Starting & Running 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
- How Do I Get Started?
For more in-depth information on starting up your business, check out the links in this section:
The Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide business counseling and assistance to individuals who are either starting or growing their businesses. Ohio SBDC at the Urban League Greater Southwestern Ohio is staffed by highly trained, Certified Business Advisors®. Contact Dan Bates, Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce for an introduction to a Counselor at the SBDC.
The Center provides no-cost, confidential, in-depth, one-on-one counseling for businesses that will or currently employ under 500 employees. SBDC partners include the Ohio Department of Development, the Small Business Administration, the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, and more.
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.
Minority Business Assistance (MBAC)
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