By Bob House, President, BizBuySell –
If you think obtaining funding is your biggest priority, think again.
When it comes to starting a new business venture, most entrepreneurs focus solely on how they can get funding. Yet they often do not have a clear understanding of the funding process. Nor have they considered some of the many challenges of business ownership and how that might affect the amount of money they actually need.
“At least 90 percent of aspiring entrepreneurs ask how they can get financing, grants, or something related to capital,” says Brad Bunt, director of North Central Texas SBDC.
We spoke to some of the leading experts at America’s SBDC, a nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), to get their insights on the most common questions asked by entrepreneurs. According to these experts, while obtaining funding was the most common issue, there are many more important things entrepreneurs should be thinking about first. (more…)
By Gerri Detweiler –
After surviving several tumultuous business partnerships, Susan Nilon has learned to be more skeptical and cautious. In the past, she admits she was so excited about business possibilities that she “didn’t pay attention to red flags.”
She and her current business partner in a legal research firm, De Novo Law Services, not only have a formal partnership agreement, they’ve taken it one step further. She created an addendum to the agreement “writing out 10 steps on how to survive our partnership,” she says. This document spells out the things that are not normally called out in a contract, like how to handle disputes and what to do when the other partner is not pulling their weight. (more…)
By Jennifer Lobb
Despite the fact that the fourth quarter rolls around at the exact same time year after year, the realization that it’s just around the corner is always startling. In fact, every year as Labor Day bookends the far end of the summer, I find myself asking “how did we get here already?”
We are, of course, “here,”and if you’re a small business owner, it’s time to pencil in a few important tasks to help you navigate the Q4 craziness.
1. Talk to Your Staff
It’s tempting to label this as “evaluate your employees,” because that’s something you’ll want to do as well, but your efforts should exceed evaluation. Your employees are on the front lines and often offer the most candid and useful feedback when it comes to “everyday” tasks and processes. They also are likely to be the ones who have the most frequent, and therefore most insightful, feedback on client or customer relationships. (more…)
By Kali Geldis
If you were born between 1977 and 1995, there’s over a 50% chance that you would start your own small business if you knew where to get help to make it happen.
America’s SBDC, the face of a nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), collaborated with the Center for Generational Kinetics to better understand how different generations view entrepreneurship. The findings indicated that millennials were especially eager to start businesses of their own, but there were some things standing in their way.
Millennials stated that they’d like help writing a business plan, and they rate money high on the list of things holding them back from starting a business. In fact, 45% of the study respondents said that finding capital to start a business was their biggest barrier. That’s not a huge shocker — there are more than 44 different types of business financing out there, and they come with unique interest and fee structures.
Here are five tips that can help any millennial, no matter their entrepreneurial dream, get started. (more…)
By Gerri Detweiler
Perhaps you’ve got a hot idea for a new business and decided it’s time to turn a dream into reality. Or you’ve given up on finding your dream job and decided to create your own. No matter what your motivation for launching your own business, the journey ahead is no doubt both exciting and scary. Where do you start?
The first thing you’ll want to do is lay a solid foundation for your venture. Here’s a step-by-step list to get you started.
1. Choose a business name. Think this one through carefully. Not only do you want to make sure it will be unique and memorable, you’ll also want to make sure it is legally available. Just because there are other businesses with similar names doesn’t mean you can’t use it, but be careful. If your business name is similar to another business — particularly one in your geographic area — your business credit profiles could get mixed up with one another. While you are at it, check domain names, social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Do a Google search. Before you make your final decision, consider a trademark search to avoid any legal challenges down the line. If your business name is too similar to another, you may not be able to register that name when you create a legal entity. (See step 4.) (more…)
In our previous installment, we touched on the benefits of buying an existing business, determining client readiness to buy, and organization. With such a small percentage of business searchers completing the purchase, it’s important to get clear on criteria and what is going to be the best fit for your client’s lifestyle and abilities.
