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 →
“How can I get grant money to start a for-profit business?”
This is the number one funding related question that Small Business Administration, other government agencies and financial institutions encounter from potential entrepreneurs seeking money to start a business.
The infomercials on late night television selling books or offering free seminars appear to be very convincing. I have spent hours investigating myths and facts about grants. Here are the findings:
Myths about Grants for “For-Profit” Business:
As part of the research on grants, I attended a few different seminars that were held by privately owned organizations at some of the major hotels. Continue reading →
Starting a business with a cause offers much satisfaction as you work to make lives better for others. To launch a nonprofit corporation, it requires taking many of the same steps a for-profit corporation or LLC does, but there are differences, too. Nonprofits must comply with some requirements that don’t affect other businesses.
So, where do you begin?
1. Understand what it means to be a nonprofit.
A nonprofit may be created a nonprofit for charitable, educational or certain other purposes—as long as they don’t directly benefit the owner. Nonprofits (if approved by the federal government) operate tax-free, and they can accept donations and apply for grants.
While a nonprofit business can make profits, surpluses must be used toward fulfilling the organization’s objectives—such as buying computer software to run the business more efficiently or investing in resources that deliver value to those that it serves.Continue reading →
by Rosalinda Maury and Misty Stutsman Directors, Research/Analytics and Entrepreneurship Institute for Veterans and Military Families
Today, women veterans comprise 17 percent of the post-9/11 veteran population and are the fastest-growing sub-population of the veteran community, according to data from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF).
These veterans are also increasingly starting and growing businesses, even in the previously male-dominated STEM (science, technology, engineer, mathematics) fields. In fact, women veterans are twice as likely to pursue STEM-related occupations as their civilian counterparts.
IVMF research we’ve collaborated on also shows that high-performing entrepreneurs tend to demonstrate solid decision-making and high levels of confidence, independence and high self-efficacy, even within chaotic environments. Considering their military service background and exposure to multiple, often dangerous environments, veterans are well known to possess these skills.
Still, veteran entrepreneurs encounter challenges. In an IVMF/Syracuse University study, over 83 percent of women veterans surveyed cited obstacles in starting their own businesses, some unique to their status as veterans. That’s why taking advantage of the right resources can help them overcome barriers.
This simple strategic planning technique can help you identify what your business is doing well, what it needs to improve, where it needs to grow, and what could be its undoing.
Choosing the right direction for the future of your company can be a daunting task. Should you add services? Is your team staying competitive? How can you improve cash flow?
All of these questions and more can be answered by performing a regular SWOT analysis.
What is a SWOT Analysis?
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Taking a deep look into your business by examining these four elements will provide you with an overview of the health of your company. Your strengths and opportunities offer avenues for your company to flourish, while your weaknesses and threats can inspire improvement and help you recognize emerging competition.
It’s likely that you completed a SWOT analysis in the beginning stages of your business plan to help determine where you stood in the market and identify target customers. Now that your business is established, it’s imperative to conduct regular SWOT analyses to help improve your operations and systems and stave off problems.
How to Get Started with a SWOT Analysis
The most vital step in conducting your SWOT analysis is determining what your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are, but sometimes they can be hard to narrow down. Continue reading →
What makes or breaks a successful small business? There are several key commonalities among businesses that succeed, according to several studies polling entrepreneurs.
Here’s a closer look at four things successful business owners do right—and one thing they need to do better.
What successful entrepreneurs do right
They start strong. In a poll of 500 successful entrepreneurs, a whopping 84% of respondents say their companies achieved profitability within their first four years in business. In fact, 68% became profitable within the first year. Only 8% became profitable after their fifth year in business, suggesting that the first years in business are make-or-break ones for most entrepreneurs.
They focus on finding new customers. Small business owners in the survey say finding new customers is their top business challenge—far ahead of cash flow issues or dealing with the competition. Smart entrepreneurs stay focused on continually generating new leads and closing new business.
They put cash back into the business. Forty percent of business owners say whenever they have surplus cash, they put it back into the business rather than paying themselves, a separate study found. What’s more, 47% tap into personal savings to finance their businesses at one point or another.
They work hard. Never let it be said small business owners are slackers. Some 86% work on the weekends; 23% take fewer than two vacation days total all year long; and of those who do take vacations, 75% work during their time “off.” Continue reading →