8 Tips for Starting Your Own Business in 2021
The thought of launching a business can be daunting — it requires grit, motivation, and determination to turn an idea into a living, breathing, sustainable business. However, we’re here to help you finally take the plunge and develop that business concept you’ve been considering with the assistance of the PA Business One Stop Shop, which can connect you to regional resources like the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). We spoke to Amanda Fink with the Kutztown University SBDC to learn more about what aspiring entrepreneurs should do and consider as they begin their journey to becoming business owners. Read on to learn more about the important planning steps you should take before taking the leap and officially registering and launching your business.
Identify your business’s value proposition.
What will your new business offer? What problem will your business help solve for your customers? How is what you will offer different from existing businesses or competitors? As you think about what your new business will do, make sure to assess if you are ready to commit to the work needed to turn your idea into a profitable business. It takes a lot of innovation and elbow grease to get a new business started. The Kutztown University SBDC offers the PitchThenPlan™ tool, which can guide you through the steps to creating a basic pitch before writing your formal business plan. Ready to write your plan? Check out the free template on the PA Business One-Stop Shop.
Do your research.
Once your value proposition is clear, make sure to investigate both the short-term and long-term opportunities for your business by conducting market research. Who is your competition and what do they do? Who will be your suppliers? Who are your potential customers? Doing your homework before you start your business can help you stay on course, make a strong business plan, and avoid unnecessary surprises. Take time to explore educational workshops, webinars, and trainings – like those offered by the SBDCs.
Establish a support network.
For first-time business owners especially, it’s important to build a team of mentors and advisors to help provide objective guidance and feedback on your business ideas and plans. It’s also important to build connections with your peers in the industry and others in your business community. Check out your local chamber of commerce, SCORE chapter, and SBDC to get involved in events and networking groups.
Write your business plan.
Preparing your business plan is important for defining your business concept and goals and is a critical step to helping you gain access to financing and additional resources for launching your business. The PA Business One-Stop Shop offers guidance about business planning, and you can visit your local SBDC to receive one-on-one counseling and assistance.
Get your finances in order.
Make sure your personal finances are in good standing before attempting to secure financing for your business. Many financial institutions are going to look at your personal credit and savings accounts as part of their application process, so it is important to be prepared. Managing finances, both your personal and business accounts, will be an important part of your new venture. If you need more financial training or education, consider looking for workshops and other learning opportunities and consult with a financial advisor, accountant, or other expert for additional help.
Make it official.
After the planning phase, you’ll be able to take important next steps, like registering your business. You’ll then have to get to work managing your operations, marketing your business, and building your customer base. But with a solid plan in place, your finger on the pulse of your industry, and a clear vision for your business, you’ll be well-prepared and positioned for growth and success.
Avoid burnout by taking it a day at a time.
We like to remind new entrepreneurs that starting a new business can be stressful. Success likely won’t happen overnight, and it’s important that you adopt a long-term mindset for achieving success. This is where your support network comes into play: they’ll be there to provide key guidance and feedback throughout your entrepreneurial growth. Also, make sure that you use sound judgement when it comes to growing your business. It’s ok to say no to opportunities if the timing or fit isn’t right.
You’re never done learning.
Continue to identify learning opportunities and conduct research as you operate your business and begin to produce usable data. Cultivate your curiosity and stay up-to-date with the latest best practices and research, through groups like the PA Business One-Stop Shop, the SBDC network, and other partners. Make 2021 the year you start your new business!
To learn more about starting, registering, operating, and growing a business in Pennsylvania visit the PA Business One-Stop Shop website. For additional #PASmallBiz information follow our social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and sign up for our e-newsletter.
Visit the PA Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) website to learn more about their programs and services for aspiring entrepreneurs and existing businesses.
Amanda Fink is a graduate student at Kutztown University, where she assists the Social Media Team for Pennsylvania’s lead Small Business Development Center (SBDC). She has her Bachelors of Science in psychology and is currently aspiring towards her Masters of Education in Counseling. With a strong interest in marketing and creative writing, Amanda plans to capture the attention of others through an innovative style to help others discover the change this world hopes to achieve.