Starting Your Own Business

With plenty of resources available, entrepreneurs and start-ups are on the rise
By Ami Brown
They say if a new business can make it the first five years… they’re considered successful. I’ve owned a couple of businesses and I can definitely say the first year is usually the hardest… unless you happen to be lucky. But is it luck? If you do your homework, plan and make sound choices, “luck” just may fall your way.

It seems simple, right? All you need is a great idea, some money, and willing customers… in a nut shell that is really it. If you have a product or service that is in demand, customers will be willing to pay you for it. So how do you come up with that genius idea? How do you get seed money? and where are your customers going to come from?
These are all questions you should be asking before you venture into business ownership. Not to mention.. competition, location, overhead, tax implications, sustainability, liabilities, legal stuff, S-Corp, LLC, DBA…etc.. and the list goes on.
When considering a brick and mortar shop or service location, there are a lot of set up costs. This is where a mentor would come in handy. Talk to someone who has been there and done it successfully. Learn from their mistakes, so you don’t have to make your own.
One thing that is changing the game and turning traditional business start ups on their heads is Crowd Funding. The Internet is a web of information but also a hub for over a billion customers… ready with credit cards in hand to make a purchase.
With Crowd Funding platforms like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, GoFund Me and others, your customers pay your start up fees before you have to spend a dine sometimes. You’ve got customers purchasing your product before they even go into production. This is one sure way of knowing what the demand is before you supply.
This type of funding works great for certain types of businesses.. like card games, video games, gadgets, films, comic books,
Pebbletime (a smart watch) raised over 20 million dollars in 30 days, the Coolest Cooler (a super cool ice chest) raised over 13 million and a travel jacket – yup, a jacket raised over 9 million. So it doesn’t have to be fancy, it just need to strike a cord with your customers. You find a niche or a need, and Crowd Funding could be your source of funds. Having a well planned and professional campaign is also vital to success.
Other sources of funding can come from the Small Business Administration. They offer loans and assistance in start ups and expanding your business as it grows.
Angel Investors can also be a good source. But finding the right Angel at the right time could be difficult. Friends and family can be another source – but beware, if your business fails, your friendship could as well.
Local organization SCORE is a great resource when it comes to mentoring and education. They offer free mentorship and workshops that can help you on your path to business ownership. Their website: www.capefear.score.org

Local Resources:

SCORE
Our members are former executives of major companies or former owners of small businesses. We understand your problems and provide free and confidential business mentoring. SCORE’s experienced business experts provide general advice on everything from how to write a business plan to cash management and sales promotion. Mentors can provide insight into how to start a business, how to correct weak areas in an existing business or how to buy or sell a business. We also offer workshops of interest to small business owners designed to aid them in the profitable operation of their businesses. We help small businesses in Wilmington and New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus, Bladen, Pender, Duplin and Sampson counties in Eastern North Carolina. Our Brunswick location operates by appointment only from Brunswick Community College in Bolivia, NC, Building D, Room 151. Please call 910-452-5395 to schedule an appointment at both locations. Please contact us to make an appointment for free counseling or to just talk over the phone with one of our mentors. Counseling is also available in Spanish by appointment. Asesoramiento .es disponible en el idioma español por cita solamente.

Brunswick County Economic Development:
Starting a New Business
The future of Brunswick County economy will come primarily from small businesses and entrepreneurs. We encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses to contact us. We will assist them in getting started and smooth the way through the permitting process.
We have a close working relationship with Brunswick Community College which has formed an Entrepreneur/Small Business Committee. The purpose of the committee is to assist entrepreneurs with business plans, financing, addressing permit issues, and any other assistance that may be required. Our office will continue to work with BCC to ensure that entrepreneurs have an easier process to get established.

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