How to Get Started

Step 1: Establish a Business Plan

A business plan is a description of your business and its purpose. Business plans should include:

  • A Marketing Plan (Establish how you will market and manage your business, Identify you target market, Assess your competition, Determine how you will advertise your business)
  • Financial Data (Tax returns, Financial projections)
  • Additional Documents (Licenses, Legal Documents)

Step 2: Seek Technical Assistance

There are multiple free and low cost business assistance programs and technical assistance providers to take advantage of, many including:

Step 3: Site Selection

Factors to consider while determining the appropriate location for your business:

  • Customer base and how they will reach you
  • Location of competition
  • Zoning Ordinances

Site Selection Resources

Step 4: Small Business Financing

Determine how best to finance your business and asses your financing options:

Step 5: Licensing & Permits

A valid business license is required for certain types of businesses to operate in the City of Buffalo. To see if your business needs a license and what type to obtain, visit our Licenses page.

Different business types are only allowed in certain parts of the city. It is illegal to run a business in a building that is not zoned for that type of activity. Contact the Permits Department to confirm that your business type is allowed in your desired location and zone. It is helpful to select 2 to 3 locations that would be a good fit for your business before contacting the Permits Department.