Category Archives: Strategy

Is it time to turn your side hustle into a business?

These days, lots of people have a side hustle to help them earn extra income, develop new skills, become a small business owner and quit their day job. Lots of them connect with a SCORE mentor to help them transition their side hustle into a full time business. Here are some of the steps they often need to take. 

Adopt the right mindset 

First, you’ll need to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset says that people constantly change, develop, and learn as they work through obstacles. 

When you become a business owner, you will face many challenges… with customers, employees, contractors and suppliers. You will have to handle marketing, sales, financial, taxes, and more. 

A growth mindset will help you navigate these challenges and focus on reaching your goals. 

Make sure your portfolio is strong 

Building a solid portfolio will help you attract new clients or customers. You will need to register a website domain, create a website with a professional theme, and add 2-5 portfolio pieces. For each piece, include a short description explaining the processes and skills you used. 

When choosing portfolio pieces to feature, be sure to select work that demonstrates your strengths and the diversity of your skills. 

Take steps to scale 

As you scale your side hustle into a business, your workload will increase. To manage your work efficiently, you should invest in tools to automate repetitive tasks. For example:

  • Scheduling apps like Trello, AirTable, ClickUp, or Asana
  • Accounting software like Quicken or Wave
  • Payment processing software like PayPal, Payoneer, or TransferWise
  • Grammar-checking apps like Writer.com and Grammarly.com

You could also use business plan software to create a long-term plan to guide your side hustle’s growth. Effective business plans include a financial plan, competitive analysis, market analysis, goals, sales and marketing plans.

Seek financing

If you are hiring employees, investing in software, starting a retail location, or buying inventory for your business, you may have to seek financing. 

Financing gives you the cash you need to invest in solutions that will increase your income long-term. 

There are many ways to seek financing, including:

  • Seeking investment from friends, family, and coworkers
  • Applying for a Small Business Administration loan
  • Starting an online crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo or GoFundMe
  • Acquiring a bridge loan
  • Applying for local, state, or federal government grants

Establish your business. 

You will need to establish an official presence for your company by:

  • Open a business bank account 
  • Register your business with your city, state and Feds.
  • Filing for a Tax ID Number (TIN)

You must establish an official presence online. Research shows that 68% of American consumers research a business on search engines before purchasing anything. To establish your digital presence, be sure to:

  • Add your business to Google My Business
  • Optimize your website with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so it ranks well in search engines 
  • Start Yelp and Yellow Pages accounts 
  • Start a Business Facebook page 

Start actively marketing your business

As investing in digital marketing for your business can provide a return-on-investment (ROI) between 10% and 43% according to Statista.com, it’s a great way to increase your revenue. There are many ways to market your business, including:

  • Start a blog 
  • Run a social media ad campaign 
  • Invest in Google advertising 
  • Set up Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles for your business
  • Create a podcast 
  • Invest in email marketing 
  • Host webinars 

You don’t have to do all of these things at once. Just pick the ones that make the most sense and add them to your to-do list. To get the most out of your marketing, you can monitor your success with Google Analytics. 

Focus on your customers 

Making sure that your customers are happy is a great way to scale your business. 

To learn what your people want or need, be sure to have discussions with customers or potential customers. Find out what benefits your products or services provide from their perspective. 

Work hard to create a customer-centric culture. 

Get the help you need

As you’re developing your new business, reach out to SCORE to connect with a mentor. SCORE mentors can guide you and provide feedback. With expertise in all aspects of starting and growing a small business, SCORE mentoring is a valuable (and free) resource that can help you succeed.

WA State Biz Fair Is Going Virtual 202

This year the event is VIRTUAL for the first time!

Join hundreds of experts and thousands of small business owners and managers from home – or anywhere.

MEET with mentors, advisors, trainers, educators, fellow small business owners, and entrepreneurs. 

LEARN from savvy business experts who will share their knowledge and real-life experiences. 

CONNECT with federal, state and local government agencies to find out about starting a business or contract opportunities. 

FIND OUT how non-profit organizations can help you with funding, legal support, and more. 

NETWORK with Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Authorities and statewide Business Associations. 

CHECK OUT the Digital Marketplace for products and services to help you do business.

NO COST TO ATTEND! – NONE – NADA – ZIP

For more information go to www.bizfair.org        Questions? Email info@bizfair.org

 If you would like to register to attend the 24th Annual
Washington State Small Business Fair, use this link. Register Here

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:

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The Megaphone of Main Street: Startups, Fall 2019

The first year of operations is a critical time for any small business, with decisions made about market focus, finding financing and hiring a team that will have a significant impact on the business’s success or failure in the future.

SCORE’s fall 2019 “Megaphone of Main Street” data report focuses on the challenges facing startups, which are companies in operation for less than one year.

This latest installment of the Megaphone of Main Street is the fourth in a data report series that presents a snapshot of the current American small business landscape. This particular report delves into the world of startup entrepreneurship, sourcing both qualitative and quantitative data directly from a diverse group of roughly 1,000 startup small business owners across the nation. Continue reading

The 3 Pillars of Business Value

by Kelly Deis of SoundPoint Consulting

Most business owners focus on increasing profit margins as the primary means of improving the value of their business. Profitability is absolutely important, but it is not the only factor to consider.

In fact, there are three components which can increase – or decrease, the value of a business: risk, profitability and growth.

Take for example a recent client. We determined the valuation of the business to be about $1 million.

We then illustrated that if they were able to incrementally decrease risk, improve profitability and accelerate growth, they would be able to realize as much as $300,000, or 30% of additional value.
  • Decrease risk (discount rate) 2 pts: +$80,000
  • Increase profitability 10%: +$100,000
  • Increase annual growth 2 pts per year: +$120,000

Now, will this client be able to realize the full $300,000 in incremental value? It really depends on the timeframe and level of effort that they want to put into improvements. It is a good idea to identify the range of opportunities and then prioritize activities.

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Your Business Roundtable

Kitsap SCORE and local Chambers of Commerce are working to develop a series of roundtable discussions for people who want to solve problems, find opportunities, and grow their businesses. Please share your answers to four simple questions and help us pick the best time to meet and choose topics for conversations.

Writing Content for Your Website

by Susan Shoemaker, Principal-Project Manager, Peninsula Web Design

The single most common challenge for creating a website is writing good content. Why is this an issue? We encounter this speed bump with almost every website project.

The written content of your website impacts the performance of your website. This is how both the search engines and users find you, and determine if you have what they want. For your website to produce results for your business it first has to be found, and then it must connect with the user, in order for that person to be inspired to reach out to you.

Writing content for a website takes effort.

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Your first step toward business growth: a SWOT Analysis.

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.

SWOT strengths weaknesses opportunities threatsChoosing 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