Did you know there are more than 30 million small businesses in the United States? Here’s another amazing stat: small businesses created 65 percent of all new jobs since 2010.
Behind those numbers are entrepreneurs who pursued their dreams of business ownership and turned them into a reality -- strengthening communities and America’s economy. During National Entrepreneurship Month this November, we’re celebrating the hardworking, creative and driven women and men who took the plunge into small business ownership.
Are you looking to join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs nationwide, but aren’t sure where to begin? Here are five ways to jumpstart your small business:
- Conduct market research.
If you have an idea for a business but aren’t sure if it is feasible, doing your due diligence first will help you hit the ground running. Market research can help you determine if there is a need for your product, service or idea, and learn about your potential customers. This analysis can provide information about the demand for your product, who your competitors are, and a viable price point.
- Write your business plan.
Like the foundation of a house, a solid business plan grounds and guides your entrepreneurial journey. Through each stage of starting and managing your venture, your plan is the roadmap for structuring, running and growing your business. You will have the opportunity to identify and analyze strengths and weaknesses while drafting your plan. This is your opportunity to think through your business strategy and set yourself up for success. Creating your plan can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. SBA’s practical tips for writing a business plan can help you get started.
- Figure out your finances.
Building a business requires more than a proven idea and well-drafted plan. Once your research is complete and your plan is written, it’s time to assess your finances and the next steps to funding your business. Organize your startup costs and expenses and use this checklist to calculate an estimate of the funds needed for your business. Once you have this estimate, you can make informed decisions about what you need and how to get it — whether it’s through bootstrapping, crowdfunding or a small business loan. SBA will work with you to prepare for the loan application process, and the Lender Match tool can connect you with SBA-approved lenders.
- Find a mentor.
For a new entrepreneur, finding a mentor to help navigate the murky waters of starting a business may provide some clarity. SCORE, an SBA resource partner, provides free mentoring services and connects you with experts that will help guide you down the road of small business ownership and success. According to SCORE, business owners who receive three or more hours of mentoring report higher revenues and increased growth. Find a SCORE mentor near you.
- Use free resources.
SCORE isn’t the only SBA resource partner that provides free services. Through SBA’s local assistance tool, you can connect with Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers or Veterans Business Outreach Centers in your area. Entrepreneurship is a tough but rewarding experience and SBA is here to help every step of the way. Get started today!