If you are a small business owner or are looking to become one, you aren’t alone. Last year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a total of 32 million people who currently owned a small business. That’s up five million from 2012.
Why such an increase? The Great Recession is one reason. People who got laid off during this period decided to take a stab at entrepreneurship. Many felt it was better to go this route than to simply search for another job, with no guarantee of security.
The other reason is a better economy. As things settled down, consumerism began to heat up. However, instead of returning to larger, well-established organizations, they trended toward becoming entrepreneurs.
With so many entrepreneurs out there, a logical conclusion could be that there’s no room for new ideas. On the contrary, there’s plenty of room — not only to make inroads into a given industry, but also to go beyond competitors that are offering the same product. All we need is the right tools.
The good news is that you don’t have to build your business alone. Doing everything by yourself increases stress, causes panic, and can make you feel utterly overwhelmed — not exactly a recipe for success.
If you feel this way now in a current business, or even if you’re in the planning stages of a future small business and find yourself getting overwhelmed, here are some resources to look into and try:
Whether it’s a local, state, or national chapter, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is the first place to turn for assistance. Through newsletters, networking programs, and personal guidance, an SBA, also known as a business development center, helps you start a business, grow it, and keep it steady through good and bad times.
Here are a few examples of what an SBA can help you with:
Developing your business plan is important for the success of your small business. You can certainly run a business without a plan, but it might not go as smoothly.
The business plan allows you to see the needed steps to begin operations, make it grow, and continue its stability. When you feel like the business is getting off course, that’s a good time to look at the business plan to get back in step with the original mission and vision or to modify it to fit your changing needs.
You can find free online resources and templates for writing business plans, as well as help from the SBA. Whatever you use, here are some essential items that need to be part of a business plan:
As mentioned above, no one can build a business alone. That’s why networking groups, both in the local Sugar Land area and online, can be so useful for new small business owners.
Through networking groups, you can meet potential mentors and let potential customers (and maybe even investors) know about the business. In turn, they can provide guidance on funding, advertising, choosing vendors, social media marketing tips and more. Or, they can become a mentor through the business’ start and growth.
Networking groups are a natural way to get the word out about our products and services. In addition, there’s a potential to connect with other entrepreneurs for a join project to benefit both businesses. Once you’ve been attending a networking group for a while and have become an experienced entrepreneur, you can “pay it forward” and become a mentor yourself!
Podcasts are a fantastic resource for small business owners. Not only are programs like Entrepreneurs On Fire (EOF) and The Side Hustle Show good to gain ideas for your business, but they also encourage you to take those next steps forward.
If podcast hosts can do it, why can’t we talk to small business owners in our area to find out how they succeed? Networking groups and business events aren’t the only places to get to know other entrepreneurs.
Even if you just utilize the services of a successful business and get to know the owner, it’s a good idea to invite them to get a cup of coffee. Getting to know these other owners on a face-to-face level gives us fresh ideas. In addition, it helps establish a potential working partner.
All of the above resources can help you build relationships, get new ideas, and motivate yourself to make this your year to grow or start your own business in Sugar Land.