Category Archives: Business Planning

Washington State Biz Fair — October 12

It’s a free, virtual event!
Tuesday, October 12, 7am to 5pm

The 25th annual virtual Biz Fair is free to attend and the goal is to help current and aspiring small business owners learn from experts on how to start or grow their business.

Gain access to valuable small business resources by visiting the Small Business Resource Center staffed by representatives from federal, state and local government agencies, and business and trade associations.

More more information, please visit the BizFair website.

Ask SCORE: How can you make writing a business plan less intimidating? 

by Ken Sethney, Kitsap SCORE 

Writing a business plan is one of the important steps an entrepreneur needs to take before launching a new business. There is no shortage of people who feel that writing a business plan is an intimidating task. However, many business owners are likely to agree that their plan played a major role in their ability to launch and grow a profitable business.

A business plan isn’t about the document itself, it’s about the discovery process you use to create it. 

Business plans can be tackled in a number of different ways, but all should go after the same result – to clearly demonstrate the viability of your business to generate revenue and turn a profit. Your plan needs to state the business case for the business itself, discuss marketplace, financials, SWOT analysis, and much more. It’s a lot to think about. 

Too often owners decide to jump right in rather than take the time to properly plan. The benefits of planning – and the investment in the time it takes to write the plan – are invaluable in the end. Thinking through your start-up costs and revenue projections ahead of time, for example, will help you make the types of decisions that could be the difference between your business losing money or generating a profit.

When you’re ready to start your business plan, create manageable goals and hold yourself accountable for meeting deadlines.

The easiest way to get started is to create a task list with manageable goals and deadlines. Here are some tips to make writing a business plan less intimidating and easier to accomplish.

1. Don’t Attempt to Write Your Plan All at Once

Break up your plan into smaller sections and tackle each section one at a time. A great way to work through a business plan is to first create an outline. This will naturally create a guide for you to build from and keep your plan well-organized so you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

2. Schedule Time to Write

Schedule time to work on your plan. Get out your calendar and block out time each week to write. When you create a schedule and stick with it, you’ll complete your plan faster and be ready to launch sooner.

3. Use Technology and Other Resources to Your Advantage

There are plenty of online tools and templates available you can use as you start your business plan. Many are free. Using a template is a great way to create your plan’s outline and get started. SCORE offers a range of business planning templates that can give you a head start.

4. Get Feedback Along the Way

Ask trusted mentors and other partners to read through your plan as you go. They may offer suggestions on how to improve or clarify sections of the plan.

Writing a business plan can be an intimidating task. But, with the right approach and support, your plan will give you more clarity into and validation of your business concept than just about any other tool. 

Developing a business plan takes consistent effort and dedication. You can make the writing and planning process easier and far less intimidating with a SCORE mentor by your side. A SCORE mentor will support you throughout the entire writing and planning process, provide you with actionable feedback along the way, and help you create a strong plan for your business. Contact a SCORE mentor today and get started.

Ask SCORE: What is the best way to market a niche product?

by Ken Sethney, Kitsap SCORE

Marketing a niche product means that you’re not selling to everyone. You are focused on a group of people who are most likely to buy your products or services. 

Having a narrow pool of potential customers comes with challenges and ultimately means more work on your part to find those people who fall within your niche. However, marketing a niche product also has advantages once you identify your customers. 

Successfully marketing a niche product starts with an in-depth understanding of your potential customer’s wants and needs.

When you are targeting a small group of buyers, you need to understand who is most likely to buy your product and how your product can provide solutions to their needs.

Start with a bit of market research. Google can help you find lots of useful information. You can also visit the Kitsap Regional Library and speak to an adult services librarian. The library website can give you access to valuable information. 

The Impact of COVID-19 on Startups – April 2020

Infographic: The Impact of COVID-19 on Startups - April 2020

SCORE surveyed pre-startups and startups in early April 2020 about how they think how coronavirus could affect their business, and this infographic highlights the findings.

Data from a SCORE survey conducted from April 3-16, 2020. 492 business owners responded with 125 respondents identified as thinking of starting a business or in their first year of business ownership.

  • 65% of those surveyed are solopreneurs
  • 28% have 2 to 5 employees
  • 5% have 6 to 10 employees
  • 2% have 11 to 20 employees
  • 2% have 21+ employees

The respondents owned businesses in the industries below:

Continue reading

The SCORE Startup Roadmap: Your Guide to Successfully Starting a Business

Take the SCORE Startup Roadmap

Are You Ready to Start Your Business?

The path to business ownership is an exciting journey. As you embark on your journey, you need a few things to successfully reach your destination. First and foremost, you need a good roadmap or GPS to successfully navigate your way.

The SCORE Startup Roadmap, sponsored by FedEx, guides your journey, from your business idea through opening your doors to customers.

Whatever startup route lies ahead of you, the Startup Roadmap provides direction along the way. It will help you chart a course to success, minimizing detours and dead ends so you can get to your goal faster. This Roadmap will take you from the initial step of defining your business idea through your ultimate destination: launching your business. In each chapter, we’ll teach you what you need to do and give you the resources and expertise you need to get it done. Continue reading

Is an SBA loan right for you?

SBA loan

If you’re starting or growing your small business, you should learn about loans guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a funding option.

If you apply for an SBA loan, your loan won’t be from the SBA, and you won’t make your payments to the agency. Instead, the SBA approves lenders to provide loans to small businesses under their loan programs. Continue reading

Where is the best place for your business?

“A library patron who wants to buy vacant land made a one-on-one research appointment to investigate mobile home parks in Kitsap, Mason, Jefferson, and Pierce County.  The lack of affordable housing in the area weighed on her and she wanted to use her resources to provide housing for families who are burdened by a high rents or long commutes.  We were able to identify all the mobile home parks in Kitsap and its neighboring counties, who their owners are, what their annual sales volume is, and build a geographic heat map that showed their locations relative to one another.  She left with handle on potential gaps in the market and a more focused sense of where it makes sense to look for land.” — Carina Wood, Kitsap Regional Library, Silverdale Branch 

KRL - BUSINESS RESEARCH