Many new entrepreneurs are confident in the product or service they want to bring to the market, and they are confident they have the industry expertise and customer focus it takes to drive their business idea. Yet, navigating the process of starting a business gives them pause.
The business planning, financial decisions and legal actions can seem daunting to a new small business owner, and at the University of Kentucky Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Elizabethtown, we often find our clients simply aren’t sure how to get started. We are here to guide new business owners through the process, and we want them to start smart.
That’s why we offer Smart Start: Business Basics, a free monthly workshop specifically designed for those who are considering starting a small business.
The next workshop is from 5-7 p.m. April 7 at the Hardin County Public Library at 100 Jim Owen Drive in Elizabethtown. To register, visit ksbdc.org/elizabethtown and click “view upcoming workshops.”
This comprehensive workshop covers the how-tos of starting a business. The topics include the business plan, financing and licensing and permitting, just to name a few.
Entrepreneurs can’t overestimate the value of a well-developed business plan. This narrative pulls together all the elements of starting and maintaining a successful business. It tells your story to funders and other stakeholders. It also serves as a roadmap for the business owner because in developing a strong business plan, you’re thinking through the strengths and weaknesses of your team’s skills and expertise, completing a market analysis and determining financial projections.
Additionally, a marketing plan may be a part of the business plan or it may be developed as a stand-alone plan. This plan addresses how you will price, distribute and promote your product or service.
Financing is a key need for new business owners. In most cases, they must approach a bank for a business loan, and the banker will require you to illustrate your knowledge of the business, the competition, the potential for sales and the cost of doing business – all elements of your business plan.
At SBDC, we’ve helped countless small business owners discover and understand their financing options, whether it’s a loan, a grant or an angel investor or venture capitalist. Our clients often are surprised by the multiple Small Business Administration (SBA) programs designed to meet new small business needs.
Another area new business owners must explore concerns state and local government entities. For starters, business owners should register with their local governments for tax purposes and ensure they understand applicable zoning regulations. Also, onestop.ky.gov offers state business registration and information to determine what licensing and permitting requirements, if any, apply to your business.
From determining the legal structure of your business to registering a trademark to hiring employees, there’s plenty of unfamiliar territory for a new business owner to cover. The beginning can be stressful, but it’s also an exciting and deeply rewarding time. And as many business owners will tell you, a strong start is key to long-term success.
I encourage anyone interested in starting a new business to join us at Smart Start: Business Basics.
For more information, contact the SBDC in Elizabethtown, which serves Breckinridge, Grayson, Green, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson, Taylor and Washington counties.
Patricia Krausman is director of the University of Kentucky Small Business Development Center in Elizabethtown and is a member of the Lincoln Trail Workforce Development Board. She can be reached at 270-765-6737 or firstname.lastname@example.org.