Determine your startup costs and projected monthly income and expenses.
Free Online Tools
Equipment, furniture, supplies: Check local suppliers and/or online sources including ThomasNet for names of equipment manufacturers and distributors.
Inventory: Determine how much inventory you need to start your business and locate pricing by contacting wholesalers for your products.
Location, including lease or purchase: Check local commercial realtors for pricing and/or search PA Site Search.
Pricing your product or service: Check out your potential competitors’ pricing and/or consult guides such as SBA’s Pricing Models for Successful Business.
Staffing (determine wage scales for types of jobs by consulting government websites): The U.S. Department of Labor has two comprehensive websites:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Onet (Occupational Information Network)
- For information specific to Pennsylvania, see the PA Center for Workforce Information & Analysis (CWIA)
- For nonprofit salaries in Pennsylvania, consult the PANO Salary Survey.
Consult RMA Annual Statement Studies (REF 338.0973 ANN at the Business & Reference Center) or the First Research database to find financial ratio benchmarks for your type of business.
Community lending through ASSETS help entrepreneurs prepare for larger loan amounts.
Consult with Community First Fund, at 717-393-2351.
For SBA 504 loans or DCED funding for larger scale economic development projects (including current DCED program loan rates), consult the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County (EDC), at 717-397-4046.
For DCED (Department of Community & Economic Development) funding, search for Pennsylvania state funding and incentive programs.
For other government grant programs, search online. Grants for business start-ups and expansions are extremely rare! Special populations, such as veterans, may qualify for grants or beneficial loan opportunities.
Navigate through the Toolkit by clicking the links below. If you have any questions, click the Chat box or give the Library a call!