Starting a business is no small feat, yet it remains a cornerstone of the American Dream. People everywhere dream of owning their own business, doing what they love and sharing their passion with others. In addition to offering great services and resources, several local business owners shared their own insight into business and gave advice for how they can help you achieve your goals in 2024.

Get Advice From Fellow Entrepreneurs

The best advice in any field usually comes from those within that field and starting a business is no different. Who better to give advice than those who have been in your shoes or those who are learning the process right alongside you? Center Sphere ( is an established network of business professionals whose mission is to share referrals, ideas, and resources through genuine relationships.

Brett Boyer
Center Sphere

Networking is a necessary skill for anyone hoping to succeed in business. Building relationships with those in your field, or anyone who could help you in your journey is an effective way to ensure that you always have somewhere to turn for help when you need it.
CEO and Co-founder, Brett Boyer, said, “At Center Sphere we believe that relationships are everything in business and we make it easy to meet other like-minded people in business. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Our network is built on authentic relationships that harbor that trust amongst one another.”

Recent years have taken an economic toll on everyone including small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. This is why Center Sphere offers an extremely cost effective way to budget your marketing expenses throughout the year. They believe in increasing their value add for members while keeping the point of entry at a minimum.

Solid Foundations are Essential to Growth

When starting a new business, many fail to recognize that the set-up work doesn’t end on opening day. It is important to consider growth and scaling your business, even in the early stages of getting things up and running. Planning ahead is never a bad thing. Luckily, Alpha Zed Business Services ( is there to help new business owners implement systems like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and automation, so they can streamline their productivity from day one.

Kim Hazelton
Alpha Zed Business Services

According to Systems Strategist, Kim Hazelton, “People starting a business often don’t realize ALL THE THINGS that they need to keep track of and what sort of tools they’re going to need in order to make sure things (data and tasks) aren’t falling through the cracks. As they’re getting started, business owners may be tempted to think they don’t need systems in place yet, but it’s never too early. Setting a good foundation is going to make it much easier to grow.”

Automation is a rapidly growing field. With the dawn of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) programs are cropping up at a rapid pace, claiming to help make business workflows completely hands-free. While that may sound like an exciting promise, most people have no idea where to start. It may even seem intimidating to someone who has never worked with automation processes. This is where having a partner like Alpha Zed can help guide business owners so they can embrace these new technologies rather than fear them.

With decades of administrative support and management experience under their belt, Alpha Zed Business Services can offer support in tons of areas of business organization. They specialize in process improvement, strategy, systems selection and implementation, organization, data and records management, forms design and spreadsheets. So, if you’re a new business owner, make sure to plan ahead with Alpha Zed.

Leave the Paperwork to the Professionals

Planning ahead is important, but there are times where no amount of planning can prepare you for certain tasts. That’s when leaving important paperork to the professionals can help. At the outset of a new business, many business owners fail to recognize all of the employment related registrations and reporting needs that come along with business ownership. The amount of paperwork required for employees can be overwhelming, even if the employee is the business owner themselves. TAC Payroll ( understands the needs of local business owners and new entrepreneurs, as they themselves are a locally woman-owned professional business.

TAC Payroll is able to assist clients with these registration processes, along with other essential reporting and tax payment obligations with the various agencies. Aside from payroll, TAC can also assist with Secretary of State renewals, sales and use tax registration and reporting and more.

Terry Clark
TAC Payroll Solutions

“I believe most new business owners are surprised at how much of their time is spent doing administrative work rather than what they went into business for. I can help with payroll, bookkeeping, etc., allowing the business owner more time to focus on their Business,” said Terry Clark, Owner and Payroll Manager.

New business owners have so much on their minds that any service that can take tasks off their overfilled plates can make all the difference. TAC can offer a helping hand to new owners by helping them navigate bookkeeping, sales tax reporting, 1099 preparation and so much more.

Get an Insider Perspective and an Individualized Approach

Business owners or those just starting out who are looking for a tailored approach should look no further than Independent Business Consulting, LLC (IBC) ( They can handle anything you need. At the beginning, they can support you as a registered agent, graphic, logo or website design, new business or non-profit formation documents, registrations or permits.

Belinda Hagen
Independent Business Consulting, LLC

“How we help our clients depends on the clients and what phase they are in-from startup to expansion. The list can be long for newly forming companies and steps can be missed. Our clients could be purchasing commercial real estate and need permits or they may not even be at that point and are just needing to put an overall business plan together or understand startup costs, developing financials or in need of research for funding options,” said Belinda Hagen, Owner of IBC.

“Many times, business owners are worried about all the immediate concerns in front of them, wear too many hats and are spread thin between requirements and what they want to get to the market. The benefit of working with IBC is to develop immediate deliverables and get a long- term perspective for early strategic solutions.”

