Starting a Business
Starting a Business
Planning and Starting a Business:
A Three Phase Process
1. Plan, Plan, Plan!
This may seem obvious, but planning is the most important thing you can invest in before you jump into your business venture. Planning is cheap, action is expensive – and the choices you make as you plan have the potential to save you and your business hundreds or thousands of dollars. Often, the hardest part of planning is keeping your emotions in check – the excitement of getting a jump start on your dream can cause you to act before you plan.
It is also important to know your strategy; it will drive every aspect of your business. Are you going to be different from the competition? How are you going to be different? Are you going to be innovative in product and service? Being innovative or different will allow you to avoid price competition. Are you going to offer a commodity? Being a commodity will force you to compete on price and will require continuous cost reduction.
And in this planning process, don’t forget to evaluate yourself and your business partners: What do you like to do? What is it in business that you don’t like to do? Your tendency will be to work on those things you like and neglect those tasks you don’t like. Stumbles or failures will result from overlooking or putting to the back-burner those things you don’t like. It’s just human nature, but it is important to have a plan for what you will do to counteract those tendencies. Owning a small business is often a 24/7 venture – are you ready?!
Here are some resources that will assist you in your planning process:
These documents are available at www.missouribusiness.org under the Business Resource Library Tab
o Evaluate Your Business Idea
o Feasibility Checklist
o How to Research a Business Opportunity
o Business Plan
o The Business Plan
o Legal structures
o Financial Projection Worksheet
o And, many more resources
· Be sure to work with your local SBTDC Counselor in City Hall.
2. Execute Your Plan!
Once you have a strong plan in place, it is time to move to the next level. Take the framework of the plan you created and put it into action steps.
Build a team with which you can be comfortable and that you trust. Get help with the areas that are likely to provide your biggest challenges. You are more likely to succeed with some level of expert assistance. Not all of these people need to be on your payroll – there are a number of free or low cost small business assistance services in Missouri. Links to some of these are below: These documents or tools are available at www.missouribusiness.org under the Business Resource Library Tab
- Loan Checklist
- Missouri Business Portal (www.business.mo.gov) --Single point of entry for business registration, filings, licenses, and permits for doing business in the State of Missouri
- Industry Specific Business Guides (search for at www.missouribusiness.net)
- www.irs.gov –Has a useful keeping the books reference
- Talk to your SBTDC Counselor about sources of financing
Once the first two steps are complete and fully developed, you are ready to launch your business! Two points to keep in mind:
1. Always keep an “ace in the hole” – in other words, don’t use all of your resources at first (financial or otherwise), keep some in reserve. There will be unforeseen issues down the road.
2. Stick to your plan – don’t deviate from it unless it is an opportunity to make an improvement, or the numbers indicate adjustments are needed.
Here are some resources for the “next level” of business planning and operation:
- Your Business Plan—don’t put it in a drawer—you have set a lot of goals—monitoring your plan against those goals and making adjustments as needed will enhance your success.
- The Chillicothe Area Chamber of Commerce—Join, be active, network, and learn from the other members.
- Main Street Chillicothe—Join, be active, network, and learn from the other members.
- SBTDC Counselor in City Hall, they are your ongoing business advisor.
- Check www.missouribusiness.net for training in the area to enhance your management, marketing, finance, operational, and entrepreneurial skills.
Northwest Missouri State University Small Business and Technology Development Center – - 660-646-6590
The office of this regional service available to all business owners and potential owners is in the Chillicothe City Hall and helps a large number of businesses grow and thrive each year.
Chillicothe Municipal Utilities 660-646-1664
Farmers’ Electric Cooperative 660-646-4281
Liberty Utilities 800-424-0427
Main Street Chillicothe 660-646-4071
Our award-winning downtown organization provides support for businesses wishing to establish or move a business in the downtown district. This organization keeps an inventory of available buildings for both service and retail businesses, as well as residential apartments in the downtown district.
City of Chillicothe 660-646-2424
Livingston County Commission 660-646-8000