A recent Dun and Bradstreet survey revealed that 90% of all small business failures can be traced to poor management, lack of planning and under capitalization.
I cannot help you with specific advice, but luckily with people around as good as 'SCORE' I don't need to!
All I need to do is guide you to them, and let them do all the work.
And how good are they? OUTSTANDING!
'SCORE' is a non-profit association dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with free, confidential face-to-face and email business counseling. Over 10,000 retired and working volunteers provide free business counseling and advice as a public service.
Business counseling and workshops are offered at offices across the U.S., or via your email for maximum speed (48 hour reply) and convenience.
The 'SCORE' Association is dedicated to entrepreneurial education and the formation, growth and success of small businesses nationwide.
'SCORE' is available to all U.S. citizens, and can help you with management, planning and getting the correct capitalization, all-essential to your success.
These are our top advice starting small business questions to ask yourself before starting ANY small businesses.
1. Is there a strong demand for your business?
It is vital to research your market before you begin. Who is likely to buy your product or service? Where do they live? Is demand seasonal? How much will people pay for it?
2. Have you assessed the competition?
Examine the firms in your area. Can you compete with their price, service and quality? Don't forget related competition. For example, parks compete with gyms.
3. Are there special licenses or legal requirements for your start-up business?
Contact your local authority and relevant trade organizations or solicitors for advice.
4. Do you have suitable business premises?
A desk in your own home and/or a storage space in your garage may be all you need. Tip. Be sure that extra traffic or noise won't cause neighbor problems.
5. Do you have the right equipment?
You'll probably need a desk with a phone, and a computer and vehicle are also useful. Are any special tools required, or dedicated software etc?
6. Have you contacted the taxman?
Once you move beyond selling the odd item for private sale, they will need to know what you are up to! Start good records from day one, at least of everything you buy and sell. Tip. If they have to estimate your tax in the absence of good records, it probably won't be in your favor!
7. Do you have sufficient capital to put into your new small business?
You may need cash to buy equipment, and to cover yourself until you turn a profit. Use your own savings, ask friends and relatives, or get a cheap bank loan. See our link to Small Business Loans.
8. Have you set up a bank account?
Can you clear checks from your new customers? Who do they make the checks out to, you or to your new business name? Banks can be excellent places for advice starting small business. Credit payment facilities are useful too.
9. What will your small business structure be?
You could be the sole business proprietor, partnership (draw up an agreement) or set up a limited company.
Do it legally right the first time or you may end up on the Judge Judy Show! If you have to hire staff, especially family, ensure that everyone knows the exact basis on which they are employed.
10. Have you produced a business plan?
It is vital to set down on paper what you are doing, with cash flow and profit projections. Not only useful for yourself, a business plan is often vital when obtaining small business loans, as it shows you have done your homework.
11. Have you done a risk assessment?
Be sure you know exactly what insurances you're new small business requires. Our Small Business Insurance page will make this easy for you.