Category Archives: Getting Started

Ask SCORE: What are the first steps in starting a nonprofit?

There are many steps between the initial idea stage and an operating 501 (c) (3) organization and the process will usually span a period of a year or more.

After you come up with an idea for a service or a program that can best be developed on a not-for-profit basis, it is critical to find other individuals who share your vision for this idea. These individuals must be willing to share the work involved in getting your idea off the ground and serve as your starting board of directors.

It is also important that your board offer financial support, as the level of board support is a question that other funding sources will often ask. It is helpful if board members with specific skills can be recruited; e.g. an accountant and/or a lawyer as well as people experienced in the field of service you hope to provide.  Continue reading

Ask SCORE: Would your hobby make a sustainable business?

Running a successful business centered on doing something you love is the dream of many entrepreneurs. What could be more gratifying than making a living sharing your talents and skills with others?

On the Internet, you’ll find a long list of articles and resources offering advice and insight specifically geared toward hobbyists who want to take the step and go from “passion” to “profit.”   Continue reading

Ask SCORE | Should I run my small business from home?

Operating a business from home offers small business owners some significant advantages — and some disadvantages, too. Some entrepreneurs find running a home-based business works exceptionally well for them, while others do much better at a coworking space of in an office away their home. Consider the following pros and cons.  Continue reading

Ask SCORE: How can I use the business model canvas?

methodology-b5e4177c0e51a4b1c552fbec08455ccd8643b8ac6fcced615e7b2452e4d5563bThe Business Model Canvas is an entrepreneurial tool that helps you visualize, design, and reinvent your business model. It was developed by Swiss business theorist and author Alexander Osterwalder.

For a startup, using the tool can help you develop a clear view of your value proposition, operations, customers, and finances. As an existing business owner, you can use it to identify how the different components of your business relate to each other.

It can help you decide where you need to focus your time and effort.  Continue reading

Ask SCORE: How do I get a business license?

Kitsap County does not require business licenses but the cities of Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island and Bremerton each have business license requirements.

NOTE: Businesses NOT physically located in the city, but still doing work there, are required to obtain a license for the city. Business should check to make sure their use is compliant with land use and zoning.

All business must apply for a Master Business License from the Washington State Department of Licensing, which registers the business with the state departments of Revenue, Licensing, Labor and Industries, Employment Security, Secretary of State, and the Washington State Department of Commerce.

A new corporation locating in the State of Washington must file for Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State‘s office, which will issue a UBI (Unified Business Identifier) number.

5 overlooked options for financing your small business.

Need financing to start or grow your business? If you’re starting a business that requires significant financial investment up front, finding a source of funding can be a challenge. Many start-ups and new small businesses often find they may not qualify for a traditional small business bank loan. Without a proven track record of 3-5 years under your belt and/or established business credit, many banks simply won’t take the risk. But before you risk your life savings or re-mortgage your home, you should know about some possible alternatives.  Continue reading

What is a franchise and should you buy one?

You’ve heard the word “franchise,” but what exactly is one? A franchise refers to a system of doing business in which a parent company (the franchisor) sells the rights to a system of doing business to individuals (franchisees).

Each franchisee pays a franchise fee in order to buy into the system, then pays ongoing royalties for the right to continue using the franchise’s name and trademark. Most franchisors provide franchisees with initial training, as well as ongoing support that typically includes marketing materials, suppliers of inventory and more.

McDonald’s is probably the most famous franchise in America, but franchising isn’t limited to the fast-food industry. You can find franchises in just about every industry, from retail stores and restaurants to business and personal services, such as accounting, hair care and fitness.

Whatever type of business you’re thinking of starting, there’s probably a franchisor that can help you do it. But is buying a franchise right for you?  Continue reading