Helping Business


For questions or to schedule an appointment, please call 239-745-3700 or email us at

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get a business loan?

Different types of financing are available to small business owners. The major items that most lenders will require when you apply for a loan are: Legal papers to establish ownership of the business; Description and history of the business; Resumes of owners and managers of the business; current personal financial statements of proprietor, partners, officers, and major stockholders of the business; Business plan; Tax returns for the previous three (3) years; Current and projected financial statements (Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flow Statement, Profit & Loss Forecast, etc.) of the business; List of proposed uses of the loan; List of assets and debts of the company; List of collateral of the company. You should include any additional documents that might be useful in establishing the quality of the business in terms of management, experience, credit worthiness, and ability to repay the loan. Workshops to help you with locating and applying for financing are available from our SBDC. We also have publications and one-on-one consulting available. Please contact the office directly (phone, fax or email) for more information. Our staff.

Do you give out Small Business Administration loans?

The SBDC does not give out financing. We can help you locate sources of financing, and assist you with applying for it, however. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, and loan guarantees, are handled through the banks. You must go through the normal application process for a loan, and you must supply all the pertinent records required, as listed above. Please go to for more information. (Back To Top)

Is the SBDC the same as the SBA?

No, the Small Business Development Center is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, but we are two separate entities. (Back To Top)

What are the basic skills you need to run a business?

The basic skills include a working knowledge of recordkeeping; financial management; personnel management; market analysis; breakeven analysis; product or service knowledge; federal, state and local tax knowledge, business planning,  legal structures; and communication skills. (Back To Top)

What kind of registration and licenses are generally required to start my business?

There are different specific requirements in each different location, county and state, but a few basics are:
Local—An occupational license from your city, and county is usually required. In addition, you have to meet any zoning laws, building codes or similar regulations. Information on requirements can usually be obtained at the local City Hall or Occupational License Bureau. Their phone numbers are listed in the “Government” listings of the phone book.

State—If your business is not a corporation and the business name is not your exact, given name, you’ll have to file a “Fictitious Name” registration. For more information on this, go to Call (850) 245-6058 or write Fictitious Name Registration Section, Division of Corporations, Department of State, P.O. Box 6327, Tallahassee, FL 32314 for information on how to do that in Florida. Inquiries can also be sent via email to You will probably also need a sales and use tax number. More information on this tax can be found at

Start up guides are available at our SBDC. Contact the main office at 239-745-3700. Each county is different regarding Business Tax Receipts and local licensing.

Federal—An employer’s identification number should be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service. This can be done online at,,id=97860,00.html Or you may complete an SS4 application and call (800) 829-4933          (800) 829- or mail the form to Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EIN Operations Holtsville, NY 00501. Tax forms and publications may be completed or downloaded online at or ordered for delivery by U.S. Postal Service by calling 1-800-829-3676.

Can you help me if my business is set up as a not-for-profit business?

Because of the funding guidelines for the SBDC, we are not able to assist those businesses that are established as not-for-profit. (Back To Top)

Do you have to be in business to use the services of the Small Business Development Center?

No. You only have to be considering the idea of opening a business or researching the feasibility of a proposed profit making venture.(Back To Top)

Do I have to attend the seminars offered by the SBDC before I can receive individual counseling?

No, however, attending the seminars is highly recommended if you have never run a small business before. The seminars can provide the basic information and will clear up many questions. After attending the seminars, if you have more specific questions, our counselors are more than happy to meet with you and answer those questions on an individual basis.

Do you need a lawyer to start a business?

No, but it is usually a good idea to get the best advice possible, including that of an attorney, accountant, banker, and insurance agent.

Are there any “grants” available for my start-up business?

Generally speaking, grants given to business start-ups are very rare. Information on possible grants may be obtained at your local public library in the following publications: “Getting Yours”, “Directory of Research”, “Government Assistance Almanac”, and “Catalogue of Federal Domestic Assistance Grants.”

SBA’s grant programs generally support non-profit organizations, intermediary lending institutions, and state and local governments in an effort to expand and enhance small business technical and financial assistance. Other federal grant programs generally support non-profit organizations, and state and local governments and are not given directly to small businesses. A list of Federal Grant programs can be found on SBA’s web site at: SBA Federal Grant Resources.

Will the SBDC do a feasibility study for me?

The SBDC cannot do a feasibility study for you, but we can advise you on the process. Feasibility studies are normally conducted by a firm to determine whether or not a business idea will work. Our SBDC can email you a feasibility process to determine whether your business concept has merit. Please contact 239-745-3700 and provide your email address.



The SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the US Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.