Local Resources for Small Business Development and Growth

Anyone who has created, researched or worked with a small business knows how complex the process is. There are so many topics to consider, things to research and acquire, and there’s always the uncertainty of long-term success. While no one can guarantee the longevity of any business, creating a strong foundation to build on is critical. According to the Small Business Administration, there are 10 steps any person should take while they create their business. To make it simpler, we have taken these steps and applied them to Topeka and Shawnee County area.

Research: Gather information about potential customers and see if there’s an over-saturation or growth opportunity for your business industry in an area. This information can give you a competitive edge.
Kansas Statistical Atlas: Learn about everything from household types to household incomes to occupations, industries and sectors.
Small Business Reference Center: business basics, start-up kits, business plans, and information on business area and small business types.

Business Plan: Every business is stronger when clearly laid out in a business plan. Use this as a road map and a way to inform potential investors or collaborators about the ins and outs of your future small business.
Browse our collection of books to help you create your business plan.
Washburn Small Business Development Center: works with entrepreneurs to start, learn about and grow their small business.

Funding: Asking for and raising the right amount of capital goes a long way towards helping a small business.
Venturize: free online resource hub for small business owners who need access to various tools and want to grow their business.
Connect2Capital: This non-profit lender specializes in helping small business owners by offering lending opportunities for new and growing businesses as well as equipment purchases. They also offer webinars on their site.
GOTopeka Small Business Incentives: a matching incentive program for small businesses coming to the area. Funds can be applied towards employee training, construction, equipment purchases, or renovations.
StartUp Kansas, Kansas Capital Multiplier Fund, E-Community Loan Funding: various offerings through NetWork Kansas to acquire capital and funding.

Location: The location of one’s business may impact a license or how they are taxed. Additionally, putting a business in a place that has incentives for opening in different areas can be a boon for a small business owner.
Understand local zoning and taxes: Different parts of the county and city have different regulations and taxing authority.
Topeka and Shawnee County First Opportunity Fund: this is offered to help grow the community by helping local businesses create jobs and increase production.
TSC3: this is a mission to keep spending local by encouraging all small business owners to spend 3% of their total budget within Topeka and Shawnee County.

Structure: how a small business is legally structured impacts the taxing, registrations and liability.
Washburn Small Business Development Center: local chapter of SBDC that works with entrepreneurs to figure out what is the best fit for them and their business plans.
712 Innovations: a co-work space and small business incubator located in the heart of downtown Topeka, they also offer various programs and events to help entrepreneurs create a solid foundation.

Name: A small business’s name becomes their brand and it is important to make sure it isn’t already taken.
Kansas Business Center Name Availability Database: check to see what is taken or available in the state of Kansas. Note: they do not register sole proprietorships.

Register: Once a name has been selected it is crucial to make it legal and make sure that any necessary registration happens at the federal and state levels.
Kansas Business Center: a one-stop resource for having a small business in the state of Kansas.

Tax IDs: Create an employer identification number (EID) and check on any required sales tax guidelines and rules.
Kansas Department of Revenue: this page provides information for Business Tax Registrations and on sales taxes.

Licenses/Permits: Being legally compliant and having the necessary permits and licenses to operate ensure smoother sailing for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Licenses in the City of Topeka : discover the regulations for having a business license within the city.
State of Kansas permits: browse a comprehensive list from the state of Kansas to check if a permit or license is required.

Banking: Be mindful of predatory banking practices and do research to understand why a separate bank account for businesses expenses is critical.
Small Business Administration has many great resources and tips on the best practices and perks for why you should have a business bank account.

For a printable version of the ten steps, click here.

Additional Community Resources:

Greater Topeka Entrepreneurship Guide : 712 published a comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs to discover resources in the area.
Downtown Topeka Inc: learn about the Capital Business Improvement District (CBID) and the Downtown Topeka Foundation (DTF). These two projects help keep the downtown maintained and promoted, while also making cultural improvements to the area.
KTWU Working Capital : a business television show produced by KTWU that features local and regional businesses with a focus on entrepreneurship, education, inspiration and professional development.
Kansas PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center): Assists businesses in locating, obtaining and performing federal, state, and local government contracts.
1 Million Cups: An opportunity to interact with the Topeka entrepreneurial community as two entrepreneurs present their startups to an audience of mentors, advisors, and fellow entrepreneurs.
SCORE: a program that offers free mentorship, programs, and workshops for entrepreneurs and small business owners.