So you want to start a small business


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Cindi Smith, of The Lakeside Group Associates, was recently invited to speak to a college class at Cuyahoga Community College. She was thrilled to present the topic, "So You Want to Start a Small Business" to a group of Community Development students.

Because of Cindi's serial entrepreneurial history, she was happy to share her knowledge of the characteristics of how to be a successful entrepreneurial, how to launch your start up, and provided numerous resources to get started.

If you've ever thought about starting your own business or consulting practice, check out Cindi's presentation. You can learn more about Cindi Smith and The Lakeside Group Associates at:

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So you want to start a small business

  1. 1. Presented By: Cindi SmithFounder/President, The Lakeside Group Associates
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Steps To Becoming An Entrepreneur Who & Why – Slide 3 Core Values – Slide 4  Step 1: Come up with your idea! Slide 11 Find Like Minds – Slide 5  Step 2:The Fundamentals 2.1 – Naming your company Slide 12 Money, Money, Money! – Slide 6 2.2 – Register your name Slide 13 Examples – Slide 7 2.3- Creating your brand Slide 14 Money Monster – Slide 8 Branding Case Study Slide 16 Obtain Start Up Cash –Slide 9 Finding Initial Help Slide 18 Final Thoughts - Slide 24 2.4 – Marketing Slide 19 2.5 Payment Slide 21 Organizations & Association Resources – Slide 25  Step 3: Setting Business Goals Slide 22
  3. 3. WHO & WHY?The following are MUST HAVE traits of an entrepreneur: Deep Desire  Dedication Passion  Belief Innovation  Determination Motivation  Calculated Risk Perseverance Taking Commitment  Plain blind faith
  4. 4. Core Values Identify your core values to find out what makes you “tick”: people call these core values, and we call them successmarkers. Whatever you call them, they drive the decisions you make, and the beliefs you hold. Remember these beliefs CAN BE CHANGED
  5. 5. Find Like MindsSurround yourself with other Entrepreneurs and role models. Spend asmuch time learning about the mindsets of successful entrepreneurs.How do you find other entrepreneurs? Here are some ideas: (groups and discussions) (find a mentor related to your start-up). (Cleveland based) Industry specific organizations and associations Join a mastermind group Tony Robbins is our absolute favorite business coach. Search his videos on YouTube.
  6. 6. MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!! “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world theyve been given thanto explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. Its an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. Its a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” - Muhammad AliIf you really want to be an Entrepreneur you will find a way. Be creative when launching your business!
  7. 7. For example… Gary Leff used his Frequent Flyer Miles to travel all over the world in First Class, and his friends kept asking for advice. Almost on a whim, he decided to launch a basic website offering the service of booking travel awards for a fee. His service is something that people could do on their own for free—but plenty of people don’t know how it works or just don’t want the hassle of dealing with airline call centers. This “side business” now brings in more than $100,000 a year. Michael Hanna was laid off from Comcast Cable in May 2009. The Portland couple borrowed $8,000 and bought a truckload of Sealy Factory 2nd mattresses. They leased space inside an out-of-business car dealership, and opened Mattress Lot on January 2, 2010. The business turned a profit within the first six months. Owner, Michael Hanna, went on to speak about his experience at a Ted X Conference held at Concordia University.
  8. 8. Money Monster ExerciseI am always looking for free webinars and teleseminars and cameacross a speaker named Morgana Rae. Morgana had a great wayto get in touch with your subconscious beliefs about money. Askyourself, "If Money were a person who would it be?”. It can besomeone famous, someone you know, someone fictitious. Who isthe first person that came to mind?If it’s someone that has a positive connotation to you,congratulations! For some people who have associated negativebeliefs about money, this may be not such a great person.Changing your mindset about money is crucial if you want asuccessful business.
  9. 9. OBTAIN START UP CASH!Write down 100 ways that you can raise money (even if it’s asmall amount). Here are some ideas to get you started:
  10. 10.  Find a Partner- be certain this Take out a small Business Loan. person has similar values, goals Borrow from anyone you know. as you. Be sure to pay them back and  Raise money - sell things you no even give them interest. longer need. Start your business from home.  Borrow from your Get advance orders or 401k/Retirement commitment for work.  Apply for a government grant Cut your monthly expenses - A  Raise money from crowd few changes can add up to a sourcing websites (i.e. couple hundred dollars. Angel Investors/Venture  Participate in entrepreneurship Capitalist competitions Peer Lending Sites (  Use Credit Cards or Home Equity and Line of Credit.
