SAN ANGELO, Texas — With the oil boom taking place around San Angelo, more people are deciding to start businesses. Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to help various clients start trucking businesses, mobile kitchens, contracting companies and other companies offering services to the oil field.
We have faced challenges in the process, but in the end most clients have obtained what they sought — to be self-employed.
My personal reward is seeing these clients succeed. Part of this success is reflected in the high income they receive. But as their business adviser, my job is not done when they start their business. It continues over time, helping them prepare for tax obligations, expansions, employees, and so on.
Normally, a client’s initial visit with an SBDC adviser addresses basic topics such as legal structures, financing opportunities and tax responsibility. Like a student in their first day of class, not everything makes sense to clients right away. The process requires time, but it is just part of the learning process.
When I visit with my clients — even more so more with clients working in the oil field industry — these are some of the areas I focus on:
Permits and business insurance — Depending on the type of business, certain permits are required. Starting a business without the necessary permits results in costly fines. Business insurance many times is forgotten but, its importance and benefits can’t be stressed enough. Protecting the business property, clients, cargo and so forth should be considered extensively.
Accounting advice — Due to the nature of the job, income in this industry tends to be high. That is wonderful, but as a self-employed person, the responsibilities increase. Clients are accountable for not only their part of the withholdings, Social Security and Medicare, but also the employer’s portion. Also, clients are required to report taxes quarterly.
Industry knowledge — Moving from employee to business owner changes a person’s perspective. To be effective in business, it is important to be a step ahead. Quality, safety, cost and customer service are just some of the areas in which excellence must be attained to stay in business. Staying competitive can be a challenge. A clear understanding of industry trends and establishing relationships in the field can be key to success.
Oil field services is a tough industry. Although the industry encourages entrepreneurship, so many people have pursued opportunities in it that the industry has become hypercompetitive. Therefore, attention to detail and excellence in service and customer relations can set a business apart from others, giving it the chance to compete.
Every time I have the opportunity to visit again with my clients, it is amazing to see the knowledge they have acquired through work experience. The foundation they received at the SBDC helped them be aware of the situations they encountered on the way to success.
Adriana Balcorta Havins is a business development specialist and certified business adviser I at Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. For more information on the topic of this article or the services of the SBDC, email firstname.lastname@example.org.