In the 2010, The Small Business Economy: A Report to the President, "Small businesses those with fewer than 500 employees are generally the creators of most net new jobs, as well as the employers of about half of the nation's private sector work force, and the providers of a significant share of innovations, as well as half of the nonfarm, private real gross domestic product." (Office of Advocacy1) Starting a small business offers rewards and challenges that attract many new entrepreneurs each year. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration's, Office of Advocacy, "For many reasons, local firms serving rural communities often have more difficulty accessing needed technology, transportation, and services, which leads to difficulty in accessing resources resulting in high fixed costs for rural small businesses." (U.S. Small Business Administration 2)
This resource guide identifies business information that may be helpful when starting or maintaining a small rural business including links to full-text resources about: issues to consider before starting a business; the how-to-start a business process; and marketing information. It also contains information on funding sources, training opportunities, technical assistance and general business information.
The Rural Information Center has additional resources for small businesses that include:
Starting a Child Care Center:
1 The Small Business Economy: A Report to the President. U.S. Small Business Administrations, Office of Advocacy. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 2010. 185p. http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/sb_econ2010.pdf [PDF 2.16 MB]
2 Advancing Rural America. U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy. Washington, DC: U.S. Small Business Administration. March 2001. 21p. http://archive.sba.gov/advo/stats/rural_sb.pdf [PDF 65.45 KB]
This resource guide was prepared by Patricia LaCaille John, December 2005.
Last Modified August, 2013
The use of trade, firm, or corporation names in this publication (or page) is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Agricultural Research Service of any product or service to the exclusion of others that maybe suitable. For more information about National Agricultural Library Policy and Disclaimers You can download and get help using the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print PDF documents.
Issues to Consider Before Starting a Business
1. Considering Self-Employment: What to Think About Before
Starting a Business. George Silvestri. Occupational Outlook
Quarterly, 43, no. 2 (1999): 15-23. http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/1999/summer/contents.htm
2. Evaluating a Rural Enterprise: Marketing and Business
Guide. Preston Sullivan, Lane Greer. Fayetteville, AR, ATTRA,
2002. 12 p. https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/summaries/summary.php?pub=277
3. Financial Difficulties of Small Businesses and Reasons for Their Failure. Teresa A. Sullivan, Elizabeth Warren, Jay
Westbrook. SBA-95-0403. Austin, University of Texas, 1998. 44 p. http://www.sba.gov/ADVO/research/rs188tot.pdf [PDF 211.65 KB]
4. Follow These Steps to Starting a Business. Washington, DC:
U.S. Small Business Administration, n.d. Web-Based resource. (Visited Sept, 2011) http://www.sba.gov/content/follow-these-steps-starting-business
5. Home-Based Business... Is It For Me? Kathleen Tweeten,
Dale Zetocha. EB-44. Fargo, North Dakota State University Extension
Service. 1999. 12 p. http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/yf/leaddev/eb44w.htm
6. Home-Based Business... Is It For Me? (continued).
EB-44. Fargo, North Dakota State University Extension Service, 1999. 14 p.
7. Providing a Home for Start-Ups. Carl Hoffman.
Appalachia (JanuaryApril 2001): 4 p. http://www.arc.gov/magazine/articles.asp?ARTICLE_ID=33&F_ISSUE_ID=&F_CATEGORY_ID=6
8. Starting a Business in Your Home: Weighing the Pros and
Cons. Jim McConnon. Bulletin 4190. Orono, University of Maine
Cooperative Extension, n.d., 4 p. http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4190e/
9. Starting a Home Business. Bulletin 3007. Orono,
University of Maine Cooperative Extension, n.d. 6 p. http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/3007e/
10. Ten Frequently Asked Questions for Micro and Home-Based
Business Start-Up. Glenn Muskie. T-9005. Stillwater, OK: Oklahoma
State University Cooperative Extension, n.d., 4 p. http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2496/T-9005web.pdf
[PDF 99.98 KB]
Business Startup Planning Guides and Toolkits
1. Business Development Toolkit. Kalispell, MT: Flathead
Regional Business Center. Ml http://wsd.dli.mt.gov/local/kalispell/bdkv7/index.html
2. Business Toolbox. Washington, DC: SCORE Association. http://www.score.org/business_toolbox.html
3. Frequently Asked Advertising Questions: A Guide for Small
Business. Washington, DC: Federal Trade Commission. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/adv/bus35.shtm
4. Information for Small Businesses. Washington, DC: U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission. http://www.sec.gov/info/smallbus.shtml
5. Information for the Self Employed. Baltimore, MD: Social
Security Administration. http://www.socialsecurity.gov/selfemployed.htm
6. Rural Business Central. Dr. Greg Clary, Extension Economist in District 5 of Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Overton, TX: Texas Extension Service.http://ruralbusiness.tamu.edu/
7. Small Business and Self-Employed One-Stop Resource.
Washington, DC: Internal Revenue Service. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small
8. Small Business Online training. San Antonio, TX:
SBDCNET National Information Clearinghouse. http://sbdcnet.org/index.php/online-training-resources.html
9. The Small Business Start-Up Guide. 3rd Rev. Ed.
Robert Sullivan. Great Falls, VA: Information International, 2000. 361 p.
