Q: How do I start my business, what are the first steps?
A: Your first step should be to attend our Smart Start: Entrepreneur 101 class. This informative course will help you organize your ideas, network with other entrepreneurs and provide you with all the documents you’ll need to file to get your business moving on the right track. An experienced counselor will answer your questions and help you navigate through the paperwork and help you determine which forms you’ll need and how to fill them out.

Q:How do I register a business?
A:The link below will take you to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation's website. This page contains information about the registration process, the forms necessary to register a business as well as the fee schedule. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact us. Click Here

Q:What services does the SBTDC offer?
A:The Maryland Small Business Development Center Network (MDSBTDC) assists entrepreneurs to establish, manage and expand their businesses by applying the latest technology and proven methods to counseling, training, technical assistance, research, and other specialized services. Most of these services are provided at no cost to our clients.

Established in 1988, The MDSBTDC Network is a partnership between the US Small Business Administration, the State of Maryland and the University of Maryland College Park. This partnership links private, enterprise, government, higher education and local economic development organizations to provide management training and technical assistance to Maryland's small businesses.

Q:I need a business loan, how can the SBTDC help?
A:The SBTDC has relationships with area financial institutions and other sources of state funding and can help you determine which program will best fit your needs. We’ll package your loan and submit the package to the financial institutions. Though we can’t guarantee that you’ll get funding, we can work with you to ensure your documentation is presented in the best possible light.

Q:How do I get an appointment with a counselor?
A:Prior to calling our office you should have a business plan. This important document will help you organize your thoughts and establish a vision for your business. Remember, if you can’t define your business on paper, it will be harder to sell your idea to customers! Providing a plan will give our counselors a better idea of where you’re going and help them provide relevant assistance. If you don’t have a plan consider attending our business plan writing class, "Demystifying the Business Plan" or need help editing one, call our office to sign up for one of our FREE business plan group sessions.

If you have a completed business plan or are an established business and need assistance in a specific area, call our office (301) 403-0501 to schedule an              appointment. Prior to your appointment, you may be required to fax or e-mail your plan for review by one of our counselors.

Q:Why do I need a business plan? I know what I want to do and I’m ready to get started!
A:Think of the business plan as a road map for your business. Few people would consider taking a long distance road trip without first mapping out their course. It’s the same thing with a business. To successfully arrive at your business destination, you’ll need a detailed map. Writing a plan helps you organize your thoughts, and allows you to consider various aspects of the business and how you will accomplish certain tasks: Marketing, cash flow, etc. Our goal at the SBTDC is to do our best to ensure each business has the proper foundation and tools for success and we believe that the business plan is vital to the process.

Q:Does the SBTDC write my business plan?
A:No. We believe that no one can tell your story better than you. It is important that you understand fully what will be involved in running your business and anticipate how you will address certain issues. If you already have a rough draft and need help, consider taking the Developing a Business Plan online course in the MDSBTDC Virtual Classroom. If after looking and attempting a business plan you still feel you need help, consider taking our seminar called “Writing A Winning Business Plan.” See our training calendar for details.

Q:Are there grants available to start my business or expand my business?
A:Click Here for more information on available grants.


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