Building duplicative systems and resources is important as is deciding goals and benchmarks needed for growth, hiring new employees and keeping compliance in mind. You may ask, what requirements come into the picture as your business grows; what laws apply to recruiting or onboarding. IBC is here to tailor solutions and have systems and templates to meet you where you are in the process.

One area that IBC owner Belinda Hagen is specifically focused on right now is the new Financial Crimes Report that has recently been implemented. This went into effect January 1, but the Alabama Federal Court subsequently ruled it unconstitutional. Belinda says, “We don’t yet know what that means for national businesses. The report exists to prevent financial fraud in small businesses by asking the owners to submit information pertaining to who is benefiting from owning the business. There are immediate changes happening from this reporting requirement. I am committed to staying up to date on what that means for small business owners.”

You want someone who cares on your side when facing all the challenges on the road to success. Belinda Hagen and her growing team at Independent Independent Business Consulting is the partner you’ve been looking for.

Commercial Real Estate Expertise in All Areas

Clearly, a professional in your corner can make a big difference, and that holds true when looking for a new location. It’s wise to call a professional for help when searching for commercial space for your new business because real estate agents can help locate the best options available on the market, and by comparing properties, they can ensure they are being leased at a fair rate. Greenleaf Commercial Real Estate ( takes their market research very seriously and releases the Greenleaf Market Report semi-annually to announce trends in vacancy rates, absorption rates, asking rents, building permits, and notable transactions.

Adam Lowney
Greenleaf Commercial Real Estate

“When searching for commercial space for a startup company, there are many things you need to consider,” explained Sales Associate Adam Lowney. “First, you will want to determine the location for your new business. Will your company be leasing or purchasing space? It is important for a startup to completely understand their occupancy costs.”

It’s common for entrepreneurs to underestimate the amount of start-up capital required for rent, build-out, equipment, and operating expenses. Greenleaf can help entrepreneurs to understand their expected real estate expenses and create a realistic budget.

“Site selection and proper lease drafting are the two most important components for any start-up business in relation to its new space,” said Adam. “Greenleaf provides expertise in these areas, as well as lease versus purchase analysis, negotiating leases, and making sure our client understands all the costs associated with the lease.”

This is Your Sign

New businesses cannot overlook the importance of signage! How will anyone know you’ve arrived unless you announce it as visibly as possible. A well placed sign telling the public that you’re ready to provide them with your goods and services can make a huge impact. Regardless of where you are at in your new business planning, Sign Pro of Lincoln ( has something to offer.

Julie Shald
Sign Pro of Lincoln

“We offer a wide variety of products for the different stages of getting a business going,” said Owner Julie Shald. “In the early stages, we can offer temporary signage such as ‘Coming Soon’ banners, yard signs, and temporary window signs. When your opening date is closer, we can give you many options for building signage, both interior and exterior. If your business is mobile or has delivery or service vehicles, we can produce a wide variety of vehicle graphics to meet any need and budget.”

Once you have the business up and running, Sign Pro can continue to help you with signage for special events, sales, or promotions. They encourage you to keep them in mind over the years as your business grows to help you keep your signage and graphics looking great.

Build Strength From Within

New business owners are full of questions, and in an ever evolving field, the answers to those questions change daily. With so much else on your plate, it can be helpful to have a go to source for the answers you need. A business coach is someone who can help you ensure that you are putting effort and focus into the right areas so you aren’t wasting your precious time.

Katie Koester
EOS Worldwide

According to Katie Koester, a Professional EOS Implementer with EOS Worldwide (, “The markets are ever-changing and can present new obstacles and challenges that your business may have never encountered, so strengthening your business is imperative. As a coach, I work closely with my clients to create a robust and flexible plan that focuses on strengthening the Six Key Components of their business: vision, people, data, issues, process and traction.”

Katie empowers her clients to construct a resilient framework capable of navigating any challenges that arise, fostering a business foundation capable of withstanding unforeseen adversities and ensuring sustained growth and success.

EOS Worldwide, through its Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS), aims to facilitate businesses in aligning their vision, fostering operational traction and cultivating a robust leadership team to drive business excellence. By employing EOS, the focus lies in getting everyone within the business on the same page regarding the overarching vision and objectives. This process involves crystallizing a clear business vision and determining key priorities essential for enhancing operational efficiency and profitability. By establishing a unified direction and addressing core priorities, EOS helps businesses operate more smoothly and profitably while building a cohesive and effective leadership team to steer the company towards success.

To further strengthen your business, you have to strengthen your presence and get in front of as many potential customers as possible – a strong online presence and effective exposure are pivotal for business growth. One way for businesses to expand their reach and customer engagement is through the use of well-crafted, attention-grabbing videos that communicate brand stories, products and services.

