Quick Start Guide To Starting Your Business
By: Sarah Truglio
So, you have an idea and you want to start your own business, where do you start?
Your local Small Business Development Center is a great resource to help get you started. Below are some basic guidelines to prepare yourself for starting your own business.
1. Identify & examine your motivation for business ownership
The first and often most overlooked step is, ask yourself why you want to own your own business? Perform a self-analysis. Identify your reasons, is it freedom from 9-5 daily work routine? or improving your standard of living? List all the reasons that apply to you.
2. Choose a business suitable for you
Going into business requires certain personal characteristics, decide what role you will have in the business. Are you a leader and enjoy making decisions or do you prefer to be the planner and people person? What personal skills and experience will you bring to the business? Summarize the strengths, skills and experience you have and what skills and experience you think are needed to make your business successful. Understanding your personal characteristics, the required skills and demands of business ownership are critical in helping you determine the business that is best suited for you.
3. Finding a niche
Small businesses will range in size and function, the knowledge and skills required will vary. Every successful business has one thing in common, they have found a niche in the market to fill. A crucial problem most businesses will face in the early planning stage is to find YOUR niche and determine the feasibility of your idea/product or service. Many entrepreneurs plunge into a business without thoroughly evaluating the businesses potential. A good feasibility evaluation will include a detailed examination of financial, personal and market realities.
4. Startup requirements
5. Write a business plan
A business plan is the best tool you can have to start, run & grow your business. Business planning is the process through which you research, analyze and understand your business and goals. A successful plan will consist of the following;
6. Startup costs & financing
Once you have completed your research & have written your business plan, determine what the startup costs for your business will be, such as licensing, insurance, rent, equipment, advertising etc. How will you pay for these startup costs? Most small businesses are started with money from personal savings, borrowing from friends & family, and microloans. Obtaining a business loan from a commercial lender will require a strong business plan with good financial projections. Generally business loans will require a certain percentage of owner’s contribution or personal investment, a good rule of thumb is 20% or more of the startup costs depending on the amount you are borrowing and the terms of the loan.
7. Finalize all startup requirements
Congratulations! You have completed your business planning and acquired the funding you need to start your business. Now it is time to hire your employees, open a business bank account, sign lease agreements, apply for permits, licenses and hang your OPEN sign in the window.
To get a step by step New Business Checklist – Starting a Business in Washington State, contact your local Small Business Development Center at 509-575-1140.
Business Basics for Kittitas County
By: Sarah Truglio
5 Myths of Starting a Business:
We have all had that daydream of owning our own business, usually right after our boss yells at us for messing something up for the umpteenth thousand time or losing that BIG client to another sales person. Few pursue the “business for self” ADVENTURE, at least not without thoroughly researching the idea first.
I am here to help you navigate and make the process a little easier, by debunking some popular “Starting a New Business” myths.
Myth # 1 Start Up Funding -There are FREE Government grants available to help with the startup costs of your New Business
Reality: The Government does not give away money to start businesses. There are
small business loans available from your banking institutions, some restrictions apply, and you must qualify for these loans. Check with your local bank for small business loan criteria. Other nontraditional sources for funding are Certified SBA Microloan Intermediaries.
NOTE: Most small businesses are self-funded, by bootstrapping and borrowing from friends and family members.
Myth #2 There are NO Resources available to Startup Businesses
Reality: There are many local resources available to help you work through the steps of starting, running and growing your small business.
Start at your local Chamber of Commerce, they are a wealth of information to help you make contacts & provide networking experiences. SCORE, a volunteer mentor organization & Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) can help you develop a strong business plan, market research, organizational development and exporting assistance just to name a few. As well, the Ellensburg Business Development Authority offers a Business Incubator.
Myth #3 Advertising on Social Media is a Marketing Campaign
Reality: While advertising on Social Media is an important component of a promotional strategy, many ingredients go into a successful marketing campaign. First off knowledge of your industry is important, identifying your target market and knowing what your competition is doing is equally imperative. Pricing your product or services, promotion/advertising and placement of your business are all key factors in determining a fruitful marketing campaign.
Myth #4 You will have more free time and make more money if you start your own business
Reality: On average business owners spend more than 40 hours per week at work and long after employees have left for the day, they are still there finishing up paperwork, filing reports, paying sales tax and going over tasks for the next day. Most business owners find they have less free time than working a traditional 9-5 job. As for the money side of things, very few new businesses show profit from the get go, make sure you plan financially, so you can pay your personal debts.
Myth #5 The Customer’s experience doesn’t matter
Reality: A positive customer experience is VERY important, in todays market customers have options as to where to buy products and services, if you are not engaging with your customers they may choose to do business elsewhere. Good Customer Service often wins out over price, which helps increase revenue and sales.
Starting a new business is not for the faint of heart, but with a little time, help from local resources and tons of research you can be successful. In the beginning you will work more hours and get paid less, but if you set your business up correctly as your business grows you will soon master the ability to have more freedom and be your own boss. The positive benefits to starting your own business far outweigh the negative.
Sarah Truglio is a Business Advisor for the Washington Small Business Development Center, located in Yakima, WA.
SBDC offers guidance to help businesses create a practical, step by step plan for success. With a network of advisors in locations across the state of Washington SBDC provides community-based services to client businesses from the Canadian Border to the Columbia River. Our core services revolve around assisting our clients with making better informed business decisions to grow and sustain their businesses. We provide in-depth, confidential, no cost customized one-on one business advising, business training and advisor assisted market intelligence.