  11. 11. STEPS TO BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR Step 1: Come up with your idea!!Here are some excellent questions to ask yourself when trying to come upwith a business idea. I would go through these questions exploring some ofthe things that you love to do most. 1. What do you love to do most? 2. How could you use this to benefit others so that they would be willing to invest in it? 3. How could you do it to reach a multitude of people? 4. What diversity can you add to it and what long term potential does it have to remain profitable? There are opportunities all around you! For the next 10 days, write down three ideas for increasing your income, or ways in which you could earn more income from what you already have. This will begin to train your mind to look for economic opportunities and develop a habitual mindset that notices them. ACT UPON THEM!!! *These exercises are courtesy of Anthony Robbins
  12. 12. Step 2: The Fundamentals 2.1 Naming your Company: YOU MUST STAND OUT! Whether people see it on their caller ID, read about it in The Wall Street Journal, or spot it on your nametag at a tradeshow, your business name is what makes that critical first impression. That’s why your business name needs to be instantly likeable, stand out in a sea of sameness, and be absolutely unforgettable. It’s important that you do it right. – www.eatmywords.comNaming 101 Resources  Click here for tips on Domain Name Secrets  Click here for tips on Naming a Brand  Click here for tips on Naming a Product  Click here for tips on Naming Business
  13. 13. 2.2 Register Your Name!1) Check to see if your name is already registered with your state. You should also beable to find steps and resources for registering your business on your state’s page. Tofind the appropriate website, simply Google: “Registering a business in (STATE)”2) Check to see if your name is already registered as a domain (website address). Go to to find out if your domain is available.  Domains are very inexpensive to register, and usually run $5-$20/year.  Make sure your domain name doesn’t spell something unfortunate. I’m sure Pen Island didn’t check this when they bought the domain Ferreth and Jobs also made this mistake: Our all time favorite “Slurl,” is Mole Station Nursery, also known as (from
  14. 14. 2.3 Creating your brandYour brand will set you up for success or failure. Branding is extremelyimportant and something you want to start doing as soon as you start yourbusiness. Branding is defined as a process of using words, images, or themesto identify a company and it’s products/services. It can include: Your name,slogan, logo, marketing material, product names, signage, websites,promotional items, etc. Having a unique and creative brand will make youstand out above your competitors, no brand or a lame brand will get you lostin a sea of hundreds of competitors. You don’t have to create your entirebrand all at once. Don’t rush into creating just anything, this process shouldbe intricate, detailed, and well planned.
  15. 15. 2.3 Creating your brandWebsite Having a website for your business is extremely important. Even if you aren’t selling a product/service online, you need to be accessible to your customers. If someone wants to get in touch with you, you need to be “findable”. Even a simple website will make your business look more reliable and professional. If you are working on a tight budget, and cannot afford someone to design your webpage, Wordpress is an awesome way to create a great looking site for free. Wordpress is fairly simple to use and creates pages that are good for new businesses. Visit for more details.
  16. 16. 2.3 Creating your brandBusiness Cards Business Cards are also extremely important. To get your company off the ground, you’ll need to do a lot of networking and marketing. That means that when you talk to a potential customer, you want to give them something that will provide your contact information. We have found the best place for inexpensive and professional business cards is They usually have excellent deals and their website is very user friendly. You can create your own business card or upload a template.
  17. 17. CASE STUDYTagline: Real Frozen Custard Made Fresh Hourly! VS Tagline: If You Love Me, Spoon Me Claim to fame: Claim to Fame: We make our velvety rich frozen custard the We’re just a group of hard-working, fun loving yogurt way it is supposed to be, one batch at a time, groupies out to change the world. Our mission is three- several times a day. We use only the finest fold: 1) love the body we live in 2) the people we live ingredients: cream, fruits, nuts and with and 3) the earth we live on. chocolates to create over 100 scrumptious Spoon Me yogurt is fat free, has less than 90 calories flavors. per serving, and contains no table sugar or artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavoring. Nat•u•ral and quite tasty. Check out their website: Check out their website: WHICH YOGURT COMPANY WOULD YOU RATHER OWN?
