Try this Q & A before you start a business

score Question:
I want to start a business but am not sure what evaluations I should go through before the actual start. Do you have any guidelines?

Successful small-business expansions and new formations lead the way in creating markets, innovations and jobs that have fueled the economic growth and prosperity over the past few years.

Most entrepreneurs are not adequately prepared to go into business. The have motivation, desire and talent, but many have not taken time to properly investigate and research the business they are interested in starting.

Much like chess, success in small business starts with decisive and correct opening moves. Initial mistakes are survivable, but it requires skill, discipline and hard work to regain the advantage.

I frequently get requests on how to go about starting a business, so here's a short list as a starter. Before starting a small business, list your reasons for wanting to go into business. Whatever they are, use a specific and systematic approach to build a plan from which your success can be evaluated.

Some common reasons for starting a business:

  • A desire to be your own boss.
  • You don't work well with others.
  • You dislike policy and procedures.
  • You want creative freedom or financial independence.
  • You want to fully use your skills and knowledge.
To determine which business is right for you, answer these questions:
  • What do you like to do with your time?
  • What technical skills have you learned or developed?
  • What do others say you are good at?
  • Will you have the support of your family and/or spouse??
  • How much time do you have to run the business?
  • Do you have any hobbies or interests that are marketable?
The next step is to determine what niche your business will fill. The following may help you answer that question:
  • Describe the business you are interested in starting.
  • What services or product will you sell?
  • Where will you locate?
  • What skills and experience do you bring to the business?
  • What will be your legal structure?
  • What name will you go by?
  • What equipment and supplies will you need?
  • How will your business records be kept?
  • What insurance coverage will be needed?
  • What are your resources?
  • How will you compensate yourself until the business is profitable?
From the checklist, start to organize your business plan, breaking it down into several components. This allows you to work on several sections as information is received.

After you have done all of the above, call SCORE, 815-962-0122 [Rockford area], or the Small Business Development Center; 815-968-4087, for a free counseling session to review the merits of your plan, to locate any holes and suggest improvements.

Bill Bryan is a counselor with the Service Corps of Retired Executives. SCORE offers counseling, workshops and seminars on small business operations. You can reach Bryan through SCORE, 515 N Court St. 815-962-0122, for information and appointments.

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