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Web site a tool for starting a business

John Seelmeyer

When Susan Jamerson was living in rural Montana a few years ago, her entrepreneurial instincts were frustrated at every turn by a lack of useful information.

A Web site Jamerson’s Reno-based firm launched last week http://www.ItsSimple.biz seeks to remove the frustration for others.

The site comes with substantial backing.

The U.S.

Department of Agriculture’s Small Business Innovative Research program invested $366,000 in the Web site and a couple of projects that laid the groundwork.

The goal of Jamerson, the president of Jamerson & Associates LLC, was simple: An easily understandable site including all the information an entrepreneur would need to start a business.

“I’m really happy with the result,” Jamerson said last week.

“It’s very user friendly.”

The site covers a wide swath.

One page helps would-be entrepreneurs decide whether they have the emotional makeup to operate their own business.

Another page, meanwhile, discusses exit strategies for the experienced business owner who’s decided to get out.

Templates and worksheets, meanwhile, provide help on loan applications, taxes, employee relations and government contracts.

And the site includes links to other resources federal agencies to local chambers of commerce that may prove helpful to a startup business.

The two grants that funded http://www.ItsSimple.biz were the first and only ones granted to a Nevada-based business from the USDA program.

The first step of the Jamerson & Associates program was a study of the needs of owners of small businesses in rural areas of the state.

From that information, which was collected in telephone surveys, focus groups and interviews with development officials, Jamerson & Associates created a video, “Building Business in Nevada.” The video, which was funded by the Nevada Commission on Economic Development, addresses the 10 common questions people ask when they’re starting or expanding a business.

Some 900 copies of the videotape have been distributed.

The success of that program led to a second grant to create the Web site.

Both the video and the Web site are intended to benefit entrepreneurs in rural areas, but Jamerson said they’re just as useful for urban businesspeople.

“If it’s going to work in Ely, it’s going to work in Las Vegas,” she said.

The U.S.

Small Business Administration last week honored Jamerson’s work with its Nevada Small Business Research Advocate Award.

But the project doesn’t end here for Jamerson.

By the end of the summer, Jamerson hopes to roll out a version of ItsSimple.biz for each of the remaining 49 states.