Rural Entrepreneurs

Before you launch into your own business, there are dozens of details to be considered - from the momentous to the almost (but not quite) trivial.  Here is a checklist covering many items you need to take care of.

Preliminary Research

  • assess your strengths and weaknesses
  • establish business and personal goals
  • assess your financial resources
  • identify the financial risks
  • determine the start-up costs
  • decide on your business location
  • do market research
  • identify your customers
  • develop a marketing plan

Business Transactions

  • select a lawyer
  • decide on business organization-proprietorship, partnership, corporation
  • create your business-register your name, get incorporated
  • select an accountant
  • prepare a business plan
  • get financing
  • establish a line of credit
  • select an insurance agent
  • obtain business insurance

First Steps

  • design and order business cards
  • obtain a lease
  • get furniture and equipment
  • review local building codes
  • obtain a license or permit (if applicable)
  • send off for federal and state tax forms
  • apply for Employer Identification number (if applicable)
  • join a professional organization
  • line up suppliers if needed
  • set a starting date

 Business Plan

The most important reason to do a Business Plan is for you to become convinced that you can turn your idea or dream into a real functioning business. Until you have satisfied yourself that your plan "makes sense", you shouldn't even think of trying to sell anyone else. Once you're convinced you can make your idea work then you can show it to lenders and prospective investors. A Business Plan is not a "one-time" document just for obtaining investors or financing. You should consider it to be a "living document" which you will update and upgrade from time to time as information and circumstances change and as appropriate as you thus make changes in your business.

A Business Plan/Financial Plan is an absolute necessity in applying for a loan for a start-up business and is highly recommended in applying for a loan for an existing business.

How do you do it? It's not easy. And it's unlikely you can just sit down and produce a good plan in one sitting because a lot of trial and error and testing of ideas is involved. It will most likely evolve over a period of time.

How? Think about your business idea often and ask yourself these questions about every aspect of it. Who?, what?, where?, when?, why?, how?, how much?, how many?, how often? Write down the answers. Look for "holes". It's easy to list all kinds of ideas. Do you have the knowledge and resources to carry them out cost effectively? Are you "double counting" your resources, counting on them to do two different things at the same time?

Why do you want to pursue a particular part of your plan? Who will carry it out? When? Where? How much will it cost? How many sales will each marketing campaign generate? How does the cost to acquire a prospect, make a sale, or provide the product or service compare to your product or service pricing parameters?

Visualize some "typical days". What is being done? Why ? Who is doing it? Ask and answer these questions over and over until you are convinced you know how your business will function day-to-day. Now capture this knowledge in your plan and show how it will work financially. Make changes in your plan until you have a plan where all the elements fit together and work from a marketing, operational, and financial perspective.

There is no single prescribed format for a Business Plan. However, we believe many of you will find the format shown below to be helpful. You should feel free to adjust it to your unique circumstances.

A SCORE Counselor will be glad to assist you by reviewing your business plan draft(s) and giving you constructive comments. This can be accomplished in face to face meetings or by exchanging emails of sections of the plan as you write them. Use of a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Works is recommended.

 

A well-researched and realistic business plan will help you create a viable new business with a feasible business model and business strategy for future growth.

You, the franchisee, have supported this system with your royalties and initial purchase price and it now will be one of your biggest assets as you decide to grow your business.

Betty Otte, SCORE Counselor

You, the franchisee, have supported this system with your royalties and initial purchase price and it now will be one of your biggest assets as you decide to grow your business.  

Since the systems for the franchise are already in place, your biggest concerns as you grow your business are:

  • Finances –having sufficient capital and resources

  • Location – for many businesses, location is critical.

If you are thinking about purchasing a franchise, keep the following 5 tips in mind.

Betty Otte, SCORE Counselor

If you are thinking about purchasing a franchise, keep the following 5 tips in mind.

SCORE to Launch New e-Business Learning Website for Small Business

Date
Tue, 2011-03-22 23:02

Consortium of Public and Private Organizations

In Helping Entrepreneurs Leverage Technology to Fuel Their Growth and Success

 

Urban Solace

Urban Solace restaurant, located in North Park, is the first independent venture for partners Matt Gordon and Scott Watkins, who have 40 years of combined restaurant experience. Their restaurant serves delicious comfort food at neighborhood-restaurant prices, and it has exceeded revenue goals by 58 percent since opening in 2007. Urban Solace is also a critic's favorite, having received 13 food and restaurant awards in 2008 for such dishes as New York Cheddar Mac n' Cheese with caramelized bacon and charred tomatoes, and char-grilled prime Omaha hanger steak with homemade steak sauce and sweet potato mash.

