In this economy it’s not easy to find a job, but starting your own business could be even tougher — unless you receive advice.
Oh sure, you can take advice from your Uncle Mort on how he used to have his own Amway business back in the 80s, but that might not be what you need to open a business — and keep it open.
If you have an idea you think might be the next facebook, or you make the best cupcakes or burritos and wonder if you could open a store, you need counsel from people who have made it. Since Donald Trump seems to be busy, try SCORE San Diego — mentors to America’s small businesses.
These are the guys who did it right and now want to share their stories — good and bad — with you.
“I want to buy a truck and sell gourmet chili and take it on the road,” said Chelsea Browne of San Diego. “My parents thought I was nuts, but my mentor at SCORE helped me write a business plan and get a loan. I’m going for it!”
The people at SCORE San Diego are current and retired businessmen and businesswomen who volunteer their expertise to small business entrepreneurs and new business startups.
Here are their five most important tips for those interested in starting a business:
“First, be objective: Critically evaluate whether you have the personal traits and professional experience to be an entrepreneur. Are you a self-starter? You must be resourceful and organized, be able to multitask, and have passion and energy as you will work long hours as a small business owner.
“Do you have an understanding of and experience in the business you want to start? What is the viability of your concept and do you have a full understanding of the business, including operations and controls?
“Is the business practical? You should dream about the potential of your business, but be practical about cash requirements, competitive advantage, hiring, and your income.
“Second, write a thorough and realistic business plan: You must define your competitive advantage and evaluate the competition, have a thorough marketing plan, and be realistic about financial numbers.
“Third, adopt the customer’s perspective: It’s not what’s important to you — it’s what’s important to your potential and current customers that will make the difference.
“Fourth, get online. Understand that to flourish, you will need to be online, and you may have to be active in social media to market and grow your business. Be prepared to set aside time to learn and engage with customers online.
“Fifth, don’t waste time — ask for help. Seek help during initial planning and budgeting processes to avoid wasting valuable time and money down the road — in many cases, when it’s too late. Go to people you trust for objective advice and form a board of advisors. Check out SCORE San Diego’s low-cost small business workshops and meet with SCORE San Diego’s mentors for free, one-on-one counseling.”
Call 619-557-7272 or visit score-sandiego.org to learn what SCORE San Diego can do for you.