"We just had our one year anniversary, so we just opened March 1st of last year," says Ericka Hamilton, Coco's Boutique, Owner.
Getting through the first year has taken a lot of hard work.
"Since we opened, the hardest part is just getting people to know that we are here," says Hamilton.
It's an obstacle many small business owners face, but few are able to overcome. New data from the U.S. Small Business Administration shows not only have more small businesses in the state closed rather than opened, but also 400 more downsized than expanded.
"It's easy to get into business. You go downtown, get your business license. Go online with the secretary of state and you are in business, but they haven't fully thought through everything that's involved with being a small business owner and have not prepared and planned for what they are going to face," says Lisa Robinson, SBTDC Director.
Experts also say our legal system could have something to do with why small businesses in the state are struggling.
"Neighboring states have laws that are more favorable to small businesses and I know that our Missouri legislature has been working to fix that and get laws that are more business friendly in Missouri," says Robinson.
Local small business analysts say working to provide resources to help strengthen boutiques like Coco's and other local businesses has a positive effect on our economy.
"It's very important to have a strong small business community because the majority of our job creation is going to come from your small businesses," says Robinson.
"If they spend their money here, we spend our money here, and everybody stays in the same area," says Hamilton.
The Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center helps between 500 and 600 small business owners each month in the Joplin area. They offer free classes and are increasing their workshop offerings to help local businesses stay afloat.