Have you been thinking about starting a business for a while but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you have an idea for an invention, and the thought of turning it into a business is both exciting and terrifying all at the same time. I’ve had these thoughts many times, and not just every time I watch Shark Tank. Every winter, ever since I was a kid, I remember thinking about taking my mom’s Coquito and selling it every time I heard someone ask for the recipe. I also remember wondering why I could only get Limbers from the lady across the street from Tia Chella’s house and not at the grocery store. I thought about all the gumballs I could buy if I too sold Limbers at 50 cents a pop. The thought of starting a business has always seemed like a good idea but getting started has always seemed like a feat. As I grew up, I learned it was no small feat, so I majored in Business Administration. Along my journey, I learned two things, you don’t need to major in business to start a business, and there are so many free resources available to the public.
As you begin your journey as an entrepreneur, there is an extraordinary resource available to you, the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA). SBA is a great place to start and get your questions answered. SBA’s website has comprehensive resources that include information about starting a business, writing a business plan, registering your business, and getting insurance.
Here are a few of my favorite resources.
SBA Learning Platform:
The Learning Platform offers self-guided modules that take you through five phases of starting a business: Plan, Launch, Manage, Market and Grow.
Choosing a Business Structure:
Selecting a business structure is one of the first steps of starting a business, as it determines the type of paperwork you fill out, how much you pay in taxes, and determines liability. Here you can learn about the various business structures and compare them to determine your best choice.
Get confidential business advice from a business expert. Use the Find a Mentor site to review mentor profiles and find the right one for you and your business. Did I mention this service is free?
SBA has created a 10-step Business Guide to make it easier to understand the steps involved in business planning.
Don’t forget, you can always schedule an appointment with a Career Coach at the Career Center to help you navigate these free resources and guide you as your start your business. So, what do you think, are you ready to take the next step?