How Do You Decide?
The Library Can Help
If you are a business owner or manager, you are faced with a never-ending deluge of decisions every day. Many are relatively routine operational choices that can be resolved or delegated quickly. Others are more strategic with potentially serious and long-lasting consequences. For these types of decisions, read more about some useful steps.
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Which Legal Structure Is Best for My Business?
This is one of the most important questions to answer when planning a new small business start-up. The structure you choose will affect everything from paying taxes to assigning liability, from raising capital to sharing profits. Each type of structure has trade-offs that should be fully understood and reviewed with legal and tax professionals.
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Business Manager? Plan to Take Care of Yourself
Business Manager ranks number seven on the list of the top ten most stressful jobs compiled by CNBC. Taking care of your health with regular checkups plus a sensible diet and exercise program is important for you, your family and your business. Think you are fit?
HERE IS A QUICK WAY TO CHECK
Prepared For A 100 Year Life? Your Children Should Be.
One of the ongoing challenges of managing a business is to be aware of various trends and the long-term implications they have for your business. One trend that is not very visible is increasing life expectancy. How long are you or your children likely to live? A deeper investigation of the numbers provided in The 100 Year Life by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott shows that since 1840 life expectancy has been increasing three months every year.
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Want To Be An Entrepreneur? SCORE Can Help!
An Entrepreneur is a person “who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” Small business is risky. The United States Small Business Administration’s (SBA) records show 20% fail in their first year, 30% fail in two years and 50% fail withing five years. SCORE can help you manage this risk....
SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is a part of the SBA with 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters nationwide that provide confidential, unlimited, free business counseling and mentoring services to entrepreneurs starting or growing a small business. The Berks Schuylkill Chapter in Reading was started in 1965 and has 35 business owners and executives dedicated to helping small business get started and grow. Last year they provided over 400 individual mentoring sessions.
SCORE mentors understand the needs and challenges of managing a business because they have done it themselves. By sharing their “been there, done that” know-how can help you achieve your goals. There is an old saying “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” I am convinced a written business plan is an essential for improved business success. SBA records show that businesses with a written plan grow 30% faster than those that do not have a plan. The following steps will greatly improve your odds for success:
1. Determine your target market and audience and investigate your competition. Your business will not interest everyone. Think through which groups will benefit most from your proposed product and services. A data base like http://resource.referenceusa.com/ has a huge amount of information that can searched in great detail. All you need is a library card from The Free Library of Philadelphia to gain access. https://libwww.freelibrary.org/blog/post/2282
2. Develop a network of contacts that with people that might help you in your business. The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance can be a big help. https://greaterreading.org/
3. Make sure you have the appropriate professional advice. Use the check list BLAIME to make sure you have not overlooked a key area. B is banker, L is lawyer, A is accountant, I is insurance, M is mentor and E is E-commerce. It is essential that you conform to local laws and regulations and keep the required records, particularly for tax purposes.
4. Determine how you will obtain the required capital. Will it be savings, friends and family, other investors, or bank loans.
5. Develop a comprehensive business plan and write it down. There are numerous sites on line to provide templates and guidance including https://www.score.org/search/site/business%20plans If you need to borrow money or attract investors, a complete plan including financial projections is essential.
If you would like to check on how strong your entrepreneurial ambitions are, here is a link to a short quiz that will give you some insight.
If you would like a confidential review of your situation and some assistance developing a business plan you can schedule a meeting with a local mentor at https://www.score.org/# or you may call SCORE at 610-376-3497 in Reading, 610-327-2673 in Pottstown, or 717-397-3092 in Lancaster to speak with a volunteer.
www.thepeoplechronicles.com/non-profits/score-best-kept-secrets/ - SCORE The Best Kept Secret Podcast Series
www.sba.gov - U.S. Small Business Administration,vast amounts of information; detailed information on developing business plans; on-line library, business loans
www.irs.gov/smallbiz - Internal Revenue Service - Forms, Tax Help
www.copyright.gov/help/faq/ - Copyright information
www.frannet.com - Franchising information and guidance
www.berkschamber.org - Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry
www.northeastberkschamber.com - Northeast Berks Chamber of Commerce
www.readingpa.com - Greater Berks Development Fund
www.newpa.com/webfm_send/1439 - Entrepreneur's Guide - Starting and Growing a Business in Pennsylvania
www.paopen4business.state.pa.us - PA state forms, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)on business startups
www.benfranklin.org - Ben Franklin Technology Partners
www.penntap.psu.edu - Penn State Technical Assistance Program
www.cch.com - Business Owners Information Toolkit
www.startupjournal.com - Wall Street Journal Center for Entrepreneurs
www.mycorporation.com - Incorporation Information
www.inc.com - Inc. Magazine Business Information
www.nolo.com - Commercial site selling legal information;good library for free business information
www.morebusiness.com - Templates and samples of business, marketing, and advertising plans
www.benchmarkindex.com - Provides benchmarking to other businesses
www.welcomebiz.com - Extensive resource starting-up a business
www.bizplanit.com/free/software.html - Business plan resources
www.business-plan.com - Listing of business seminars; workshops; books; software
www.bizstats.com - Operational and financial performance data and metrics
www.bplans.com - Several business plans for personal services, restaurants, distributor, etc.
www.morebusiness.com - Samples of business plans, marketing plans, contracts