Small Business Development Center

SBDC Entrepreneurial FAQ's

I Have a great idea for a business. Where do I begin?

Each form has advantages and disadvantages. The form you chose will depend on the nature of your business, the risks involved, tax considerations, etc. The SBDC has information available on various business structures.

What form of business do you recommend for a new business?

Ask yourself: Am I ready to be self-employed? Can I support myself financially during the business’ start-up phase? Am I a risk-taker and a self-starter? Do I have the ability to market, organize, or even manage basic accounting and record keeping tasks? What are my skills and strengths and what skills do I need to learn? If upon answering these questions you still want to proceed you need to begin the research process. Contacting the SBDC is a great place to start for information on legal business structures, filing DBA’s, licenses & permits, and Federal and State tax information. In addition you should begin attending seminars and training sessions specifically designed for small businesses. You need to begin researching the field you will be entering. What exactly is your product or service? Who is your target market? How will you reach that market? How will you price your product or service? Who are your competitors and how will you differ from them? Again the SBDC will work with you to help you answer these questions.

Are there Grants available for small businesses?

Many people believe that grants are easy to obtain. The truth is that while grants are typically available for non-profit groups, for special agriculture projects, for protected classes such as women and minorities, for environmental protection, or for Hi-tech industries, there are few awarded to for-profit small businesses.

Is it true that more than 90% of all small businesses fail within the first five years?

Yes. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% within the first five years of operation. Some of the reasons cited for failure include:

Lack of planning
Insufficient capital (money)
Poor location
Low sales
Lack of Experience

These facts aren't intended to scare you. If you are serious about going into business, you must be willing to accept some difficult, sobering truths about the rocky road ahead. The Niagara SBDC can help you avoid these and many other pitfalls of the business start-up process. Contact us today for assistance at (716)434-3815.

How do I obtain financing for starting a business or expanding an existing business?

Typically, financing for small businesses comes from traditional lenders. The SBDC will assist in the process but does not provide loans. Your ability to obtain financing from lenders will be based on:

The strength of the business idea
A complete and comprehensive business plan
Down payment (or equity)
Clean personal credit history and positive financial net worth
Management ability
Sufficient cash flow to meet expenses and repay the debt

Where in New York should I call for information on permits and licenses?

You should visit the NYS Business Permit Assistance Program at (518) 474-8275 or This website is an interactive website that helps users determine their New York State permit and licensing requirements.

Where can I obtain a Federal ID number?

Also called a "Federal Tax Number" or "Employer Identification Number," it is granted upon completing IRS Form SS-4. You obtain this form in printable Adobe Acrobat format (PDF) at, or by calling 1-800-829-1040. You can also contact the Business Assistance Center at (716)961-5100.

How do I know what taxes I will need to pay and collect for my business?

Answers to many of your tax questions can be found in the attached links: Internal Revenue Service: or New York State Tax Guide For New Businesses:

What is the cost of SBDC services?

There is no charge for SBDC consulting services. Call (716)434-3815 to arrange an appointment for confidential, one-on-one counseling with one of SBDC’s advisors or E-mail us at



Lynn Oswald, Director
Small Business
Development Center
3111 Saunders Settlement Rd.
Sanborn, New York 14132
Phone: 716-210-2515
Fax: 716-210-2512


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