Take a Strategic Approach

Starting and growing a business come with extensive responsibilities. With this in mind, it’s important that you focus on your strengths and hire the right experts to handle the parts of starting a business that are highly specialized. Luckily, the team at SP Group, PC (, is ready to be by your side during the beginning stages of your business and beyond.

One of the crucial steps in the process of starting a business is choosing an entity type, and it’s a step that often is missed by first-time business owners. You must choose whether your business is a sole proprietorship, limited-liability company, partnership or corporation.

Austin Zimmerman
SP Group, P.C.

“Starting a business can be an intimidating process to tackle on your own,” noted Austin Zimmerman, CPA with SP Group. “Don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted resources within the community for advice. Starting a business can be daunting, so take the opportunity to leverage off of the experience of experts. Sitting down with a CPA with prior expertise can save you a lot of time and money in the long run and keep you on track to accomplish your goals. We strive to alleviate some of the headaches that come with getting started, including business planning, entity selection, payroll management and bookkeeping, and financial statement preparation. Having a trusted CPA firm at your disposal will let you focus your time on the things you truly do best, instead of getting bogged down in the details.”

Engaging an accountant in the planning stages of a new business allows an entrepreneur to leverage that professional’s experience and knowledge to address both short- and long-term concerns. An accountant that serves business clients is aware of the potential pitfalls and blind spots that a new business owner may face and helps navigate the complexities of the tax code and tax planning, as well as, the day-to-day tasks of bookkeeping and payroll processing.

Panology Tech Solutions

Central to the start of any new business is technology, and Panology Tech Solutions ( caters specifically to the needs of small business owners. Business owners can find reassurance and expertise in Panology’s comprehensive suite of offerings. With a steadfast commitment to empowering small businesses through state-of-the-art computers and network solutions, Panology emerges not just as a service provider, but as an indispensable ally in the pursuit of success amidst the complexities of the contemporary market.

Panology Tech Solutions (PTS) is a technology solutions firm, providing computers, networks and cloud to local small businesses. They serve exclusively small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. When starting a business, Panology can help you get the most out of your technology budget. Panology makes technical support and cloud services accessible to small and medium sized businesses. By lowering the barrier to cloud adoption through automation, you can begin (or accelerate) the movement of your workloads into the cloud with ease. Increase your agility and keep the technology that your business relies upon running, while you focus on what your business does best.

Darren Lichty Panology Tech Solutions - Headshot

Darren Lichty
Panology Tech Solutions

“Our offerings have been designed with the needs and challenges of small-businesses in mind,” said Owner Darren Lichty. “We take great pride in being able to help our clients achieve their goals for their businesses, making technical support and cloud services easily accessible and affordable. Additionally, we help to find efficiencies that can greatly benefit a business in a number of ways.”

By educating small business owners on the options available to them, they are in the position to make an informed decision – one of many they’ll be making as they get their businesses up and running. Moving forward, Panology’s technology growth plan allows for the integration of faster and more advanced technology as a business grows. It does this by identifying and resolving any technology deficiencies early on in order to prevent growing pains when a business decides to expand its operations.

“As a business grows, so do the demands upon their technology. It is at this point that small nuances can become major problems. Worse yet, the technology that is serving your business needs fine today can (and often does) hinder your business as it grows. Using what we have learned during an assessment, we put together a technology growth plan. We identify the technology that will stunt your business’s growth, and define a concise plan to resolve those deficiencies early,” Darren explained. “Our technology growth services do not stop there. As your technology partner we keep your technology growing with your business. Your business continues to grow without having to suffer the technology ‘growing pains’ that many others do.”

At Panology Tech Solutions they pride themselves in providing comprehensive solutions that fit their client’s needs and budget. A fundamental component of these solutions is the assurance of quality at every step. Ensuring that these solutions also remain concise, preventing excess, is essential in proving their commitment to loyalty. Panology’s pledge to uphold these values is vital to their objective in building a strong relationship with the clients they are grateful to serve. The strength of these relationships will drive the success of their clients.

People in Your Corner

Starting a business is a learning experience. Like anything else in life, it is a skill that needs to be honed. That’s why Cruise & Associates ( provide education programs to help meet your specific needs. They provide education on different areas of starting a business from entity structure planning, cash flow planning, business operations, employee benefits and more. Their staff will work with you to develop a custom strategy because what works for one business doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. What makes their programs unique is that they are one-on-one training sessions. They are there to answer questions specific to your business.

Robert Cruise
Cruise & Associates, Inc.

