By Charles “Tee” Rowe –
Every year, Americans start businesses with the hope of achieving financial success, independence, and personal fulfillment. Unfortunately, many times those dreams are never realized. Too often the enthusiasm and energy that small business owners put into their business isn’t matched by the planning and skills needed to survive.
At America’s SBDCs — 62 small business development center networks nationwide and their nearly 1,000 centers — we find that a solid business plan and a brilliant business concept need to be married to a serious understanding of the financial and management needs of running a business.
Too many businesses believe marketing is their key to success, but hemorrhaging cash is the secret, silent killer. So for aspiring entrepreneurs, here are five myths small business owners believe in that lead to failure:
1. Don’t ask for help
“You’re smart, you’ve got this.” Nobody has got it. There are so many free resources out there, and the biggest mistake many small business owners make is not using those resources. There are nearly 1,000 small business development centers nationwide — why would you ignore free help? (more…)
By Michelle Black –
Buying commercial real estate has the potential to be an excellent investment, often more so than residential properties. Yet even if you’re an experienced real estate investor, it’s crucial to understand that buying a commercial property isn’t the same as buying a house.
Before you purchase a commercial property, it helps to know the pros and cons of this type of investment. It’s also important to understand that with the chance for more reward often comes a higher purchase price and more risk.
How to Buy a Commercial Property: An In-Depth Review
1. Understand your motivations for investing in commercial real estate.
Why do you want to invest in commercial real estate? It’s an important question to ask yourself before you start hunting for properties. (more…)
By Andriana Moskovska –
Keeping your business afloat in a highly competitive market is not exactly a walk in the park. Approximately 20% of new ventures don’t even make it past their first year, so it’s important to do all that you can to rise above the competition.
With that being said, finishing up another year without your business closing down is already a major milestone. But don’t start celebrating too soon. Now is the time to reflect on the past few months, and set goals for the upcoming year. Preparing for the year to come will ensure steady growth for your business.
Poor business planning and market research are two of the main culprits of business failure. Simply put, there’s no room for incompetence in the world of business.
It’s important to avoid procrastination. Take care of smaller tasks as they come, so you can focus on the bigger things ahead.
Here are a few things to add to your end-of-year checklist so you can start the new year with a clean slate: (more…)
By Brad Wiewel –
Over a million lawsuits are filed in state courts every year. And, according to one source, all of us have a 10% chance of getting sued in any given year and a 33% chance of getting sued during our lifetimes! This is scary information given that being on the losing end of a lawsuit can be financially devastating.
As a business owner, you have special cause for concern. That’s because if your business is sued and ordered to pay a money judgment as a result, the plaintiff in the lawsuit can collect on the judgment not only by going after its assets, but by going after your personal assets too if your business does not have enough resources to pay the full judgment amount.
The good news however, is that appropriate up-front planning can protect your personal assets. For example, you can: (more…)
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…)