DOWN TO BUSINESS
A look at small business questions from the Southwestern Oregon Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
By Arlene M. Soto CMA, CGBP, Southwestern SBDC Director
I can’t find a job, should I start a business?
Starting a business is one of the options available as long as you have the resources and skills to be successful. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offices in Oregon offer help to startup businesses including classes, startup information and online tools. To find out more about the available resources and when the next classes will be held, go to www.BizCenter.org.
Starting a business typically requires financial capital. The majority of startup capital is obtained through personal savings, a second mortgage on your home, family and friends. It may be possible to borrow some funds from a bank if you have at least 20%-50% invested in the business yourself, you have a good credit rating, you can show repayment ability, you have a good business plan and you have collateral to support the loan. Talk with the SBDC personnel in your area to get help preparing a business plan and to find the right funding for your business. Two additional options to look into are the Self Employment Assistance (SEA) program through the Oregon Department of Employment http://www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/ES/SEEKER/pages/self_employment_assistance.aspx and Dreamsavers through Umpqua CDC at http://www.nwumpqua.org.
You will need a product or service, with market potential that is large enough to support the business operations and your personal needs. Look at your hobbies, training, prior work experience and overall skills for ideas. Talk with potential customers to find out if they would be willing to buy what you are offering at a price that is profitable. Look at how many competitors you have in the area. Will your estimated sales be enough to cover business expenses, your personal wage and a profit to help build the business? Check the training options available through your local community college. Many, including Southwestern Oregon Community College, offer degree and certificate programs specifically in business management and entrepreneurship.
Talk over the idea of starting a business with your family. They need to understand business can take a lot of hours and you may not make much money at first. Keeping the lines of communication open can help avoid problems in the future.
These are just a few of the things you will need to consider before starting a business. The SBDC training programs are low cost and the advising services are free and confidential. SBDC counselors are trained to help you look at options and issues in operating a successful business. Call the local SBDC office to get the help you need to succeed.
The SBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Oregon Small Business Development Center Network, the Oregon Business Development Department and Southwestern Oregon Community College. Arlene M. Soto has been the Director of the Southwestern Small Business Development Center since July 2007. To ask a question call 541-756-6445, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or write 2455 Maple Leaf, North Bend, OR 97459. Additional help is available at the OSBDCN Web page www.bizcenter.org.