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This is one of the most common questions new clients ask me.
“You’ve heard so many business ideas. Do I have a good idea for a business?”
There’s a simple answer. You have a good business idea if:
1. You think you can do what your competition does and do it 95% percent better.
1. I know I can make cupcakes better than 95% percent of the bakeries in my demographic area.
Forget about those business ideas of “being your own boss” or “making money” or “making your own hours.” You’ll quickly find out that’s nonsense.
Small business is usually a tough way to make a living.
However, if you love what you’ll be doing in your business and you’ve researched your competition and your customers, you have a good chance of succeeding.
One more thing. If any “expert” tells you that you don’t belong in business and you’re absolutely certain they’re wrong, you could be the type of owner who makes a small business succeed.
In one form or another, this is usually the first question that I’m asked by potential small business owners. Where can I find the money for business expenses? Unfortunately, in this economy, your options are limited.
However, you do have options.
Recently banks are beginning to open their pockets for money for business startups.
Many potential business owners start their quest for start-up capital at larger banks. They believe larger banks have more cash on hand and are more likely to make loans.
I suggest potential business owners go to smaller banks. I’ve found it’s much easier to establish a personal relationship with managers of smaller banks such as Northfield Bank. These smaller banks are just as hungry for your business as you are for customers. Often these banks have an SBA facilitator on hand to help you with Small Business Administration Loan paperwork. Make an appointment with eCurtain Media to learn how to prepare to speak with a bank loan officer.
I’ve heard many experts say that a good place to look for money for business is to ask for a loan from your friends or family. This method has several potential pitfalls. First, you must make sure that any family or friend investor understands that it is your business and they can have little or no say about the day-to-day operation of the business once they’ve provided you with the cash. Also, you must show your family or friends that your business concept has an excellent chance of success (See how to write a business plan). Family and friends (unless your mother loves you so much she’ll simply give you her cash as a gift) should expect to get their money back with a reasonable return on their investment.
Small business owners can more easily get money for business in the form of “micro loans.” Micro loans range in the vicinity of $5,000.00 to $50,000.00. Realistically, in this economy, you’re probably looking at a $5,000.00 loan. However, that can be a excellent start if you just need a computer, a fax machine, and some other office equipment.
If you’re a minority or a woman, you have more options (in the form of grants). However, get ready to fill out a pile of forms.
This is just an overview. It’s such an important topic I’ll write more about it in the very near future.
I could list several websites where grants are available. However I’d rather offer this advice. Find a great simple tutorial on how to use Google and then study it. The vast majority of web users have no idea how to use Google effectively. This is a small business requisite. You put yourself way ahead of the competition when you can effectively research loans, grants, your competition, your demographics, and so much more.
In the meantime, let me close with this invaluable piece of advice: Never Joke About Money In Any Business Situation.
In business, no one finds jokes about money funny and it can cost you.
Recently, I heard this true story. A small business owner was closing on a loan from a bank. This was money for business that was crucial to the owner.
Minutes before signing a $60,000.00 loan agreement, the bank officer asked, “Are you sure this is going to be enough to cover your expenses?”
The business owner joked, “Well, $80,000.00 would be much nicer.”
Believing the business owner did not have a real handle on what he was planning to spend, the bank officer cancelled the loan.
A Message From John Heartfield, eCurtain Media’s Director
John Specializes In Small Business Ideas & Answers.