Essential Facts for Small Business Owners

Small Business Facts and Questions

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Going Into Business

  1. Do I have the skills to function in a business environment?
  2. Am I willing to learn about those things I don't know?
  3. Is my product or service different from others already in my market area?
  4. Do I really understand the customers I intend to serve?
  5. Can I prepare a credible, detailed business plan?
  6. Do I have or can I raise adequate money resources?
  7. Am I willing to stick with it even in rough times?
  8. Am I willing to put in the long hours that might be necessary?
  9. Do I have the support of my family?
  10. Is my health up to the tasks ahead?

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Questions to Ask Yourself If Already In Business

  1. Do I really know what is happening in my business?
  2. Am I making money in my business?
  3. What is the attitude of my customers about my business?
  4. Am I happy?
  5. Is my business increasing or declining?
  6. Do I plan for the future or just let it happen?
  7. Will I have enough money to operate my business or to expand?
  8. What will advances in technology do for my business?
  9. Is my financial condition in balance?
  10. Do I know what is happening in my industry?

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Steps in Preparing and Securing a Loan

  1. Decide what your money needs are.
  2. Prepare a business plan to describe your business, its customers and your needs for money.
  3. Estimate your borrowing capability based on your equity, your personal and business credit reports, collateral and ability to repay. According to D&B, there are an estimated 25.8 million small businesses in the U.S.
  4. Make detailed projections of revenues, expenses and profits for two or three years into the future.
  5. List all collateral that you can gather to support the loan request.
  6. Compare your loan request, borrowing capacity, collateral and ability to repay. Are they realistic?
  7. Visit with a counselor, C.P.A., business advisor or associate to review your proposal.
  8. Review your proposal with your banker.
  9. If refused, ask why and see if you can do anything about it.
  10. Revise your approach and try again.

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Steps to Help You Prepare a Business Plan

  1. RESEARCH: Gather information about your business and industry from trade associations, libraries, trade publications, federal agencies and those already in business.
  2. DEFINITION: Identify the approach and format for your business or business expansion.
  3. COMPETITORS: Study them carefully. They would not be there if they were not satisfying customers.
  4. CUSTOMERS: Learn about your customers' wants and needs. Who are they? Where are they? How many are there? Why will they trade with you? The more you know about them, the better you can plan.
  5. IMAGE: Decide what your image will be. What kind of impression do you want to give with your service, merchandise, quality, decor, packaging, personnel, pricing, ads, etc.?
  6. RECORDS: Do you have a system for keeping track of your business numbers? Will it give the information needed to make good business decisions on a timely basis? If you need outside help, do you have arrangements to get it? Poor record keeping will undermine everything else you try to do.
  7. MONEY: Plan your money needs carefully. Remember, it usually takes more money than first thought because of unexpected happenings. Have adequate money for working capital and for the purchase of needed resources.
  8. MARKETING: Define the methods you will use to reach your customers and how you will inform them of what you do. This includes advertising, but is much more.
  9. PROJECTIONS: Bring together all of the above into projections of sales, expenses and profits. Do this for at least one year and preferably for three.
  10. PROFESSIONAL HELP: Get help from professionals where needed. Consult accountants, lawyers, bankers, insurance brokers and business advisors for information and answers to important questions.

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Common Problems Faced by Business Owners

  1. Lack of knowledge about what is happening in the business.
  2. Failure to understand business numbers and how they relate to one another.
  3. Not enough money.
  4. Not enough customers.
  5. Too much competition.
  6. Failure to look into the future and plan future decisions.
  7. Insufficient time.
  8. Rapidly changing technology.
  9. Lack of certain critical business skills.
  10. The mistaken belief that hard work will overcome all other deficiencies.

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How the Bizcoach Can Help You

  1. Private, confidential one-on-one counseling about any business topic.
  2. An opportunity to test your ideas or plans with an experienced business person.
  3. Help in identifying areas where you need further information or reserach.
  4. Business skill building through individual counseling and seminar training.
  5. Entry into a network of business assistance which included international trade, technology development and government contracting.
  6. Help in dealing with a specific business problem.
  7. Help in exploring ideas and formulating alternative approaches.
  8. Loan request preparation.
  9. Business Plan preparation.
  10. A sympathetic ear when you just want to talk about your business.

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Training Most Often Desired By Business Owners

  1. Methods of finding and keeping customers.
  2. How to borrow money.
  3. Preparing business plans.
  4. Understanding financial information.
  5. Taxes.
  6. Collecting accounts receivable.
  7. Basic record keeping.
  8. Advertising.
  9. Inventory management.
  10. Hiring and managing people.

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