In the industry I am in, there seems to be little room for things if they are not perceived to be practical. That industry, being education, does not seem to be open to true innovation. That said, there are those in the “market” that want more. This has drawn me towards the idea of creating my own business. I am going to put together some ideas and resources in this article here to kind of get me started. Feel free to use it if you like and make comments on it as well.
General Small Business Resources
I am starting with the SBA (Small Business Administration). They have lots of resources and tools to get you started. Here are some:
- Free Online Training
- Small Business Development Centers
- Women’s Business Centers
- SBA District Offices
- Regulations and Compliance
- Business Forms
- Get Ready – Small Business Planner
- Small Business Primer – Strategies for Success (Free online course)*
- How to Prepare a Business Plan (Free online course)*
*The last two will lead you first to a registration screen – its free. They are recommended in order as steps 1 and 2 of a 4 step process towards starting your business. There is also a survey you can take to assess where you are at in regards to starting up your business: you can find that survey here.
Choosing the Right Kind of Business
Get an EIN for Your Business
Estimating Startup Costs
Here is a Startup Cost Calculator to get things going:
Starting Costs Calculator
- SBA Loan Programs
- SBA Micro Loans
- Requirements for SBA Loan Assistance
- Financing Basics
- How to apply for a loan
- Writing a loan proposal
- Bank loan request template (SCORE)
- Loan Package Checklist
Six main financial categories of your business are:
There are three main financial statements used by your business
- Balance Sheet (Liabilities + Equity=Assets) – a snap-shot of a business at a given time
- Income Statement (Income – Expenses = Profits) – measures how a business has performed over a given time period
- Cash Flow Statement – shows available cash on hand
Probably one of the most important aspects for starting your business is understanding if there is even a market for it and what that market consists of – profit potential as well as competition. Is there enough market to meet your supply? How do you ensure your competition won’t eat your bottom line? The key is building customer relationships.
Market research – usually consists of gathering data in some fashion, for example via a survey. It is recommended that if you do issue a survey that you offer a small token of appreciation in return.
Demographics – some resources on how to get data about demographic research
There is also the notion of Target Marketing. This can be achieved in two basic ways:
- Geographical segmentation – deciding on your market based on location; is it international, national or regional?
- Customer segmentation – deciding your market based on the potential profile of your customer; young, old, middle aged? active, sedentary?
What about the “marketing mix”? A good marketing strategy will employ the following four components into making a “mixed” marketing strategy:
- Products and Services
Finally, create your Marketing Plan. Very similar to, and as important as, a Business Plan, it allows you to state your target market and what your products and services will be focused on.
Stay tuned for more updates.