Neighborhood House

Millions of people dream of becoming their own boss. It is one of the major reasons why so many foreigners emigrate to the U.S.

The Small Business Administration estimates that between 60-80 percent of all new jobs in our country are created by small businesses.

America depends on small business. It is the largest creator of jobs. Every community needs the local flavor that a small business can bring.

No matter what type of business you are thinking of starting, it will enhance your town or city.

So how exactly can you make your dream a reality?

Ask yourself if you are ready, willing and able to run a small business. This undertaking requires lots of hard work and persistence. Not everyone is up for the job.

A small business owner does many things. You may need to answer the phones or make service calls. Also, you may have to run your own marketing campaign and then become a sales person. Incredible energy is required, as a business owner has to work 12-hour days with little time off.

A great idea and lots of passion are simply not enough. You will need a skill set and expertise that you may or may not have acquired as an employee.

The good news is that if you don't have these skills, you can learn them. Help is available through your local Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Administration and other not-for-profit agencies. It is important to start training yourself now before it is too late.

If you have a desire to succeed starting your own small business, here are some things to consider:

1. Identify your business opportunity. Take an inventory of your skills, background and expertise. What are you willing to learn? Your passions, interests and hobbies can guide you.

If your service involves meaningful work or something you are genuinely passionate about, your long days and hard work will feel fulfilling.

2. Determine if there is a need in the community for your product or service and research the competition. Understanding your market and competition is always necessary if you want your business to succeed.

3. Understand that you will need to create a mission statement and a detailed business plan. Usually a business plan includes a vision, description of the organization's structure, how the business will be financed and the capital will be used. Your plan should also include projects of growth and profit or service goals.

Businesses with strong, solid business plans are more likely to succeed. It means you have thought of all aspects of the business and can articulate your vision clearly.

4. Determine where you will find the capital to start your small business. Businesses fail because they don't have enough funding. If you have a good business plan, chances for receiving funding will increase.

You will demonstrate skills, forethought and credibility in asking for capital regardless of whether you are asking a bank or a relative.

5. Explore the requirements for doing business in your area. Are licenses and permits required?  Do you need to incorporate? At this point it may be wise to consult the volunteers at the Small Business Administration. They can provide valuable advice about the benefits of particular business structures: a sole proprietorship, a limited liability corporation (LLC), an S corporation, a C corporation or partnership.

Your choice will have an impact on your tax payments, so it is essential to consult professionals about setting up your accounting system.

6. Part of the fun of owning your own business is naming it.  The name of your business says everything about it. Put some serious thought into this. Your name should fit your present situation and particular niche now, but it should also fit if you expand into new products, services and markets.

Check to make sure the name is not already in use. Otherwise, you may be forced to abandon your business name due to trademark or copyright infringement. 

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