Lunch and Learn at BEDC

LUNCH AND LEARN -- These local experts in finance, small business, tax, and property all set down for a Lunch and Learn with six individuals planning to start new businesses in Buffalo. Pictured are (front) Lee Harcrow, Mayor Jerrod Jones, Chase Glick, (back) Corey Theiss, Clayton Hays, and BEDC Director Mike Anderson.

The Buffalo Economic Development building was the location for an informative hour and a half Wednesday, August 14th, hosted by BEDC Director Mike Anderson. Five individuals who have hopes and plans of opening small businesses in Buffalo, and one person who has just opened a new business, met with four local professionals, and a Small Business Developer to learn about the process of starting a business.

Chase Glick and Corey Theiss from Citizens State Bank answered questions about finance, Lee Harcrow of Harcrow & Harcrow, CPA Services offered accounting information to consider, and Clayton Hays of Re-Max had advice on renting or owning property for business adventures. Buffalo Mayor Jerrod Jones started the conversations with his own history of starting and operating a business in Buffalo.

The session could have gone longer than the allotted time with all the many questions. The panel of experts and the group of new entrepreneurs talked over a variety of issues and concerns. Advice flowed and names and contact information were exchanged following the session.

?Remember you and your bank are in business together,? said Glick. ?If you succeed, the bank succeeds. So keep your banker in the loop. Each loan request is unique. The more the banker knows about your plans and ideas, the more they can help.?

?Just now it is probably better to lease than to own a building,? said Hays. ?Maybe after you?re well established, it will be better to own. And it?s important that you have an attorney look at anything major you sign.?

?The LLC is popular right now,? said Harcrow. ?But you need to look at information about all types of corporate structures. Also, you need to know about employees vs contract labor. It?s important to mitigate your costs the first years in business.?

Jones added to the session with a history of his family?s businesses in Buffalo that dated back to the time when Highway 75 was still a dirt road. ?I guess my family was always in some kind of business,? said Jones. ?And I learned it is important to take care of all your customers. Big or small; take all the calls.?

Kim McLerran from the Small Business Development Center of Sam Houston State University gave the group some overall, general advice on getting started. ?Most people start a small business without much help or advice, but there is help out there if you learn where to go.?

The session at BEDC was just the answer on learning where to go and who to talk to to get that information before starting a new business. Hopefully, some of the pitfalls that others have stumbled in may be avoided when a new business owner becomes more informed and learns what questions to ask and who to ask.

Anderson deemed the meeting a success and said he plans to hold more like it in the future. ?Buffalo probably isn?t going to attract the next Toyota plant or anything like that, but we can help small businesses start and grow. If each new business employes three or four people, it all adds up and benefits the whole community.?

Glick said that he thought the meeting was productive, too. ?I think people who have been in business for awhile now might also benefit from sitting down to a panel like this and asking some questions about banking and taxes and property.?