With the 2nd-largest economy in the US and one of the highest ranked for economic growth, starting a business in Texas is a great choice for entrepreneurs. Texas’ support for small businesses is evident in its low business licensing fees, lack of red tape, and abundance of affordable real estate (particularly in rural areas). Few states can boast about similarly limited regulation that lets businesses get started almost as soon as they are conceived. Perhaps this is why downtown Brownwood has experienced so much growth in the past few years. It could also be that Brownwood’s city officials offer a huge helping hand to make one’s entrepreneurial journey as seamless as possible! If you have an idea for a business or would like to be a part of Brownwood’s economic growth, we’ve compiled five basic steps to starting a business.
There are three basic types of business organizations. In a sole proprietorship, you would be the sole owner of all your business’s assets, profits, losses, and liabilities. You are personally reliable for any acquired debt but you remain in complete control of your operations. A partnership consists of two or more owners in which you split the assets and liabilities. Lastly, a corporation is a separate legal entity with limited liability. A corporation is formed when a transfer of money or property takes place by the prospective shareholders in exchange for capital stock in the corporation. Consult our business guide for a more in-depth analysis of each.
Before getting started, make sure you are exceedingly passionate about your idea. Running your own business requires long hours and a fighting spirit, it is not your average 9-5; but when done correctly, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
The most important factor in starting a business is a strong business plan. Do your research on your customer base, competitors, funding sources, employment pool, and your business’s unique selling point (USP). Use that information to build a detailed proposal of what your business will be, what product or service you will sell, to whom will you sell, how you will sell it, and a financial analysis. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can provide free business counseling and tools for business plan development. NerdWallet has a step-by-step, broken-down guide to drafting a complete business plan, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has some great templates.
In Brownwood, there is a wide range of locations from which to choose. Don’t just set your eyes on a cute space in our historic downtown without considering the proximity to your home and market, accessibility, traffic volume, square footage needs, monthly rent and utility budget, storage capacity, term of lease, zoning ordinances, and more. Consult a local real estate agent to help find the perfect fit.
We all know that it takes money to make money. Don't make the mistake of being under-financed. Be realistic about your start-up costs. Discuss business trends with your local lender, secure a manageable line of credit, and talk to experts about potential grants and outside funding you may be eligible to receive. Some programs through the SBA Loan Program might be available to you as well. In fact, there are many organizations that want to help you succeed by offering financial assistance:
Brownwood Municipal Development District
Brownwood Industrial Foundation, Inc.
USDA Rural Development
Texas Department of Agriculture
Officer of the Governor
Texas Bank for Economic Development
Don’t be afraid to ask the Brownwood Municipal Development District for available funding. Lucille + Mabel, Pioneer Tap House, and Intermission Bookshop have all been grateful for the grant and/or financial assistance provided by Brownwood.
Determine the potential tax responsibilities of your new business with federal, state, and local tax authorities. Federal tax obligations are filed through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). State tax filings are done through the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA). If starting an online business, this online Marketplace Seller tax information is useful. For questions about local business and property taxes, consult the Brown County Appraisal District.
If you are constructing a new building or remodeling, you will need to have your plans approved by the Development Services Office (head to City Hall), upon which, you will be issued a building permit to begin construction, and upon completion, you will be issued a Certificate of Occupancy.
If at this point you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath. You do not have to figure this out on your own. Consult your attorney and the employees of Brownwood’s City Hall to help file all the necessary business licenses and permits.
Knowing who to speak to when getting started is imperative for success. There is not a “one size fits all” approach to starting a business. Different regulations and permits apply based on the type of business, location, zoning, what kind of ownership you will have, if you are renting or buying a building, if you are renovating a space, et cetera.
Important people who are key to your business’s success are a banker, attorney, and accountant. Make sure you’ve enlisted all three professionals in the development phase of your startup. The following are other city contacts who can help answer any questions you may have at any point in time:
Visit the online business resource guide
Brownwood Municipal Development District
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts is responsible for the administration and collection of all State Sales and use taxes.
The Internal Revenue Service will be able to help you in all matters concerning reporting of taxes and other financial information.
The Tarleton State University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a resource partner of the Federal Small Business Administration. The SBDC provides counseling, technical assistance, training workshops, and reference resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The center is staffed by professionals with proven ability to promote growth, innovation, profitability, increased productivity, and improved management of a small business. Services are completely confidential and free of charge.
The SBDC has over 30 years of experience in developing successful entrepreneurs. The US Government Accountability Office recently conducted an analysis of 52 economic developm ent programs supporting entrepreneurship across the US and found SBDC to be the best of all those programs. To set up an appointment, call 254-968-0558. Take advantage of this hometown help.
Texas offers the very best business ecosystem in the nation, leading the country in job creation and unmatched economic opportunities. It feels like every month we are celebrating a new Grand Opening in Brownwood. If your friends and neighbors can follow their dreams by starting their own businesses, so can you!
Please review our online business guide for a complete overview of start-up logistics.