With the cancellation of the June 3-4 McCall Business Workshops I received numerous questions on (1) are we still going to do workshops in the fall, and (2) can you point to some resources that can help us now. The answer to the first question is: yes, we will do (a series) of small workshops in the fall specifically tailored to entrepreneurs. The following are some links and pointers to answers on questions that I was most frequently asked.
Creating your business plan
SBA (the US Small Business Administration) very much likes you to succeed – the vast majority of job growth, in any region, comes from entrepreneurs and self-starters. SBA helps you step through creating your business plan and even has a template that guides you through the process and can generate it for you, right online. Even if you want to write it yourself, it may still be worthwhile to go through these steps since it gives pointers and asks questions that will help you cover all issues.
Keeping it short and concise is always best, but do spend your time on three key elements that usually determine if a lender of investor will come forward:
- Success of a business is ultimately driven by the people that run it. Make sure that you show why your skills and experience make the difference and why you are passionate about starting this particular business (because if you are not passionate, success is far less likely…)
- Anybody can come up with financial projections that show a profit after three years. So a lender/investor will look for the rationale behind the numbers. Be sure to build your revenue and expense projections based on clear assumptions, and drill down your projections to the customer level (sales/week = customers/week x sales/customer)
- It is very beneficial if you have a compelling strategy behind your business plan that ties it all together and shows why you can fight the competition. That strategy should either set you apart from the competition, or show why your skills and expertise will make you come out ahead of the competition.
Getting free help, and creating financial statements
If you are not familiar with creating financial statements, it can be a bit daunting. SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed nationwide. SCORE works with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBDC), and uses a network of experienced volunteers who offer small business entrepreneurs confidential business counseling services at no charge. To contact the chapter that covers our area, call Joice at Boise-SCORE, (208)334-1696 x338 and ask her for recommendations on a counselor.
If you are somewhat familiar (or feel brave), you can use the following links that provide info and templates on financial statements.
Unless you are lucky and find an Angel investor, or have a sugar-uncle or aunt, a bank will be the source for loans. Banks are not in the business to take risk, so they want to make sure they always get their money back – even if you fail – they will ask for “collateral” as a guarantee. Since not many of us can satisfy a bank so easily, the government is willing to step in and “co-sign” for a portion of the loan (none of them will guarantee the full loan). The bank will suggest and process this for you if they see an opportunity, but different organizations have different packages and sometimes different requirements that you may check out. The three most common loan guarantee programs for our area are:
Contact me at the extension office if this did not cover your questions.; also: residents in Cascade may want to contact Dwight Jividen, who has more information on starting a local business.
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