By SCORE Spokane
So, you want to start a business? SCORE exists to help small businesses succeed, and the first step toward success is preparation. Here are 10 tips from SCORE mentors, hot off the press!
- Ask the critical questions. Consider your current circumstances such as your family, health, and other responsibilities; is now a good time to start a business? Do you have enough potential customers to prove the value of your business? Think about why some businesses succeed while others fail in the same market. Is the market overly competitive or saturated? These questions and more are important to answer before moving to the next steps.
- Do market research. Test your assumptions about the profitability of your idea by getting advice from others. Utilize the resources at the Spokane city and county libraries and consider taking the free one-month Udacity class on ‘How to Build a Startup’ by Steve Blank.
- Save ,save, save! It takes money to make money. You will need a down payment and collateral to get a business loan.
- Credit matters. If your credit rating could use some love, work on improving it.
- Determine the cost. Estimate the amount of money required to start up your business and forecast the first year’s cash flows. Open a separate bank account for your business and have an accounting method like Wave or Quickbooks set up.
- Build skills in Financial Management. Cash flow and the basics of accounting are especially important skills to have. Free Training courses in Business Finance are available at http://www.exinfm.com/training/free_courses_in_finance.html
- Remember: passion is significant. Make sure your business and the activities that you engage in align with your beliefs and get you excited about the greater purpose you are working toward. Your customers buy into your mission and vision—not your product or service.
- Hire an accountant to do your taxes! This will save you time and energy. Meet with your accountant before you launch so you know which records to keep.
- Stay up to speed with technology or get left behind! Utilize experts where you lack knowledge. Marketing in the digital world, including a website and social media accounts, is a must.
- Business is all about relationships. Craft a diverse team around you, including financial, legal and operations associates. Utilize organizations like SCORE that are here to support you!
Visit their website for more resources, advice, and workshops.
You can also check out our program, StartUp Spokane, that has a lot of resources to help you with your startup or business idea.