TIGER Talk Recap: Business Plan – The Tool That Drives Your Business
If you think you want to be a business owner, or have a great idea for a product or service, the desire and the idea alone are not enough. There are many questions to consider and decisions to make when starting a business, and every successful one starts with a plan.
Jerome Jones, certified business advisor at The Ohio Small Business Development Center at Columbus State Community College, can lead you in the right direction. He presented, “Business Plan: The Tool That Drives Your Business” to a group of entrepreneurs at Innovate New Albany’s TIGER Talk luncheon meeting on October 28. TIGER Talks are offered free of charge throughout the month, and educate business owners on the topics of Technology, Innovation, Growth, Entrepreneurship and Responsibility.
If you are interested in starting a business, Jerome recommends asking yourself the following questions:
1. Why do you want to go into business?
Being a business owner can be exhilarating and terrifying all at once. Is this something you’ve always dreamed of doing? Or do you fall into one of the following scenarios:
The forced entrepreneur. This is the individual who gets laid off from his/her full time job, and decides to go into business for him/herself.
The reluctant entrepreneur. This person maintains the security of a full-time position, but gets his/her feet wet by starting a business on the side. He/she ends up liking it more than the full time job.
2. Can you motivate yourself to go to work when you are not feeling well or when things aren’t going as planned?
You won’t have a boss to tell you what to do, so you need to motivate yourself. You must be prepared to work as long as it takes to get the job done. You’ll be on-call 24-7, and may not have vacation or sick time. You need to be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to get your business off the ground, even when you’re not feeling your best.
3. Do you possess the skills or industry knowledge?
You shouldn’t open a restaurant if you don’t know anything about cooking. You will need to be well versed in all aspects of your business, including sales, marketing, buying, budgeting, cost control, production, finance, etc. You can learn some things as you go, but if you don’t possess certain skills, you may have to invest in someone who does, or form an advisory board. An advisory board can be composed of an accountant, a trusted confidant, or seasoned business owners. They don’t necessarily need to be in your line of business, but they’ve likely faced obstacles you haven’t, and could provide valuable insight.
4. Do you have a financial plan, and have you saved your money?
Determine how much money you will need, and how much it takes to run your household. Do you make enough to cover those expenses and fund a business venture? You will need a minimum of 15-20 percent of your own cash to invest. You must be able to pay both your personal and business debts and obligations.
5. Do you have a plan?
You will need to create a business plan. You won’t succeed without one. It’s your road map to success, and will help you be as prepared as possible. Jerome recommends using Live Plan, a cloud-based business plan tool.
The Small Business Development Center at Columbus State is an experienced and award winning team that provides no cost, one-on-one business management advice and support for new business owners. To learn more about the SBDC and how they can help, contact Jerome Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at www.SBDCColumbus.com.
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