Saturday, March 9, 2019

how to start a small business

how to start a small business


How To Start A Startup As A Small Business Owner - Forbes

Posted: 19 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST

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The Small Business Administration defines a small business as an independently owned entity built for profit and is not dominant in its industry. Startups, on the other hand, are temporary organizations created to search for a repeatable and scalable business model as defined by entrepreneur, author and investor, Steve Blank.

Based on numerous conversations with small business owners interested in building a technology startup, I found that entrepreneurs are mostly intrigued by the scalability and repeatability aspects of a startup that are not feasible under the small business model. In other words, I observed that most small business owners who want to start a startup are looking to build a venture that reaches and serves thousands of customers without necessarily needing hundreds of employees.

A successful small business owner recently told me that 80% of his business expenses are overhead costs that average $450,000 per month. He emailed, "I would rather run a $1 million business with 80% margin than generate $10 million in revenue and only keep $800 thousand."

While simple projections can make sense, building a startup is one of those battles where "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face," says Mike Tyson. However, just like any business, there are right and wrong ways to start it and there are many strategies by which an entrepreneur can mitigate risk of failure and increase certainty in the path to market and growth.

Here are two important lessons about startups followed by how to start a startup especially if you are currently running a growing small business or have developed expertise in a particular industry.

  1. A Startup Is Not A Small Business

While small businesses execute on a validated business model, startups search for one. Take the example of a restaurant. For as long as we can track humans, selling and trading food were how people survived for thousands of years. The main responsibility of a restaurant owner is to provide quality and accessible food at a price that justifies the value. One startup idea that comes to mind related to restaurants is a food on-demand app. Consumers have been used to buying food a certain way, therefore, the job of the entrepreneur is no longer making and selling the product only but in educating the buyer and validating the on-demand model which may sound viable but is not necessarily valid for every segment.

This important distinction simply means launching a startup with a small business building mindset will rarely work. If you have not previously experienced the ups and downs of startups, it is wiser to hire a mentor and team members who can help you build a valid, viable and valuable solution the right way.

  1. A Startup Is Not An App

According to CB Insights, it costs less than $5 thousand to launch a startup today compared to $5 million twenty years ago. Take a moment and Google, "cost of building an app." Most of the estimates you will find exceed $100 thousand only for the first version of the application. The question is, if it has never been cheaper to start a startup why is the cost of an app in the six figures range?

The truth is, a startup is not synonymous with applications. Apps, web or mobile, are accelerators and, in many cases, not mandatory to launch a startup and deliver a solution. In most cases, entrepreneurs can deliver the desired outcome by leveraging existing tools and by doing things that don't scale.

The founders of the food on-demand application DoorDash used Find my Friend app, their cars and a simple landing page to connect buyers with local restaurants and deliver the food. As CB Insights explains, thanks to open source technology and cloud-based tools, virtually every entrepreneur with an idea and a passion can launch a startup venture quickly and cost efficiently.

Based on conversations with first-time technology startup founders over the years, I found that most entrepreneurs rush into building an advanced application thinking that it is the quality and functionality of the app that determines the success of a startup. Many founders spend over a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars building a product just to realize it isn't solving the right problem, the right way. Instead, here are three key steps that will help you alleviate risk and increase chances of success.

Focus On What You Can Control

If you are brainstorming ideas, keep in mind that your startup is more likely to succeed if you control most of the variables. In other words, ideally, you want to create a scalable solution in an industry you are already in with customers you spent years learning about and serving and with other key stakeholders like partners, suppliers or distributors that you understand and perhaps know.

This scenario will allow you to make wiser hypotheses, avoid many mistakes and accelerate the path to market by creating solutions you know people will pay for if not willing to invest in it before it's launched.

Delay Automation And Focus On Manual Work

As noted earlier, many entrepreneurs at the early stages focus exclusively on creating a web or mobile app which are costly and time-consuming. Instead, find existing tools that you can leverage to solve the problem quickly and cost efficiently.  It took the founders of DoorDash an afternoon to set everything up and receive the first order. They could have spent months building an advanced food ordering app but decided to start by doing things that don't scale, gather customer feedback and generate revenue quickly and then progressively invest in the advance, scalable version of the product.

Forget Ads And Get Your Hands Dirty

One of the advantages of controlling most of the variables as stated earlier is that you can market to a group that knows and trusts you. Nonetheless, many entrepreneurs prefer to invest significant advertisement amounts hoping that this will accelerate growth. In reality, a startup is not at a growth stage until it validates a business model and finds product/market fit. When you use ads to acquire new users, you miss a big part of the opportunity to gain customer feedback and learn what needs to be adjusted and created next. Even billion-dollar companies like Airbnb, Etsy and Uber acquired the first users by personally meeting and assisting them.

It can be enticing for successful small business owners to jump on the tech startup bandwagon especially when cash is no longer a problem. Nowadays, for most startup business models, funding is not a determinant of successful execution and thus taking measurable and educated steps are key to startup success.

The first step in starting a business | News, Sports, Jobs - Lock Haven Express

Posted: 08 Mar 2019 09:02 PM PST

LOCK HAVEN — Have you always had a dream to start your own business but didn't know where to start?

The First Step to Starting a Small Business workshop will help aspiring entrepreneurs to begin the process of successful business ownership including evaluating business ideas, developing a business plan, and exploring financing options. The presenters/discussion leaders for this workshop are the members of the SBDC staff and a local commercial lender.

The class will take place on Wednesday, March 20 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 301 W. Church St., Lock Haven.

Attendees will learn:

– Unique lifestyle requirements involved in owning a business.

– How to assess the feasibility of their business idea.

– Differences between business organization structures.

– How to develop a business plan.

– How to obtain financing.

– How to market their product or service.

– The applications and licenses needed to start their company.

Registering: https://pasbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/25640 or by calling 570-484-2848. Walk-ins will be accepted if available seating.

The cost is $20. Make checks payable to Lock Haven University and mail to Kristine Meeker, Education Program Coordinator at 301 W. Church St., Lock Haven, Pa. 17745.

Payment is required on or before seven days after registering for the workshop.

Refunds will be given to those who cancel five or more business days before the event. If it's less than five days notice, you may reschedule to another course.

Next class will be offered on April 26, 2019 at our outreach office at 1127 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, Pa. 17701.

NECIC to start 2nd round of microbusiness development classes - Richland Source

Posted: 08 Mar 2019 12:25 PM PST

MANSFIELD – The North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. (NECIC), as part of its microbusiness development program to support entrepreneurs and small business owners, is starting its second round of business plan writing classes on March 19.

Completing the eight-session course will make participants eligible to apply for microloans. The loans start at $500 and, depending on available funding, may range up to $1,000. The goal is to assist potential low-income and minority small business owners in exploring the concepts of entrepreneurship and determine if entrepreneurship is a pathway out of poverty.

In the classes offered, business owners and entrepreneurs will learn to write a business plan as well as a customer profile, a marketing plan, a financial plan, and much more.

The classes will be taught by Jim Stoner, Certified Business Advisor and will be every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at NECIC, 134 N Main St., Mansfield OH 44902. Classes start March 19 and graduation will be April 11.

The course will be repeated throughout the year, so participants can sign up to attend in other months if they cannot attend this session. The fee for the class is $50.

Interested parties should complete the registration form at https://bit.ly/2Iv6PsQ or contact Edward Akinyemi at 419-522-1611 (extension 127) or edward@necic-ohio.org.

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