RESOURCES IN THE ALLEGHENIES

Startup Alleghenies includes resource providers who can help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into businesses and/or turn their businesses into better businesses by adding a new product or service. Here are services that can be provided to assist entrepreneurs.

To begin your journey, contact the Entrepreneurial and Innovation Coach in your county or click on the “Enroll” link in the top right of the web page and fill out the online form.

WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Writing a business plan is the best way to test whether or not an idea for starting a business is feasible, other than going out and doing it. In this sense, the business plan is your safety net; writing a business plan can save you a great deal of time and money if working through the business plan reveals that your business idea is untenable. You’re going to need both operating and startup capital to start a new business and you have no hope of getting any money from established financial institutions such as banks without a well-developed business plan.

NAME A BUSINESS

Choosing a business name is important. It’s also important to be consistent with your chosen business name as you file your business registration and tax forms. Inconsistent use of a business name on your paperwork could result in duplicate registrations, misapplied payments, misfiled returns, legal issues, and even a possible loss of revenue.

DEFINE THE PRODUCT

New product development can be described as a five-stage process, beginning with generating ideas and progressing to marketing completed products. In between are processes where you evaluate and screen product ideas, take steps to protect your ideas, and finalize design in an R&D stage.

CHOOSE THE APPROPRIATE LEGAL BUSINESS STRUCTURE

As you prepare to register your business in Pennsylvania, you will need to decide which business structure will best suit your business. Legal and tax considerations, as well as personal needs and the needs of your individual business will help determine your structure. There are four main types of business structures: sole proprietorships, partnerships (general or limited), limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Each business structure has its own characteristics.

REGISTER A BUSINESS

Ready to get your business up and running? Registration is the next key step in your startup journey. This process will vary slightly depending on your business structure, so it’s important to know that information before embarking on this step.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT LOCATION

Choosing a business location is perhaps the single most important decision a small business owner or startup will make, so it requires precise planning and research. It involves looking at demographics, assessing your supply chain, scoping the competition, staying on budget, understanding how state laws and taxes might impact you, and so much more. Each township, borough, or city has specific permits and zoning requirements that need to be taken into consideration.
The right initial location may be a place that has been designed specifically for entrepreneurs to get established and grow until they need their own location. This could be a co-working space, a maker space, a business incubator or other options. The Alleghenies Region is home to several spaces built specifically for entrepreneurs.

DISCOVER CUSTOMERS

The objective is to identify your first customers. You have assumptions about who your customers will be, the exact problem that you are solving for them and how the customer will buy your product or service from you. You need to test your assumptions by engaging those in and around your target market and sharing information about your product or service and getting feedback. Then using that feedback to adjust your product or service and sales approach.

BUILD MARKETS

Products and services can be sold domestically, internationally and to various units of government. Specific strategies need to be developed and deployed for each of these markets.

HIRE EMPLOYEES

As a business grows and it is time to hire employees there are many things to consider: Paying employment related taxes and fees such as unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, employer withholding of personal income tax, new hire reporting and local earned income tax. There is also recruiting and compensating the right talent, plus Personnel policies and other operating procedures.

UNDERSTANDING STATE TAX REQUIREMENTS AND FILING

As a business in Pennsylvania, you will be required to collect and pay taxes as part of your regular operations. Your responsibilities will be determined based on the type of business you run.

DEFINE A COST STRUCTURE

The process of identifying the most important costs associated with your product or service and how much and through which methods people are willing to pay for your product or service are key to your business success.

FINANCING THE BUSINESS

All new and emerging businesses require financing. There are many options including securing private investors, loans from commercial banks, loans from family and friends and a number of public financing options including loans, loan guarantees, tax credits, bonds and grants. The right financing mix is critical to the success of a new or emerging business.

MENTORS AND NETWORKING

Mentors can be the difference between success and failure for many entrepreneurs. The experience and knowledge of the right mentor can provide the edge necessary to take the entrepreneur to the next level of success. Mentors help entrepreneurs get the experience, training and help necessary to drive success. There is also a great deal of value derived from entrepreneurs interacting with each other, to learn from one another and to gain confidence through a supportive network of like-minded people.

Startup Alleghenies Resource Matrix

  • Saint Francis Small Business Development Center
  • Saint Francis Small Business Development Center
  • Ben Franklin Partnership
  • Catalyst Space
  • PennTap
  • Ben Franklin Partnership
  • Saint Francis Small Business Development Center
  • Saint Francis Small Business Development Center
  • Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation (ABCD Corp.)
  • Johnstown-Area Regional Industries (JARI)
  • Somerset Economic Development Corporation (SEDC)
  • Ben Franklin Partnership
  • St. Francis Small Business Development Center
  • Ben Franklin Partnership
  • Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAP&DC)
  • PA CareerLink
  • St. Francis Small Business Development Center
  • Ben Franklin Partnership
  • St. Francis Small Business Development Center
  • Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation (ABCD Corp.)
  • Ben Franklin Partnership
  • City of Johnstown
  • Community Foundation for the Alleghenies
  • Johnstown-Area Regional Industries (JARI)
  • KIZ Resources
  • Somerset County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC)
  • The Progress Fund
  • Altoona LaunchBox
  • Catalyst Space
  • Startup Alleghenies Online Community