Choosing the Right Type of Business
Many times, buyers will spend too much time looking for what they think is the “perfect” business, and end the search prematurely after realizing it doesn’t exist. Helping your client establish the right type of business to target will not only get them closer to a purchase, but it will open up options that fit within their ideal without having to hit every checkbox. (more…)
Business ownership is a multi-part path of challenges and seeking the right support at appropriate times. But what about the complexity of the business buying process? Knowing if your clients are prepared to take on the task of running a business is one part of the equation, but there are many nuances of the business acquisition process that, if adequately prepared for, may help your clients set realistic expectations for what’s ahead.
These steps will detail questions to ask, and client characteristics to be aware of, as you help facilitate the preparation to buy a business.
Why Buy an Existing Business?
Buying an established business is a paved path to entrepreneurship, which provides a track record and a set of operations to follow or improve. With so many for sale in the market at any given time, finding one that meets the buyer’s professional goals should be within reach.
Namely, buying a business versus starting one will allow for further refinement and evolution of the operation. Here is a quick recap to show the benefits and characteristics that accompany the purchase of an existing business. (more…)
Entrepreneur and SBDC Client Josh Fegles is hired as Academic & Government Channel Sales Director to increase market share of SaaS app LivePlan in the government and academic channels
The world’s leader in business planning, strategic forecasting for small business, and small business management software, Palo Alto Software, has announced the hire of entrepreneur Josh Fegles to lead the company’s government and academic relationships.
Fegles will be sharing LivePlan, a great critical thinking tool, with global academic and government organizations to help them increase their relevance among their small business clients and students. LivePlan helps students learn about how to start a business, and helps small business owners plan and manage their business better. Josh will bring LivePlan to SBDCs (Small Business Development Centers), SCORE offices, Women’s Business Centers, Veteran’s Business Outreach Centers, Chambers of Commerce, economic development organizations, accelerator and incubator programs, and academic institutions (high schools and higher education, including online universities).
“Josh is the perfect person to lead our relationships with SBDCs, SCORE offices and colleges and universities for many reasons. Most importantly, he’s been a long time client of the SBDC in Portland, Oregon,” stated Palo Alto Software CEO, Sabrina Parsons. (more…)
Every homebrewer who has sipped his or her own creations and tasted the satisfaction of a job well done has likely at least contemplated what it would be like to share their recipes with the world, or to make a living from their passion for handcrafted beers. And many Vermont brewers have taken steps to make that dream a reality. But there’s a lot more to a successful brewery than making great beer.
Vermont breweries like Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro and The Alchemist in Waterbury are garnering national attention and an almost cult-like following for their products. It’s easy to see why new breweries are popping up throughout the state and beyond. While rockstar brews like the Alchemist’s Heady Topper may make going into the beer business seem like a no-brainer, opening a brewery is a serious and often expensive undertaking that should not be delved into on a whim. (more…)
By Keith D. Yurgosky
Have you heard about Laura Beck of www.stripedshirt.com, the self-proclaimed “failed entrepreneur” whose kickstopper story has gone viral? At The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center part of what we do every day is help people understand that some planning and research up front can be the difference between a successful business and a failed idea. But it’s even better for you to hear it from someone who knows like Laura Beck.
I live in a house with four women, and work in an office with five women, in both cases I am the only male. So not only have I learned to put the toilet seat down, but I have also learned that women find wearing striped shirts unflattering. Somehow Mrs. Beck didn’t get this memo. If she had put together a small focus group of women before starting, I am certain this is something that would have come up. Pre-planning and some simple market research can save a lot of headaches down the road. In the case of Mrs. Beck, I am sure she had many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to unload the 21,000 striped shirts she had pre-ordered, or how to recoup the $210,000 investment she had made to start the business.
This is the same situation many entrepreneurs find themselves in on a daily basis and, when a loan is involved and the collateral is a person’s home, the dream of owning a business can quickly become a nightmare. The mistake admitted by Mrs. Beck was that she thought PR alone could sell the product. However, marketing isn’t only advertising, it’s finding the right product and being able to sell it at a price people are willing to pay for it. (more…)