Your Own Business
Moderated by Presented by
John Meyer Julie Brander & Steve Bloom
The Company Corporation SCORE
About Julie Brander
• SCORE volunteer
• 20 years experience in
– Started manufacturing,
wholesale and retail jewelry company
• Professor of entrepreneurship
• Founded non-profit organization
About Steve Bloom
– Mortgage banking
– Real estate development
– Business consulting
• Lecturer at Emory University’s Center
for Life Long Learning
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
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
• Determine pricing policies
– Price to make a profit
• Further research
– Trade associations
– Industry magazines
– Industry trade shows
Protect Your Idea
• US Patent and Trademark Office for
information on patents and trademarks
• 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
Business Plan Outline
• Cover Page
• Table of Contents
• Executive Summary (this is page 1)
• Business Description
• The Market and Competition
• The Product of Service
• Management and Personnel
• Financial Data
Elements of a Business Plan
• Formal, professional, well written
• Easy to read and clear
– Must persuade lenders or investors to loan you
• Long enough to give detailed
• Short enough to keep interest
• Financial data to show profitability
• Supporting documents and information
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
Choose a Structure
• Sole proprietorship
– C Status
– S Status
• Limited Liability (LLC)
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?
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
– Seasonal business
• Sustained growth
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
Fix on Funding
– 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
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
• Use professionals
– Insurance agent
– Mentor and Business Advisor who share same
values and goals
• Assess your strengths and
weaknesses, likes, dislikes
– Identify qualities needed in your employees
• Identify skills
• Business experience in the industry
• Plan a budget for each position
• Consider alternate forms of
Chart Your Business Progress
• All business must be managed and grown
• Have a handle on the cash flow and expenses
• Know where your profit comes from
– Some customers, products and services are more profitable
• 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
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
Resources from Julie and Steve
• SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small
Business” is America’s premier small biz advice
• 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.
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
• Parent company (Corporation Service Company)
has been in business for 110 years.