Information on Starting a Small Business
So many issues come to mind when thinking about starting a small business: “What form should the business be in?”, “Will I have partners?”, “How will I market?”, and so on. We’ll address these issues in a systematic manner, but first we should take a step back and think about what a business is. A business, in the general sense, is a for-profit organization providing goods or services. A business is going to have a value proposition, a target market, processes that develop value, ways to generate revenue, and a strategy to survive in the competitive marketplace. At the initial stages, we want to focus on the business model conceptually before moving on how that model will be implemented or executed.
Starting a small business first means to come up with the answer to:
- Who is my target market?
- What service/good am I offering them?
- How does my offering add value to the market? (Benefits)
- What is my response to existing competition – why would people buy from me?
This should not seem like either a daunting task, or simply an academic exercise. The answers to these questions will help define your strategy for marketing and revenue generation.
The answers to the previously listed questions can help you create your business plan. Why do you need a business plan? The answer is both for people within the business, and people outside the business. For outsiders, the business plan gives a summary of the objectives, history, and strategy of the business. This is important for investors, partners and any credit suppliers.
Internally, the business plan is important because it forces discipline and focus in defining a vision for the company. Ultimately, business is about planning and execution generic terms. The reason this is important is that entrepreneurship requires personal characteristics of focus, fortitude, and conviction to succeed; the plan can help you stay the course. The plan creation forces you to consider, deeply, how you intend to generate and sustain the business.
There is no “right answer” when it comes to a business plan, and that can make some people feel uneasy. Below is a sample template that you can use to get started though (based on the SBA template):
Statement of business purpose and executive summary in generic terms
Table of Contents
Description of business
Marketing (target segment, means to reach market)
Distribution and Partnerships
Loans and Capital
Capital Equipment List
Assumptions Supporting and Legal Documents
Tax Return/financial summary of business partners
Rental or Real Estate Contracts
Business License and Structure
Resumes of Partners
Personal Skills Need to Succeed at Business
The entrepreneurial mindset is elusive, and there is no agreement as to what traits will lead to success in business. However, there are some characteristics which appear again and again when business analysts talk about success in business.