Van Wert Mayor Jerry Mazur discusses small businesses with Stacy Adam, director Van Wert Area Economic Development. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Van Wert Mayor Jerry Mazur discusses small businesses with Stacy Adam, director Van Wert Area Economic Development. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT – A group of interested small business partners gathered at Kenn-Feld Group on Saturday morning to discuss potential steps in developing new small business interests in the Van Wert community. The event was hosted by Main Street Van Wert and the Van Wert Area Economic Development.

Stacy Adam, executive director of the Van Wert Are Economic Development Corp., set the tone for the meeting by stating that help and assistance is available for those wishing to start a new business through the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Agencies, an attorney, accountant, commercial insurance, WSU-Lake Campus Business Enterprise Center and professional associations.

“The big question everyone asks who is interested in starting a new business is, ‘how do I start,’” said Adam. “The primary starting point involves setting goals, assessing risks and core competency coverage.”

The opening part of the meeting involved a panel of local entrepreneurs facilitated by Mark Verville. Those included Pam Brown, Sister’s Bridal, Sabrina Niagu, Touches of Time and Vallace Hunt, Shine Auto Detailing.

Late in the morning, an expert panel was available and facilitated by Mitch Price, Main Street Van Wert. Those involved in answering questions included legal, Shaun Putnam, CPA, Andrew Bashore, Realtor, Chet Straley, Finance, Ty Shingeldecker, Insurance, Randy Myers and Marketing, Marie Miller.

Adam distributed a business starting checklist which included summarizing your idea, testing your idea, protecting your idea, creating a business plan and choosing a legal business structure.

Other checklist items included choosing a legal business structure, designating a registered agent, locking in your location, focusing on funding, building a team and pinning down your company name.

“It is important to getting a doing business,” said Adam. “You will want to obtain an employer’s identification number from the IRS, open a bank account, obtain any necessary business license permits, insure your business and keep your business plan up to date.

“The process of writing a business plan, including the thought and research you put into it up front, forces you to take an objective, critical look at the business in its entirety,” continued Adam. “Poor planning is one of the primary reasons businesses fail. Writing the business plan helps you identify your strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.”

Adam said that the business plan enables you to communicate your ideas to bankers, employees and potential investors.

“Many start with a ‘great idea’ then find out as they begin writing their plan that the idea won’t work as well as originally conceived,” said Adam. “It identifies where you need to cut overhead, consider options for becoming more efficient or more profitable and may even lead you to postpone or cancel your project.”

Business plan class schedule for those interested include business plan basics, organization, business plan basics, marketing research and operative plan, justifying cash flow forecasts and funding sources and application process.