“Cruise & Associates can also provide bookkeeping, accounting and payroll services. Our bookkeepers will make sure your employees get paid, payroll taxes filed and handle the filing of payroll reports to the federal, state and local agencies. We can take care of accounts payable and receivable, create invoices and send out statements,” said Robert F. Cruise, President of Cruise & Associates. “This will free up the business owner to focus on running his or her business and not having to worry about paying employees and making sure the correct taxes get filed. If this is more than you need just getting started, we can also do Quickbooks consulting where we log in and make sure things are being entered correctly and if not make adjustments.”

Finances in particular are at the root of all business and they often present the most challenges. Estimating income is not as easy as it may seem. Business owners tend to overestimate their income and underestimate their expenses. It is better to take a conservative approach. That is why it is important to make sure you have enough cash to start up. Some say it takes as many as three years for most businesses to turn a profit. To ensure you are on the right track when starting a business, you need to know what you want to accomplish and how you plan to do it. A good business plan can be a determining factor if a business succeeds or fails. This will also help you stay on track and keep the business moving in the right direction.

“A professional will help ensure that all the steps through the business startup are being handled correctly. People know that employees need to be paid, however, they may not know how to file payroll taxes or payroll reports. Even relatively simple things like setting up a separate checking account for the business are not often thought about,” explained Robert. “People think it is my company, so it doesn’t matter if my personal and business accounts are the same. This is where an accountant would be a tremendous resource to make sure a new business owner knows all the hoops that need to be completed and how to best set things up for tax purposes. A lawyer is another key person to make sure you and your business are protected.”

Overall, Cruise & Associates thrives on knowing that your business is successful because of the things they taught you. They want to know that you will carry your new found learnings with you throughout your business journey and beyond.

“Cruise & Associates does not want to be there just to help you get started. We want to help educate you to be a better business owner. We realize that what you need when you first start out will be completely different than what you need in three years,” said Robert. “We will be there every step of the way to provide you with guidance to help make your business succeed.”

Let Experts Guide You

Deciding on the perfect location for your business is one of the most exciting and daunting tasks. This will be your new home, a place you will spend countless hours, and you need to ensure you find the right fit! Guiderock Commercial Realty LLC ( is here to help you make the best decisions possible about leasing and investing in commercial real estate. Their tenant and buyer services go beyond simply finding available space for your business. Their representation services include market knowledge to get you a fair price and favorable terms, due diligence to ensure the location meets your business requirements, and connections to their service partners for your legal, financial and construction needs.

Cathy Kottwitz
Guidrock Commercial Realty LLC

“As we work with prospective entrepreneurs, we want to learn as much as we can about the vision they have for their business and where they are in the startup process,” said Broker and Property Manager Cathy Kottwitz, CPM. “We help new and small businesses learn about leasing and buying commercial real estate, but we know that our service is only a part of what new business owners need. We often hear from clients that they may not know about resources available or there may be areas that they need help thinking through. As we engage with them, we can then help connect entrepreneurs with professionals in other areas who can get them off to a strong start. Through a collaborative approach, we help our clients make the immediate decisions needed to get their business going and create a foundation for their long-term success.”

Your Local Chamber

If you’re new to running a business, you will want to know about The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce ( They are Lincoln’s leading business organization, providing advocacy and connections to help businesses grow and thrive in Lincoln. Making connections and networking is vital to any business’ success. People need people, and The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce can help you find yours!

The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce is committed to being a five-star accredited collaborative partner in Lincoln’s success as a place of endless opportunities and work closely with their partner organizations. The chamber is a key player in the efforts to grow businesses in Lincoln. They work with lawmakers and local officials to advance important policies affecting the business community and start conversations for needed changes.

Derek Feyerherm
The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce

The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce hosts monthly events to bring business leaders together and ignite collaboration. Through networking opportunities before and after work such as The HIVE and The LNK, members of the business community are given the chance to share their mission and ideas with like-minded individuals. You may ask yourself if joining the Chamber is a good idea as a growth strategy for your business, and the Chamber can assure you this is true. They are Lincoln’s leading business organization, with over 1,300 businesses with one strong voice for business advocacy and growth. They want you to be part of their organization, and they’ll go to work to help you grow your business as they advocate for a positive business climate in Lincoln.

Venturing into the realm of entrepreneurship is a bold and promising endeavor that embodies innovation, determination and resilience. It’s not a journey for the weak, and those who succeed should be proud of their accomplishment. Those just starting out should prepare to foster an entrepreneurial mindset, embrace risks and always remember why they started this journey in the first place. By nurturing creativity, adaptability and a relentless pursuit of excellence, aspiring entrepreneurs can navigate the dynamic landscape of business, ultimately transforming visions into reality and driving positive change in the world. Don’t be afraid to take advice from those who are in your corner, like all of the businesses who gave advice above. Most importantly, as you embark on this entrepreneurial voyage, forge ahead with passion, purpose and a steadfast commitment to success.