In honor of National Small Business Week, America’s SBDC hosted it’s first ever Twitter Chat on May 4th, “10 Most Common Small Business Questions.”
@ASBDC served as the chat “moderator and posted questions every few minutes using the hashtag, #SBDC. Checkout our Q&A below:
Q1: Do I have what it takes to own a small business? #SBDC
Maybe you do, Maybe you don’t. Start by validating your business assumptions @SBDC
Ask yourself, do you have – cash, good credit, drive, self starter, risk taker, energy, time #nysbdc
Check out the resources on our site to learn if starting a small business is right for you! http://sbdcmichigan.org/start-a-business/ …
Every entrepreneur is http://different.Best way to find out is to meet with an SBDC advisor to evaluate your idea.
Take some time to get a broad perspective – consider biz requirements, time commitments, industry trends #sbdc
Bizplan info has to come from the business owner, #SBDC advisors help reflect that info in best possible light
“Do I need a biz plan & how do I do it?” Our answer-Yes, our team at #SBDC can help
Q2: Do I need a business plan & how do I put one together? #SBDC
Business plans are roadmaps. You wouldn’t travel from NY to LA without a map, contingency plans & money. #SBDC
Yes…business plans are recommended to organize the project and help secure financing. Contact your local SBDC office #nysbdc
We have access to great sample bizplans & @carnegielibrary keeps a great list of plans here http://www.carnegielibrary.org/research/business/bplansindex.html …
Yes, most definitely! It’s your road map from pt. A to B, & it will change as your business changes.@MichiganSBDC can help with this.
Q3: Do I need to incorporate my business? #SBDC
Many businesses start out as LLCs. Changing from LLC to corporation later is relatively easy & inexpensive. #SBDC
Depends on your idea, but it provides asset protection, credibility and name protection, perpetual existence, deductions #nysbdc
By visiting the Lamar #SBDC, we can answer any questions you may have about different types of business structures.
This is an important ? to ask yourself. Being a sm biz owner is not like a typical 9 – 5 job. You work 24/7, 365 days. @MichiganSBDC
Also, having a business attorney on your team is always a good idea to advise on this! #SBDC
It depends!! Call us at #SBDC to talk
There are several ways to legally structure your business. See the Startup Guide on our website or attend a legal workshop!
Check this valuable page on choosing your business structure https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/choose-your-business-structure … #SBDC
Q4: How can I determine how much money I need to get started? #SBDC
Determine startup costs & P&L projections. Don’t forget cash reserve needs. Again, a working document. #SBDC
Financial projections are incredibly important! http://aksbdc.org/tools/financial-model/?toolset=think … #SBDC
Every small business is unique, we can assist you with the financials needed to estimate your business’s startup cost. #SBDC
Q5: Where can I get funding to start or grow my business? #SBDC
Different funds for different business needs. Talk to advisors. Consider grants, angel/VC, bank finance, & crowdfunding. #SBDC
Don’t count on grants unless your business involves new tech or is non-profit http://www.nyssbdc.org/resources/Links/grants.html … #sbdc
Banks, state & local economic development agencies, grants, personal equity, crowd funding, family and friends #nysbdc
It depends!! Call us for appt. #SBDC
Various sources! Let’s discuss in person #SBDC
There are several ways to get funding for your business. Some options include banks, microloan programs, friends and family!
Many options: loan, crowd fund, investor, etc. Pros & cons to each but all require well thought out plan! @ASBDC
Crowdfunding tools like kickstarter are actually a good way to determine to line up presales and see if your idea is popular @ASBDC
Q6: How can I know if my business idea will work? #SBDC
Customer discovery and market validation work are critical before spending any money. #SBDC
Do your research – our #SBDC librarians can help with customer demographics & spending, sales of similar biz etc.
No guarantees but completing a business plan, cash flow projections and market research will help determine feasibility.
It is important to understand the market: potential customers, competition, and the economic conditions in your industry. #SBDC
Make sure the financial projections are realistic, if the numbers don’t work, you may need to re-evaluate your idea #nysbdc
Develop a thorough business plan, be creative in testing your market, be prepared to invest tons of time into proving idea! #SBDC
Sit with an #SBDC consultant to determine the feasibility of your idea and improve your odds of success !!
Q7: How can I market my new business on a limited budget? #SBDC
Embrace guerrilla marketing! #SBDC
Develop a marketing budget and stick to it! Maximize internet marketing.
Networking, community involvement, partnering with other businesses to share mktng costs, social media, and more! @MichiganSBDC
Email campaigns, referral programs, press releases and social media are all important! @ASBDC
Create a marketing plan that focuses on word of mouth marketing… Encourage referrals by providing incentives.
Taking a marketing class of some kind can really help. #SBDC
So many great options! Start by thinking like your #customer – where are they (online & F2F), what do they do, how can you reach?
Social media, search engine optimization, community networking, local biz chamber events, local newspaper press releases #nysbdc
Social media is great, but don’t forget in person networking at local or industry events #SBDC
Website, Linkedin, social media & in person networking are great places to start marketing on a limited budget. #SBDC
Q8: Should I lease or buy equipment? #SBDC
It depends! Contact local #SBDC to talk thru options
It depends. Cash flow projections can help you with this decision as can an SBDC consultant.
It depends – what’s the rate of obsolescence in your industry? If it’s rapid, you might want to lease #SBDC
Think about up front cost, maintenance, tax benefits, equity, changing technology. Review pros and cons with an advisor #nysbdc!
Q9: What do I need to know before I hire my first employee? #SBDC
Can you afford it? Develop cash flow projections. The SBA has a great guide and the SBDC conducts human resource workshops.
Clearly assign employee duties & responsibilities, make clear chain of command to avoid personnel problems #SBDC
Cheatsheet on Hiring Your First Employee: http://aksbdc.org/tools/hiring-your-first-employee/?toolset=think … #SBDC
Q10: Where can I go for help to start or grow my business? #SBDC
See if there are any business incubation programs in your area. #SBDC
Your local #SBDC office will provide free assistance. Give them a try!
Come to the Lamar #SBDC for help in starting or growing your business. Open Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM, Call to set up an appt!
Register for business counseling on the SBDC website!
Thank you to everyone who made National Small Business Week such a success and congrats again to the Charleston SBDC and all the SBDC clients who won awards.