So, you want to start a business. You have a passion – but do you have what it takes? Are you an entrepreneur? How do you translate your dream into dollars?
One of my favorite resources is the Small Business Administration. Here you can find out what legal form your business should take, find out about required licensing and tax IDs, take online business classes, learn about loans – in short, all the information you need to start your business – on one site. The best part, all this information is FREE! Well, not really, your tax dollars at work here to provide the SBA – but all the more reason to utilize this resource, since you are already paying for it!
I found out about the SBA, in a roundabout way. I belong to several women’s business networking groups (more about those in a future post!) In one of my groups, SBPWN, our October meeting included a guest speaker from our local Small Business Development Center, with offices at a nearby university campus. The SBDC is funded by the SBA with locations all over the country. She said the SBDC could help with everything from putting together a business plan to growing your business. They are both realists and cheerleaders and help a potential business owner focus on what needs to be done to achieve success.
Well, this speaker from the SBDC had an interesting presentation and I made a mental note to “check into it, sometime in the future.” The following week, I went to another networking meeting, SCWBEC, where they reminded everyone of the $2,000 grant they would soon be awarding to a qualified member with a new/existing business – all that was needed was an application and a current business plan. Hmmm – that $2,000 would go a long way towards helping me buy the kiln and other equipment I needed for my new business. The grant application deadline was less than two weeks away. Looks like I needed a business plan – and soon!
I made an appointment with the SBDC and was assigned an adviser, who happened to be the speaker from my October meeting. She specialized in businesses that were art-related, so it was a perfect match. At our first meeting, she explained what a business plan was and gave me a template to start with. We brainstormed ideas, chatted about how to position my business and I went home to work on my business plan.
Next: The Business Plan