New Year, New Opportunities: 5 Things to Get You Started

By: Kayla Vokral, SBDC Business Advisor

With 2020 winding down and 2021 right around the corner, some of you may be looking for a new adventure! This adventure may be an idea for a new business, and you want to be all in, but maybe aren’t sure where or how to get started. We are here for you, and we have some basic steps to help you get started on your business journey!


One of the first thing to do is to figure out if your business idea is actually solving a problem. We talk with our clients about this simple equation to help them with this question all the time.

Problem + Solution = Opportunity


 So, the question is, “what is the problem you are solving?” For example, did you see a whole loaf of unsliced bread and think, it would save people so much time if the bread was pre-sliced before buying it. The problem was uncut loaves of bread, the solution was pre-slicing the bread for distribution and the opportunity, “It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.” When you are going through your business idea, make sure you are solving a problem that you and other users are experiencing.  The group of ‘others’ will be your target audience when promoting your business and the problem you solved.

Once you define the problem you are solving, we encourage you to attend our Startup Roadmap and Business Model Canvas Workshops. These workshops provide the basic steps to start a business and define and communicate your business idea or concept. These workshops are facilitated by our business advisors and are very interactive.

We welcome questions and comments throughout the presentations, because we are here to help you move your business to the next level!

After learning the fundamental steps to start your business, the next thing to do is schedule a one-on-one appointment with an SBDC (Small Business Development Center) business advisor. I always like to say, “We help in every step of your business journey whether you are just getting started, have been in business for a while, or are looking to sell, we are here to assist.”

Now, I know that is quite broad in terms of what we can assist with but here are a few examples of what we help with on a day-to-day basis:

  • Loan prep
  • Financial projections
  • Business plan development
  • Market research
  • Trainings and workshops

An advisor will work with you on what your specific business goals are and how we can help you achieve them.

When you find you are ready to pull the trigger and officially start your business, there are some steps needed to establish your business in the State of Montana. We have gathered those steps in an easy to find guide at Each step is listed with the corresponding website link for a simple way to complete each step.


These Steps Include:

  • Registering with the Secretary of State
  • Searching for your business name
  • Applying for a business license in your city
  • Applying for your EIN number
  • Insurance
  • When to set up a bank account
  • Also included are recommendations of lawyers and accountants

We always suggest consulting with your attorney or CPA to determine the type of business entity you should choose.

“Now what?” Now, you are ready to do business! You are ready to start promoting your business to your target market, you are ready to make that first sale, and you are ready for this next adventure as a business owner! This is just a brief breakdown of 5 things to get you started and there is much more to learn. Always keep an eye out for trainings that can help you and never hesitate to reach out to your SBDC advisor for assistance. Like I mentioned before “We are here to help you move your business to the next level.”