Typically, as a small business owner you will be responsible for everything, from marketing to maintenance. Expect to spend long hours (perhaps 10 to 12 hours per day) on the business for the first few years. Carefully consider your personal needs and those of your family before taking on this commitment.
Finding the right kind of business is an individual choice. Your personal expertise, management skills, and financial capacity will help in making this decision. Take inventory of your knowledge, interests, talents, and resources. There are books and self-tests that can help.
When a student asks us to do so, the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, provides reasonable accommodations such as readers, scribes, signed language interpreters, and assistive technology.
At no time does a student pay fees for reasonable accommodations. However, personal services such as personal care attendants, drivers, etc. or personal devices such as tape recorders, software, etc. which would need to be taken home are the responsibility of the student.
No student can be denied access to any program based solely on his or her disability. All students must adhere to the standards of the program with necessary accommodations made according to his or her disability so long as the accommodations do not fundamentally alter the objectives of the program. When the standards are not met and the student has been given appropriate accommodations, it is reasonable that the student may be denied certification in the program.
There are four basics of success in small business:
Few people start a business with all of these bases covered. Honestly assess your own experience and skills; then look for partners or key employees to compensate for your deficiencies.
Personal savings or money from family and friends finances more than 75% of start-up businesses. Willingness to commit your own funds is often the first financing step. It is certainly the best indicator of how serious you are about your business. Risking your own money gives confidence for others to invest in your business. Banks are an obvious source of funds. Other loan sources include commercial finance companies, venture capital firms, local development companies and life insurance companies. Trade credit, selling stock and equipment leasing offer alternatives to borrowing. Leasing, for example, can be an advantage because it does not tie up your cash. Ask your local SBDC office for information about the various sources of funding available.
Small business today faces growing inventory requirements, increased customer expectations, rising costs and intense competition. Computers can provide information that leads to better management of resources. At the same time, they help you cope with the many other pressures of your business. Computers are not cure-alls, however, and considerable care should be given to:
There are four basic aspects of marketing, often called the “four P's”:
As you can see, marketing encompasses much more than just advertising or selling. For example, a major part of marketing involves researching your customers: What do they want? What can they afford? What do they think? Your understanding and application of the answers to such questions play a major role in the success or failure of your business.
The principles of determining market share and market potential are the same for all geographic areas. First determine a customer profile (who) and the geographic size of the market (how many). This is the general market potential. Knowing the number and strength of your competitors (and then estimating the share of business you will take from them) will give you the market potential specific to your enterprise.
Your business growth will be influenced by how well you plan and execute an advertising program. Because it is one of the main creators of your business' image, it must be well planned and well budgeted. Contact local advertising agencies or a local SBDC office to assist you in devising an effective advertising strategy.
The price of a service or item is based on three basic production costs:
After these costs are determined, a price is then selected that will be both profitable and competitive. Because pricing can be a complicated process, you may wish to seek help from an expert.
You have done your homework:
• You have a complete business plan.
• You know where you want to operate.
• You know how much cash you will need.
• You have specific information on employee, vendor and market possibilities.
You now may want someone to look over your plans objectively. Contact the business department at a local college for another opinion. A counselor at the Small Business Development Center can also review your work and help with the fine-tuning. Then, when you have made the final decision to go ahead, it is time to call the bank and get going. Good luck!
You can find forecasts of the “top businesses for the '2000s” in books and magazines. However, much depends on timing, location, hard work, and luck. Research your business and industry thoroughly.
Many small businesses fail. There are no guarantees, but studies have shown that careful planning and objective evaluation will increase your chances for a successful business.
A business partner does not guarantee success. If you require additional management skills or start-up capital, engaging a partner may be your best decision. Personality and character, as well as ability to give technical or financial assistance, determine the ultimate success of a partnership.
No one can answer that but you. There is a vast difference between businesses. For example, a service business takes much less capital investment than a manufacturing firm. It is up to you to develop the plan for your business which determines cost and other investments.
Initially, the lender will ask three questions:
When you apply for the loan, you must provide projected financial statements and a cohesive, clear business plan.
There are numerous ways to finance a business including personal savings, loans from relatives or friends, traditional loans, government loans, venture capital, etc. Most government loans are in the form of guarantees through local banks. In most cases a loan will require collateral, good credit and a convincing business plan.
Government grants are rare and only available for limited, specific and usually technology related enterprises. For more information try these websites. www.cfda.gov or www.sba.gov/services/financialassistance/index.html.
A business plan precisely defines your business, identifies your goals and serves as your firm's resume. Its basic components include a description of the industry, your market, a marketing plan, a production plan and financial information: a current and projected balance sheet, income statements and a cash flow analysis. The business plan helps you allocate resources properly, handle unforeseen complications, and make the right decisions. Because it provides specific and organized information about your company and how you will repay borrowed money, a good business plan is a crucial part of any loan package. Additionally, it can tell your sales personnel, suppliers and others about your operations and goals.
Licenses required, zoning laws and other regulations vary from business to business and from state to state. Your local Small Business Development Center and/or Chamber of Commerce will provide you with general information, and you may need to consult your attorney for advice specific to your enterprise and area. You also must decide about your form of organization (corporation, limited liability company, partnership or sole proprietorship) or tax status (e.g., should you opt for a Subchapter S status?).
You should prepare and understand two basic financial statements:
1. The balance sheet, which is a record of assets, liabilities and capital.
2. The income (profit and loss) statement, a summary of your earnings and expenses over a given period of time.
Many small businesses are now doing business online. There are many advantages to doing business on the internet, such as, finding new customers and staying up to date with the competition. However, having a website is not necessary to operate a small business, and you may find that you need to hold off on the expense of using a website to operate your business, until you are capable of that new expense.