With the influx of new businesses in Tiffin, many of which are food related, we would like to provide information on starting that process. This is a guide describing the steps to opening your food business. This process is required for starting a new food or beverage establishment, a remodeled or altered establishment, when there is a change of ownership or when an establishment has been closed for more than a year.
1. How toBegin: In the Guide to Starting a Food Business you will find a complete description of the process, time frame, fee schedule, additional permit contacts, required equipment and a final inspection checklist. The packet also contains a Review Application which must be completed by the business owner.
2. Submission: To obtain your license, you must submit a set of plans, the completed application and plan review fees to the Seneca County General Health District (SCGHD), which has 30 days to review those items. When plans are approved, the owner must contact the SCGHD to set up a pre-licensing inspection.
3. Pre-licensing Inspection: This inspection will take place after all equipment is in place, cleaning is done and all required inspections are completed by the building, plumbing, electrical and fire agencies.
Please see the Program Guidelines for all of the rules and regulations and/or contact Nicki Rumaschlag with the SCGHD at 419.447.3691 ext. 348 with any questions you may have.
Small Business Development Center Director Bill Auxter
Thinking about starting a business? Or wondering how to expand the small business you have already? The Ohio Small Business Development Center at Terra State Community Collegeis offering free, two-hour seminars every month on how to start, buy, or expand a small business. Topics covered include the basics of name registration, licensing, taxes, advisors, business entities, employees, insurance, financing, business planning and more.
Bill Auxter, a small business owner himself (Auxter Printing Services) and Director of the Ohio Small Business Development Center for the area (located in Fremont), will be leading the sessions.
OK, you’ve gotten advice and input. You’ve crafted your business plan. You’ve lined up the capital you need. Now, you have to make it official and file all of your paperwork so your business can get up and running. Here are my recommendations:
1. Starting Your Business in Ohio (2014 edition) – the Ohio Development Services Agency puts out a downloadable .pdfthat covers a lot of the paperwork issues, including, among other topics. I recommend reading this to get yourself familiar with what you need to do:
Business Name & Legal Structure
Independent Contractor v. Employees
Licenses and Permits
2. Get the checklist – ODSA also provides a checklist for more than 250 different types of businesses, from starting an accounting firm to zoo. Simply go to Step 3 at business.ohio.gov/starting and see if the business you’re planning to do is listed there. Also get this to familiarize yourself with specifics.
3. Quick Start for Business Entry – once you have that information, I recommend first taking actions listed on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. These apply to almost any business. They include:
Registering with Secretary of State
Getting your EIN Number
Opening a Bank Account
Contacting Ohio Dept. of Taxation
Employers – New Hire Reporting Center, Workers’ Compensation, Job & Family Services
4. Licensing & Permits – the Ohio Business Gateway also has a listing of many of the professions and the licenses needed to perform them. This should complement what you found at the First Stop Business Connection as well (also housed at the Ohio Business Gateway.)
5. Seek Professional Help (maybe) – at this point I recommend considering whether you want to seek the assistance of a professional individual/firm to do a lot of the paperwork for you. It’s a little like your income taxes – you can do it yourself, but do you want to? Answer – it depends. You can also start with this as step one. The three main “paperwork partners” are going to be an attorney, accountant, and insurance agent. If you need additional specialists (e.g., patent attorneys), they can assist you with that as well. Some of the local specialists (and there are many good ones) who support SIEDC include Gordon Law Office, Supance & Howard, Meyer & Kerschner(attorneys), Lisa Young CPA (accountant) and United Insurance(insurance.)
6. Redo Starting a Business – Step 1 (advice) – you may want to run what you’re intending to do from a paperwork standpoint by the Small Business Development Center folks. Steve Auxter would be happy to help you with that.
In Steps 1 and 2, I advocated getting lots of advice – from free publicly subsidized sources, from the internet, and from the marketplace. Now, I’m going to be an advocate for business planning. BUT – it is not necessarily a one size fits all deal. Simply put, a business plan is nothing more than a systematic, thoughtful consideration of the key aspects of your business, from marketing to capital, from costs to produce to employees. I recommend it first and foremost to do it for yourself. It also is a critical document and/or slide deck when you’re trying to raise money…either from a bank or investors. So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite resources for business plans and business planning:
OK, having started a couple of businesses myself, I am a big proponent of getting plenty of advice and feedback before launching. It doesn’t mean I believe the entrepreneur should listen to everyone who gives “advice.” FedEx’s Fred Smith’s college paper getting a C grade on the idea for the overnight delivery services serves as good warning against that. That being said, in addition to the advice from Small Business Development Center and Rocket Ventures, there are five other places I would recommend to go to for input:
SCORE – SCORE, the Service Corps Of Retired Executives, is a national nonprofit network of 364 chapters and 13,000+ volunteers started in 1964 in Virginia to help provide advice, mentoring and tools to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The Northwest Ohio SCORE, covering Seneca County and 12 other counties in the region, is located in Toledo and provides about 1200 free, confidential counseling services a year through its face-to-face, seminars, and online tools.
Chamber of Commerce – although the Chamber is best known for helping businesses market themselves and save money through its discounts, I also recommend it as a good place to get input about anyone’s prospective business. The Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce has 300 business members and has a good pulse on the local marketplace. I have found John Detwiler and Deb Martorana are always willing to give an entrepreneur or small business owner their perspective.
Marketplace – perhaps the best source for input, I recommend going to businesses in similar industries with whom you will not be competing as well as to prospective customers. Networking here is key (Chamber, Professional Associations, personal network) as well as some cold/warm calling. Don’t be afraid to go to your local library to access the business databases through Reference USA as well.
Professional Associations – should be considered for both the industry the new company will be in as well as for prospective customers. Several lists online, including The Planning Shop’s.