Success was immediate at the North Park location, and he has since opened two additional “Solace” restaurants to accolades; Solace & the Moonlight Lounge in Encinitas, and Sea & Smoke at Flower Hill Promenade, Del Mar.

Best known for his American comfort foods, served with health and sustainable ethics in mind, Gordon's newest restaurant, Sea & Smoke, an American restaurant, explores the flavors of the wood-fired oven, a central feature of the space, with a modern interpretation of an American menu.

See video
Owner/Founder
Gordon and Watkins
My Location
San Diego CA
United States
My Successes

When preparing to open Urban Solace, partners Gordon and Watkins used SCORE San Diego's free business consulting for financial advice and business plan guidance.  
 
"SCORE San Diego helped us with numerous aspects of opening our restaurant by pairing us with a diversity of counselors," said Gordon. "We had a team of consultants who could advise us on a wide range of topics because of their specialized business backgrounds, and there are no restrictions on the number of counseling sessions."  
 
Starting a small business is always tough, and the small business loan application process is especially difficult in the current economy. So, when Gordon and Watkins decided to open a second restaurant, they returned to SCORE San Diego for assistance.

Gordon's personal accolades include "50 People to Watch" by San Diego Magazine in 2011, "40 Under 40" by San Diego Metropolitan Magazine and "Best Chef" by San Diego Downtown News in 2008.

What's Great About My Mentor?

"Due to the current economic crisis, banks have increased their credit requirements and, at the same time, have decreased the number of loans they're approving," said Paul Hollenbach, SCORE San Diego business consultant. "Our business consultants know what information banks require when reviewing a loan application and are able to help small business owners put together a strong business plan and resume that will increase their likelihood of approval."  
 

How SCORE Helped

"We returned to SCORE San Diego for help because restaurants are notoriously risky investments and the help SCORE gave us the first time around was invaluable," said Gordon. "Their connections and knowledge of bank loans helped identify lenders willing to finance a start-up business during a recession."  
 
For more information about Urban Solace, visit www.urbansolace.net or call 619-295-6464. 

Backyard X-Scapes

While setting up national distribution of faux waterscape products more than 6 years ago, Jamie Kocher and Steve Raketich became convinced they could streamline the process by purchasing direct from the factories. As a result, they started Backyard X-Scapes, a landscape retailer/ wholesaler specializing in fountains, pottery, bamboo fencing, bamboo products, thatch palapas, thatch products, artificial turf, artificial rocks and rock waterfalls. 

See video
My Location
San Diego CA
United States
Employees
5
Year Company Formed
2003
My Successes

In need of financial planning and marketing guidance, Kocher and Raketich contacted SCORE San Diego and attended several workshops, including Internet Marketing, Small Business Marketing and Business Plan 101: How to Develop Your Competitive Advantage. The Internet Marketing workshops proved especially beneficial as the Backyard X-Scapes and their Bamboo and Tikis web sites currently account for more than 25 percent of total sales. To further expand their horizons, Backyard X-Scapes has hired an online marketing team to increase sales and awareness of the Backyard X-Scapes name. 

What's Great About My Mentor?

Kocher and Raketich received financial planning guidance from SCORE San Diego counselor Paul Hollenbach. "Paul explained how important it is to have open lines of credit for future expansion. We supply bamboo fencing, carved tikis, and faux rocks to more than 120 Home Depot stores nationwide, and when The Home Depot wants us to supply more stores, we now have the ability to finance this expansion immediately," said Kocher. "Having great cash flow and this solid line of credit has also allowed us to purchase our products in container load quantities directly from the manufacturer and sell at wholesale prices, which gives us an advantage over any and all competitors. We guarantee the lowest pricing of everything we sell, plain and simple."  
 

How SCORE Helped

Kocher and Raketich continue to use SCORE San Diego's services to stay in touch with the latest developments in the business world. Kocher states "Six months ago, Steve and I handled most aspects of the day-to-day business, but with Paul's guidance, we hired Ray Valdez as controller and general manager to solidify operations for the future. SCORE San Diego has been a great source for information and guidance. I cannot say enough good things about them and how much they have helped us."  
 
Even in the current economy, Backyard X-Scapes continues to prosper, with sales up 27 percent this year. Due to this success, Torrey Pines Bank has nominated Backyard X-Scapes for the Small Business Administration 2009 Small Business of the Year award.  

 

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