Plan Your Business and Reduce Risks
Many individuals want to immerse themselves in the world of entrepreneurship and want to be successful at it. A proven tool to follow before opening any business and reducing risk is the stage of planning it. It provides a clear guide in your path of creating a new business.
One thing to consider first is self-evaluation. Having a business is very rewarding. You are your own boss, and you get to do something that fulfills you. However, it is also hard work, especially in the first few years where you need to establish yourself in the market. You are taking risks, not only on the money side, but time not being spent with your family, and it is more than a full-time job. Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?
One way to understand if you are ready is to know if you have everything in place to become an entrepreneur. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has developed tools geared to answering this question through “20 Questions Before Starting”. SCORE has Simple Steps for Starting Your Business: Module 1 – Startup Basics. Kutztown University Small Business Development Center has a First Step to Starting your Business workshop. These tools will provide you with basics about entrepreneurship.
Planning your business also requires to research the industry, market and competitors. Research will help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the industry; and identify your risks and opportunities. By researching you prevent going into an industry blindfolded. Learning about your industry can help you know if it’s a new, expanding, stagnated or dying industry. You also want to learn If there are barriers for entry such as government regulations and identify competitors, prices of products and services and what makes you different. The research will help you understand if there is a need of your product or service for your target market.
A written plan is a clear road map of your business. It will describe goals, mission and vision. Showcase how you will achieve your goals, resources to use, and key people involved. In addition, if you seek capital from investors or a bank you will need a business plan. Always remember that there are available resources to help you developed your business plan. Organizations such as Small Business Administration, SCORE and Small Business Development Centers can help in the process of business planning.
Knowledge about your services and products are crucial, which is why you are opening a business. But it is also important to know how to handle customers and employees. Remember, you always want your customers to return; and you want to retain your employees. There are resources that will help you gain knowledge about these two important assets in your business.
Overall if you need access to capital to open and operate your business, you will need a business plan. Bankers want to know exactly if you know your business and if you understand your business model, industry, product or service, background of team members and financial projections. These are all evidence of business success.
The Kutztown University Latino Business Resource Center is a program designed to facilitate the learning process of bilingual Latino entrepreneurs to build successful businesses that contribute to a growing economy of Pennsylvania.
Josephina Encarnacion, Business Growth Educator