10. Start Up America. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce,
StartUp America Partnership. http://www.startupamericapartnership.org/
11. Starting a Business: What New Business Owners Need to Know About
Federal Taxes. Washington, DC: Internal Revenue Service. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=99336,00.html
12. Templates for Your Business. Washington, DC: SCORE
Developing Business Plans
1. The Business Plan for Home-Based Business. Little Rock:
Arkansas Small Business Development Center. http://asbdc.ualr.edu/bizfacts/7022.asp
2. Business Plan Outline. Little Rock: Arkansas Small Business
Development Center. http://asbdc.ualr.edu/business-information/1004-business-plan-outline.asp
3. Business Plan Preparation: Tools for Writing Business Plans.
Stephen Lawrence, Frank Moyes. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado
Leeds School of Business. http://leeds-faculty.colorado.edu/moyes/bplan/
4. Business Plans. San Antonio, TX: SBDCNET National Information
5. Writing a Business Plan. Washington, DC: U.S. Small Business Administration. Web-Based resource. (Visited Sept. 14, 2011)http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/starting-business/writing-business-plan
Marketing Strategies and Plans
1. Home-Based Business -- Market Your Product. Linda
Benedict. MP596. Columbia, University of Missouri Extension, 1993. 4 p. http://muextension.missouri.edu/explore/miscpubs/mp0596.htm
2. Marketing A New Business. Washington, DC: Small Business Administration. http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/starting-business/marketing-new-business
Examples of Small Business Startups
1. The Art of Creating a Goat Cheese Business: A North Central
Initiative Small Farm Profitability Case Study. Carol Doeden,
Marilyn Schlake. Lincoln, UNL Center for Applied Rural Innovation, 2001.
12 p. http://agmarketing.extension.psu.edu/begfrmrs/OptStratSmlFrms/FrmDivstrat/Goatcheese10_05.pdf [PDF 409.74 KB]
2. The Cooperative Approach to Crafts. R. Wade Binion,
Gerald Ely. Cooperative Information Report, 33. Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, 2000. 35 p.
3. Developing a New Co-Owned Agricultural Business: How Do We
Start a Value-Added Firm? David M. Saxowsky, David G. Kraenzel.
EC-1137. Fargo, North Dakota State University Extension Service, 1997. 13
4. Food Business in New Mexico. Nancy C. Flores, Jay
Lillywhite. Guide E-510. Las Cruces, New Mexico State University
Cooperative Extension, 2005. 12 p. http://cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_e/E-510.pdf [PDF 78.44 KB]
5. Starting a Food Business. P.H. Schmutz, and others.
HGIC 3861. Clemson, SC: Clemson University Extension, 2000. 7 p. http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/food_safety/business/hgic3861.html
6. Starting a Greenhouse Business. Revised. Paul A.
Thomas, William A. Thomas. Athens: University of Georgia Cooperative
Extension Service, 1999. 24 p. http://www.caes.uga.edu/Publications/pubDetail.cfm?pk_id=6239&pg=np&ct=Starting a Greenhouse&kt=&kid=&pid=
7. Starting a Greenhouse BusinessA Commercial Growers Guide.
Alan B. Stevens, and others. MF 1157. Manhattan, Kansas State
University Cooperative Extension Service, 1994. 19 p. http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/mf1157.pdf [PDF 308.92 KB]
8. Starting Your Own Wine Business. W.C. Morris. Second
Version. PB1688. Knoxville, University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension
Service, 2004. 50 p. https://utextension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/PB1688.pdf [PDF 1.38MB]
Business Finance Guides
1. The Credit Process: A Guide for Small Business Owners.
New York: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, n.d. 18 p. http://www.newyorkfed.org/education/addpub/credit.html
2. Financing Your Small Business: How to Borrow Money from People You Know. CircleLending, INC.and SCORE. Cambridge, MA: CircleLending, INC. 2003, 20p.http://www.score-suncoast.org/Publications/FinancingGuide.pdf [PDF 252.49 KB]
3. Obtaining Small Business Financing. Little Rock, AR: Arkansas Small Business Development Center. Web-Based Resource. (Visited Sept. 15, 2011) http://asbdc.ualr.edu/business-information/1003-financing-small-business.asp
4. Preparing Your Finances. FM-14. Washington,
DC: U.S. Small Business Administration, Web-Based Resource. (Visited Sept. 15, 2011) http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/starting-business/preparing-your-finances
Funding and Program Assistance
Federal-State-Private Partnership: Through the SBA and Department of Agriculture (USDA),
programs have been set up at the state and local level to assist in getting new businesses started and expanding existing ones.
While the SBA provides numerous loan programs for small businesses, it
does not offer grants to start or expand small businesses. There are very
few federal or state grants available to assist small businesses. The
grants SBA offers are generally for organizations that provide small
business management, technical, or financial assistance. For more
Many states have business programs that assist and promote small business
development within the state. State development agencies may offer direct
small business funding programs and other types of financial assistance designed to
encourage and assist entrepreneurs in starting or expanding a small business in that state.
Many states have also developed state specific business startup guides that are available to assist entrepreneurs. If you
cannot locate a specific state guide, see the Small Business Administration's guides that are made for each state,
Small Business Resource for Starting and Expanding
Entrepreneurs (some are available in Spanish): http://www.sbaguides.com/