How to really start your own business

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Helpful tips to start, grow, and manage your business.

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How to really start your own business

  1. 1. How To Really Start Your Own Business Moderated by Presented by John Meyer Julie Brander & Steve Bloom The Company Corporation SCORE Incorporate.com www.score.org
  2. 2. About Julie Brander • SCORE volunteer since 1997 • 20 years experience in business – Started manufacturing, wholesale and retail jewelry company • Professor of entrepreneurship • Founded non-profit organization
  3. 3. About Steve Bloom • Entrepreneur – Mortgage banking – Real estate development and management – Importing – Manufacturing – Business consulting • Lecturer at Emory University’s Center for Life Long Learning
  4. 4. Summarize Your Idea • Effective mission statement – Convey a clear message about the company and the benefits to the customer • Create a strong mental image • Express your idea in 50 words or less THIS IS YOUR ELEVATOR SPEECH • This should be memorized – You never know where you might meet a potential investor.
  5. 5. Test Your Idea • Conduct market research – Are there enough customers? • Study and evaluate the competition – What are their strengths and weaknesses? – How will your product or service be better or different? • Determine pricing policies – Price to make a profit • Further research – Trade associations – Industry magazines – Industry trade shows
  6. 6. Protect Your Idea • US Patent and Trademark Office for information on patents and trademarks – www.uspto.gov • Think about patents, copyrights, trademarks and service marks • In some cases it may not be feasible as it can be extremely costly – Talk to a patent lawyer if you think your idea or product needs protection
  7. 7. Business Plan Outline • Cover Page • Table of Contents • Executive Summary (this is page 1) • Business Description • The Market and Competition • The Product of Service • Marketing/Selling • Management and Personnel • Financial Data • Investment • Appendices
  8. 8. Elements of a Business Plan • Formal, professional, well written • Easy to read and clear – Must persuade lenders or investors to loan you money • Long enough to give detailed information • Short enough to keep interest • Financial data to show profitability • Supporting documents and information
  9. 9. A Business Plan Should Answer: 1. Is it just an idea or is it a viable opportunity? 2. Does it have a sensible business model that can be implemented? 3. Is the industry growing or declining? 4. Is there a well defined target market? 5. Does management have industry experience? 6. Are financial projections realistic? What is the rate of return on the investment? 7. What are the risks? Is there an exit strategy? 8. Does it make sense to start this business or continue working for someone else with a guaranteed paycheck?
  10. 10. Choose a Structure • Sole proprietorship • Partnership • Incorporation – C Status – S Status • Limited Liability (LLC)
  11. 11. Designate a Registered Agent • Availability • Privacy • Location • Documentation
  12. 12. Lock in Your Location • Where should you incorporate? – Business in more than 1 state? – Plan to go public? – Seek venture capital? – Corporate income tax? – Personal income tax? – State filing fees and taxes? – Capital requirements?
  13. 13. Focus on Funding • Start-up owners must always plan to contribute their own money • Borrow money – Cover temporary cash flow gap – Provide working capital shortages • Equipment and other fixed assets • Inventory – Seasonal business • Sustained growth
  14. 14. Control Cash and Credit • How much do you need to start? • Where will the money come from? • What will the money be spent on? • How much is needed each month to operate the business? • How much will you need to sell to cover all the expenses and make a profit?
  15. 15. Fix on Funding • Options: – Personal savings – Borrow from friends and family – Credit line – Second mortgage • In this economy many bankers will not finance a start up unless there is a history of growth, profits and collateral
  16. 16. Build a Team • Surround yourself with good people • When to hire? – Can the task or project be outsourced? • Written job descriptions • Partnership agreement and buy sell agreement • Use professionals – Accountant – Lawyer – Insurance agent – Banker – Mentor and Business Advisor who share same values and goals
  17. 17. Personal Assessment • Assess your strengths and weaknesses, likes, dislikes – Identify qualities needed in your employees • Identify skills • Credentials • Business experience in the industry • Plan a budget for each position • Consider alternate forms of compensation
  18. 18. Chart Your Business Progress • All business must be managed and grown conservatively • Have a handle on the cash flow and expenses • Know where your profit comes from – Some customers, products and services are more profitable than others • Customer feedback – Listen to customers – Nurture relationships – Understand needs and wants – Exceed expectations – Remember without customers there is no business • Employee feedback • Always invest in your employees
  19. 19. Final Remarks Always remember that the passion and enthusiasm you have for your business will create success. Being creative is essential as all products and services solve problems. Simplify your business so that it will always be enjoyable…when it stops being fun it is time to get out. P.H.D.= Passion, Heart and Desire… if you don’t have it don’t do it
  20. 20. Resources from Julie and Steve • Steve http://askanexpert.score.org • Julie http://womensblog.score.org
  21. 21. About SCORE • SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is America’s premier small biz advice service. • Free & confidential. SCORE mentors can guide you on a path to success. • SCORE helps create about 25,000 new firms each year and has assisted nearly 8.5 million clients. 1-800-634-0245 http://www.score.org
  22. 22. About The Company Corporation • The Company Corporation has been a provider of online incorporation services for over 15 years. • Our organization has helped over a half million business owners get started and offers services nationwide. • Parent company (Corporation Service Company) has been in business for 110 years. 1-888-340-7239 http://www.incorporate.com

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