Business Planning

New Business Checklist
Milnor is located in southeast North Dakota along one of the most accessible state highways in the region.  We offer fiber-optic connections for ultra-high speed internet, 4G cell service and  rail service is offered and served by the Red River Valley and Western Railroad.
Milnor’s goal is to encourage new business, expand existing businesses and find the tools you need to suceed.  The community of Milnor and the State of North Dakota is especially interested in primary sector jobs and encouraging their development.  We would like to work hand in hand with you to meet your needs by offering easy steps for you to launch your business.
Milnor’s mission for Economic Development is to build a solid foundation for economic growth in our community by working together to help businesses grow and expand, promoting our businesses, encouraging new business ventures, and improving our residents’ quality of life.

Develop a Business Plan
The business plan is the who, what, when, where and how of a business.  You are basically telling your story about your business and how it will work.  Developing a timeline of your process may also be beneficial to you and to others working with you in developing your business.  The North Dakota Small Business Development Center can help you with this process.  This is doubly important if you plan to seek funding.

Business Formation
Will your business be organized as a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership or Corporation?  Consult an attorney, accountant, or the nearest small Business Development Center to decide which business structure best meets your needs.  If you do nothing, you’ll operate as a sole proprietor. Realize that, as a sole proprietor, your personal assets are at risk.  North Dakota Small Business Development Center is a good source of information and offers a multitude of services to help you make these decisions along with many others you will have.

Register Your Business Name
Before you get business cards printed, perform a name search thru the Secretary of State office to make sure the name you want is available.  Register your name. 

Get Your EIN
Next, apply for an Employer Identification Number. You will need it to open a business bank account, as well as other administrative tasks. Your EIN is a bit like your business’ social security number. You will use it frequently, including when you file your taxes next April.

Secure Business Licenses and Permits
Find out what business licenses and permits you will need to operate in your city, county and state. It’s absolutely imperative that you have these approved before you start operating, or you could risk being shut down or fined.

Employer Responsibilities
You will need to be aware of the rights and responsibilities of a business owner.  This information is available at

Financing Your Business
Don’t overlook your pre-launch finances. You need to make sure you have enough money for your first year’s expenses, both personal and business. If you plan to take out a loan, apply for that loan now.
Website Development
A business needs a website for your customers to find you.  Register your domain name, using your company name if possible or try to incorporate keywords that relate to your business. Once you’ve secured that domain name, get your website designed. Unless you’re a seasoned web designer, resist the urge to do it yourself. This is the first thing people see and you want to make a favorable impression.
Business Insurance
Contact local insurance agents to determine the types and amounts of insurance your business will require.  Rates and types of coverage can vary so comparison shopping may be helpful. 

Marketing Your Business
Order any marketing material you will need, including business cards, brochures and coupons. Again, hire a professional designer so your materials are quality pieces. Set up social media profiles on a handful of sites that your clientele would be drawn to.

Hire Employees
You may be the only employee when you first start your business, but if you need help, take out a job ad online. Interview your top choices, and then make an offer to the right candidate. Spend time training each new employee to ensure they are ready for the position.

Software and Management Tools
Choose accounting software so that you can easily manage income and expenses, pay invoices and pay your staff. Investigate customer relationship management software so you can keep track of sales and customer activities and help you be efficient in your new business. 

Intellectual Property
Protect your ideas, products, symbols, and logos through the proper registration and maintenance.  An attorney that specializes in this area will be beneficial to you. 

It is important that you follow deadlines for turning in your annual reports or filing other business paperwork. Your business licenses may have to be renewed annually, so keep their due dates on your calendar.  Find a system of checks and balance to keep your business organized and operational.  Remember there are many agencies in State and Local government that are more then willing to help you if you ask.