• Starting a Business

    There are plenty of rewards to be enjoyed by entrepreneurs who plan well and work hard in the thousands of successful small businesses. But there are also risks associated with the start up of any venture and if you're contemplating creating your own business, you can improve your chances of success by evaluating your strengths, weaknesses and resources.

    Here's a checklist you can use to determine the viability of your business concept:

    • Identify why you want to start a business
    • Evaluate your own personal skills, experience and business knowledge
    • Determine a niche to fill
    • Identify the product or service you plan to sell
    • Perform a market analysis
    • Plan your start-up, including a name and legal structure, business premises and merchandise
    • Determine record-keeping systems
    • Identify financial resources, including assets and liabilities
    • Develop cost estimates of start-up and expenses for one month
    • Create a forecast of estimated cash flow

    One of the most important tools of a successful start-up business is an effective business plan. Use this checklist of components to get started:

    • Introductory elements, including a cover page, executive summary and table of contents
    • Business description, including an overview of your industry and company; description of your products and services; positioning statement and your pricing strategy
    • Description of your market, including potential customers, market size and trends, competitive analysis and sales estimates
    • Product development overview, including current development status, production process, development costs, labor, expense and capital requirements
    • Sales and marketing, including your strategy, suggested method of sales, advertising and promotion plans
    • Management description, including ownership structure, governance plans and support services
    • Financial review, including risk and cash flow statements, balance sheet, income statement, funding request and ROI projections

    For more in-depth information on starting up your business, check out the links in this section:

    The Hamilton Mill is Butler County's Entrepreneur Center and a one-stop small business incubator with programs designed to accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services. They are dedicated to assisting startups and early-stage companies by offering our hallmark business assistance services - free of charge.  They provide resources, shared services, business counseling, training, networking opportunities, conference and meeting rooms, technology, equipment and office space for rent. Successful completion of their startup programs increases the likelihood that your company will stay in business for the long term. 


    SCORE is a national volunteer organization whose mission is to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education.  Its mission is to ensure that every entrepreneur has the support he or she needs to succeed.   
    SCORE volunteers are experienced business people who volunteer their time and money to assist new and established business owners.  With more than 100 such volunteers in southwest Ohio, SCORE makes available expertise from a wide range of industries and disciplines.  This large number of volunteers (SCORE calls them “mentors”) ensures that SCORE can offer expertise in any aspect of business operations.   
    Most of this support is done with face-to-face meetings with the business owners.  SCORE matches the need of the business owner with the SCORE mentor with a background in appropriate business function.   Most SCORE volunteers are retired, so they are available to meet as many times as necessary to ensure that the business owner gets the help he or she needs.  Where necessary, SCORE brings together several mentors in a group counseling session.  
    Glenn Clevenger is the SCORE Mentor for the Hamilton area. Contact Glenn at glenn.clevenger@scorevolunteer.org or 513-668-0634.  

    The Ohio Small Business Development Center for Butler County (SBDC)
    is located at The Hamilton Mill with a satellite location at the City of Middletown Department of Economic Development, is a member of the Ohio SBDC Network and devoted to providing a full array of support to our clients.  Working in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD), we provide the following services:  State Certified Business Advisors provide consulting, training, and research assistance for the start-up, successful operation and expansion of small businesses.
    Services are offered at no charge to those who own, operate or wish to start a for-profit small business (some training courses offered by outside organizations require registration fees). We are not limited by geographic boundaries or membership supporting organizations. All consultations are confidential.

    Small Business Administration (SBA)
    Since its founding on July 30, 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses.  Although SBA has grown and evolved in the years since it was established in 1953, the bottom line mission remains the same. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.


    Small Business Administration:
    Starting & Managing a Business
    Thinking About Starting A Business

    City of Hamilton, Ohio Department of Economic Development:
    Doing Business Here

    U. S. News & World Report:
    Best Business Credit Cards
    Benefits of Business Credit Cards
    7 Best Practices for Managing your Small Business Credit Card

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