  18. 18. Finding Initial HelpA little overwhelmed? While you may not be able to hire employees initially, there are other ways to find help for getting some of these things set up. Remember, no business owner is an expertin EVERYTHING. Here are some areas that are worth outsourcing if you don’t have the expertise: Designing Your Logo Creating Your Website Writing Proposals Graphic Designers Marketing Materials Legal (Creating contracts, trademarking, etc) Administrative Support/Data Entry Finance and Taxes A great website to find help in all of these areas is You can post your projectfor free and then freelancers submit job proposals for the work you need. You can decide who to use based on work history, price, their portfolio, ratings, etc. Visit for more info.
  19. 19. 2.4 Marketing THERE ARE TONS OF FREE PR OPPORTUNITIES!!! It doesnt matter if you are a product based company, servicebased, on-line company. You need to develop a strong marketing plan to reach your target audience. The secret to success is to think of yourself as THE EXPERT! Here are some ideas…..
  20. 20. 1. Help A Reporter Out (HARO). This on-line service provides queries from Journalist, media sources and News Sources that you can answer as the expert and get your name out there for free. www.helpareporter.com2. Business/Entrepreneurship Competitions - these will give you credibility, free PR and recognition3. Ask for testimonials. This will help you develop credibility and its not YOU saying these great things about yourself.4. Be active on Social Media! Be active on LinkedIn (be part of discussion topics), be intriguing on Facebook and Twitter. Use ALL avenues of social media! It’s a free way to reach and engage your audience!!5. Charity events- donate your product to events and organizations.6. Write a blog and send your article to local and industry-specific media outlets to use for their publications. Usually PR Contacts are listed right on the website of that media venue!7. Offer to participate in speaking engagements to related organizations, associations, and colleges8. Referrals are the best way of free advertising! Be the absolute best in your niche.
  21. 21. 2.5 Payment How will you accept payment? Make it easy for your customers!! There is a product called Square that allows you to accept credit card payments via your smart phone. Set up is free, the equipment is free, the only fee they charge is 2.75% of your sale. This product is great for start-ups and extremely easy to use! Visit
  22. 22. STEP 3: Setting Business GoalsIf you do NOT write down your goals and make them specific, measurable,achievable, within specific time frames you WILL NOT achieve them.EXERCISE: 1. Write down your top 10 goals to accomplish in the next year (dream big here) 2. Write down what you would have to accomplish quarterly to obtain those goals 3. Write down what you would have to accomplish monthly to obtain your quarterly goals 4. Write down what you would have to accomplish weekly to obtain your monthly goals 5. Take 5 solid steps PER DAY towards your weekly goals.If you decided to take a trip from LA to NY and you were off just one degree on your navigational charts, and you stayed off just one degree for the 3000-mile distance, where would you end up?
  23. 23. ANSWER: CUBA!Jim Rohn once related that neither a marriage nor a business fails overnight.Cataclysmic failure generally comes from a series of small, correctablefailures (“one degree failures”). We all get derailed from time to time. We allexperience some type of failure. Champions realize they are off course, andthey do something about it. Champions recognize their failures, makecorrections, and get back on track. The difference between average peopleand achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.
  24. 24. Some Final Thoughts… Know when you want to exit the company. Will you sell or hand down the company to one of your kids? Hire the BEST people. Mediocre employees will give you Mediocre results. Always Give Back. Get involved in a charity that your company will support, give your employees days off to volunteer, be a mentor to other upcoming entrepreneurs, etc. Lastly, take lots of vacations! You will need to refresh and rejuvenate often!!
  25. 25. Organizations & Association Resources SBA - Created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel and assist small business concerns. EDGE - Encouraging Diversity Growth and Equity - This program provides assistance for economically and socially disadvantaged business enterprises. SCORE - Premier source of free and confidential business advice for entrepreneur. Count Me In - Provides business resources to woman-owned businesses, including financing options with a unique woman-friendly credit scoring systems. International Franchise Association - The oldest and largest franchise trade group, strives to educate prospective franchise investors. National Association for the Self-Employed - The nations leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses. National Minority Supplier Development Council - Providing a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses. National Association of Women Business Owners www. - Founded in 1975, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is the unified voice of Americas more than 10 million women-owned businesses representing the fastest growing segment of the economy. Minority Business Development Agency MBDA an agency in the US Department of Commerce helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by promoting the growth and global competitiveness of large, medium and small businesses owned and operated by members of the minority and Diaspora communities