Help for entrepreneurs starting a small business -

Tips for starting a small business

Walt Disney and Bill Gates didn't become moguls by making someone else money. Instead, they turned their ideas into empires by starting their own businesses.

Going it alone can be risky, and so can keeping a business going. However, there are free resources available that can help a small business owner succeed in their community.

To open a business, experts say you should start by first uncorking your creativity.

For Heather Barbour and her best friend, Sarah Grant, their business started after they took a painting class at a franchise business called Wine and Design. 

Both women put their faith and future into buying a part of the business and establishing a shop of their own.

"We love what we do now, but it never ends," Grant said. 

They provide paintbrushes, canvases, corkscrews, and an instructor. The business allows customers who enjoy art and wine, to walk out with a homemade masterpiece.

Since other similar businesses were already operating in their area, Barbour and Grant were anxious to quickly get their business up and running.  

As a result, the two set sail through the choppy waters of a start-up without a written business plan which is something two experienced executives say should be the foundation for any new enterprise and something they help new business owners create.

To advise these budding entrepreneurs, America Now introduced Grant and Barbour to George McAllister who runs the Small Business Technology Center, and Jim Mortimer who operates SCORE.

"It's not about 'I wanna make millions of dollars'--it's a passion. That's what has to start," advises McAllister.

In addition to having a passion about your business, you also need write down what you hope to accomplish with your business. 

"It's like a battle plan," Mortimer adds. "You have a business, you have a battle plan."

The services offered by the Small Business Technology Center and SCORE are free and confidential.  

Grant and Barbour have also had a strong start thanks to another free support system they tapped into like the other small businesses they could see right outside their window.

"Those people are in the trenches doing it already, so you should definitely rely on those people," Barbour advised.

Other business owners helped this team of two uncork already established advertising and marketing avenues.

Starting and owning a business takes a lot of work. Just like painting, running a business requires practice and patience before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Knowing there are free tools within reach to help you paint over any imperfections in your business plan, is something every painter and proprietor can toast to.

The entrepreneurship center at your local university or community college is another great resource for small business owners. 

Both McAllister and Mortimer agree, the more eyes reviewing your idea, the better. They give the owner different points of view, all in an effort to create a business that's nothing short of, a work of art. 

Additional Information:

  • Small businesses are responsible for more than half of innovations developed during the 20th century including the zipper, the helicopter, the personal computer, and important advances in the medical world such as insulin, the artificial heart valve, and the pacemaker. (Source: National Telecommunications and Information Administration)
  • Small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms. (Source: Small Business Administration)
  • Small businesses employ just over half of all private-sector employees. (Source: Small Business Administration)
  • Small businesses pay 44 percent of the total U.S. private payroll. (Source: Small Business Administration)
  • The U.S. ranks fourth globally in "ease of doing business". (Source: Intuit Small Business)
  • Sixty-nine percent of businesses survive two years, and 31 percent survive seven years. (Source: Intuit Small Business)

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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