Starting a business can be challenging in any environment. Toss in a pandemic with mandatory quarantine and it gets almost overwhelming. Even though you cannot meet face-to-face with SCORE mentors at the moment, SCORE has a series of webinars that will get you off to a great start on your own. This 5-segment series will walk you through starting up a business from evaluating your business concept to various funding sources.
To view the videos go to https://www.score.org/event/simple-stepsstarting-your-businessmodule-1-startup-basics.(The body of module 1 contains links to each of the other modules.) Click on view the course to view module 1. This module will introduce you to key business considerations, such as the myths and realities of entrepreneurship, different business options to pursue, the components of business ownership, legal and financial considerations, and the business plan basics. Think of it as Business 101.
The second module assists with defining your business concept. This is where you will begin writing your business plan, including a market analysis, and create a chart comparing your concept with existing competition. This step will show you how to evaluate your business idea so you can decide whether to proceed, or go back to further refine your business concept.
Module 3 assists with creating a marketing plan, including drafting your marketing message, planning your marketing budget, writing a product description, defining your customer and target market and conducting a market comparison. You w ill complete a competitive comparison, create a product and services description, develop a pricing strategy, identify your target markets and channels, outline a marketing message and learn sales basics.
In module 4 you will learn how to build your financial model, and how to understand financial statements, including an income statement, cash flow statement and balance sheet.
Module 5 looks at potential funding sources, sources of capital, credit, banking relations and financial statement analysis. You will learn about accounting and bookkeeping systems, the six C’s of credit, and banking relations. You will also conduct a financial statement analysis and determine the next steps on your path to starting a business.
Each module contains printable “resources” to assist you in the planning process as your business plan develops. Additionally, there are links to website resources. In each module, click on the resources tab in the upper right-hand corner of the display block (below the logos). The script from each model is also available.
You can access the link to the SCORE publication “Simple Steps for Starting Your Business”, which is a workbook that walks you through the business of starting a business. This publication can also be acquired from your local SCORE chapter.
Each interactive module takes less than an hour to complete. You already know that planning is the key to success. This small investment of time will pay big dividends for you and your new business. If you get stuck in the process, until the stay-at-home order is lifted, SCORE mentors are available by Zoom or telephone conference call. SCORE is here to assist entrepreneurs as they go about starting their fledgling business, as well as lend assistance for expansion, winding down, and everything in between. The SCORE website (https://www.score.org) has a wealth of resources available for you. Give it a click!