Ready to start a small business? A list of things to consider

Do you think you are ready to start your own small business? Starting a small business is one of the most challenging, yet often times rewarding things you will ever do. It seems like everywhere you turn there is a mountain of information on how starting a small business can be a tax advantage and different information on how to get started. There are many “experts” online that will point you in all different directions and the chance of misinformation is high. Rules and regulations are different depending on the state and county where your business will operate. Using resources such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will help you find accurate information for the area in which you plan to start your business.

Owning a small business comes with many challenges and is not for everyone. Before starting a business, you should ask yourself if being a business owner is the correct choice and if now is the right time. Here is a list of things to consider before starting your first business:

  • Time Commitment: Starting a small business will be extremely time consuming. You are likely to work long hours and work more than five days a week. The time commitment to get the business started and maintain the business is sometimes more than people are expecting. It is not the same as having a job where you work your 40 hours per week and then you are done. You need to be prepared to work as many hours as it takes to get the job done.
  • Emotional Strain: Being a business owner is not for the faint of heart. There will be days that are hard and make you just want to give up. For each of those days, there will also be days that make you proud to be a business owner and that bring you great joy. You should be prepared for the emotional challenges that being a business owner will bring.
  • Financial Requirements: Businesses are expensive to start and require a continuous amount of working capital to maintain. Most businesses are started with funds from either the owner’s savings account or from a small business loan. Both options require capital investment by the owner.
  • Current Responsibilities: You need to consider your current responsibilities and how your new business will affect those. Do you have a new baby or are you considering moving soon? Do you have a parent you need to care for regularly? Does your partner need your support as they start a new job? These questions and more should be examined as you consider the requirements of owning a business.

Starting a business requires planning and determination. The University of Mary Washington (UMW) SBDC helps people determine their business potential and can help with the business planning process. We offer a self-guided online learning module called First Steps to Starting Your Business. This module covers the basics of starting a business in Virginia and is offered on demand for your convenience. Topics covered include:

  • Understanding how the SBDC can help your business
  • Information on the various Business Structures
  • How to conduct business research
  • Local requirements
  • Insurances requirements
  • The importance of a business plan

If you need assistance starting your business, the UMW SBDC is here to help. We provide training webinars and free, confidential business consulting. Our consultants can provide you with research, help you estimate startup costs and forecast revenues and expenses, help you prepare your loan package, and review your written business plan. If you would like assistance planning your business, please fill out a Request for Consulting form or if you are already a client, reach out to your consultant.