 914 Hartford Turnpike in Waterford, CT.
Set up a free business consultation with SCORE, an expert team of small business advisors. They can help you form your business plan and answer your questions to help you get started opening your business. Meetings take place on the first four Tuesdays of each month, lasting an hour each.
Call the Chamber at (860) 701-9113 to schedule an appointment.
Step 2: Get Business Training
There are many free training and counseling services available to help you get started with the details of owning and operating your new business. Use this step to make sure your business plan is solid, as well as learn the best ways to make sure your business is ready to grow in a healthy, sustainable manner.
SCORE Business Mentors
Call (860) 701-9113 to schedule an appointment.
Connecticut’s Small Business Development Centers (CTSBDC)
The CTSBDC provides free advising services to new and edxisting business owners. They offer customized advising, business education, and resources for Connecticut’s entrepreneurs. Email Matthew.Nemeth@UConn.edu or call (860) 701-9113 to learn how CTSBDC can help you.
Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut
The Chamber puts on many helpful business seminars for its members on topics ranging from workplace relationships to helping you understand the latest social media trends. These seminars are often free for members and just a few dollars for non-members. Find a seminar happening soon.
Step 3: Choose a Business Location
Your location is one of the most critical factors that can make or break your business. Your business location must also comply with local zoning laws. If you don’t have a site selected, or want to make sure that your location is the best possible, consult one of the resources below.
Step 4: Finance Your Business
There are many ways to get the money you need to start your business. Use the links below to find government-backed loans, venture capital, and grants that will help fund your business.
- Finance and Insurance Providers
- Credit Unions
- Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development Grants
- SCORE Business Mentors
Step 5: Determine Your Business’ Legal Structure
There are many kinds of structures for your business, each with its own set of legal and tax responsibilities. Decide if you want to operate your business as:
- A sole propietorship
- A partnership
- A limited liability company (LLC)
- A corporation
- An S corporation
- A non-profit business
- A cooperative
Who can help?
Step 6: Register a Business Name
You will need to register your new business’ name with the Connecticut government – either with your local County Clerk or with the State of Connecticut, depending where your business is located.
Once your business is registered as “doing business as,” you can learn which tax identification number you will need from the IRS and the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. Your tax identification number will be important when it comes time to file your taxes with the State.
Who can help?
The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services’ handy online registration guide
Step 7: Register for State and Local Taxes
Once you have registered your business’ name, you will receive a tax identification number. This number will be used to determine what kinds of taxes your business will pay, and can also help determine tax savings that your business might enjoy. Visit this link (https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/filing-paying-taxes/determine-your-state-tax-obligations) to see tax information for doing business in the State of Connecticut.
Who can help?
The Small Business Administration has a breakdown of what taxes you can expect your business to pay.
Step 8: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Your business will need various licenses and permits to do business in Connecticut, depending on the services you want to offer. Permits are required by both federal and state law. Visit the Small Business Administration’s list of required federal and state permits in the links below.
Step 9: Know Your Employer Responsibilities
There are some steps you will have to take in order to be able to legally hire employees for your new business. You will need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and set up records for withholding taxes, as well as be able to carry out the steps required to become an eligible employer in the United States.
Who can help?
The Small Business Administration has a step-by-step guide that shows you how to become legally authorized to hire employees for your business and operate within the guidelines established by state and federal law.
Step 10: Use Your Local Resources
Now that your business is established, you’ve hired your first employees, and are legally able to do business in Connecticut, you’ll need help making sure your business stays in its best shape. Use resources like your regional Chamber of Commerce or the Small Business Administration to learn how to best manage your business, meet fellow business owners, get introduced to new clients, learn better business practices, and much more.