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What You Should Know About… Starting a Business
by Joleen Small
March 9, 2023
3 person meeting

Starting a business is no easy task. As fulfilling as it may be to have something you create enter the marketplace, there are a number of steps that should be taken to make sure your business is a success. Before you take the leap into entrepreneurship, make sure you have a few things down.

Know Yourself

First things first, make sure you’re cut out to be in business. This may sound harsh, but the harsh reality is that many people are not prepared for what being a business owner entails. For instance, are you a risk-taker? Are you okay with all the responsibility of a business resting on your shoulders? Are you willing to work 9-9 instead of 9-5? If this doesn’t fit your personality, entrepreneurship may not be the route you want to go. There’s also the issue of finding employees. Would you be able to fire someone if needed? Not everyone can. Figure out if you’d be able to let go of an employee who isn’t working out. As Nina Joan Mattikow, a longtime SCORE Westchester mentor puts it, “Never hire anyone you can’t fire.”

Know Your Industry

Next, you have to know your industry and what potential customers will want. Not doing your homework is one of the biggest mistakes an aspiring entrepreneur can make. “Being in business means having your fingertips on what’s going on out there,” Nina Joan explains. This might mean doing a competitive analysis of businesses similar to yours and finding out what they do that you can appropriate. This isn’t stealing ideas, but it is finding out the best business practices you should use for your small business.

The best way to get first-hand experience in your preferred industry is to get a job in it. Working in the industry with someone who already has years of experience can prove invaluable as you will be able to learn from the ground up and avoid rookie mistakes you’d make by going it alone. It’s also a good idea to find a partner who has the skills that you may lack. This can be an SEO expert who can drive traffic to your website, someone well-versed in marketing, or maybe someone who is better with the financial portion of the business.

Know Your Product

It’s important to know the costs associated with producing and selling your product or service. Don’t think that it’s automatically going to be cheaper to manufacture a product overseas. You must still figure in the cost of shipping, trucking, and delivery into the overall amount. You also have to know at what price you are going to sell your products. Many people think if they just sell a product at a higher price than they bought it for then they have priced the item correctly. This is not true. You have to figure in all of the costs associated with manufacturing and acquiring the product in order to come up with a price that will cover your overhead and still make a profit.


Entrepreneurship can be very fulfilling, but it takes a lot of work and preparation just to begin. Know whether you are prepared to go into business, do your research, and gain as much expertise as possible in your industry, and you’ll have laid the groundwork for success.


About the author
Joleen Small

As part of the marketing and writing team, I help SCORE Westchester raise its profile with articles and written communication that help SCORE clients learn what our organization does to help them start and manage their small businesses.

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White Plains Public Library, 100 Martine Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
(914) 267-6570

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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