SCORE

The New Year is an excellent time to build upon the momentum from the year just ended – and to consider starting something brand new as well.

That is just why SCORE Westchester’s first workshop in 2015 is about starting new small businesses. “What to Consider Before starting a Business,” hosted by SCORE mentor Charles Auerbach, will capitalize on the truth that there is no time like the present and that the New Year is the present writ large.

For Westchester small business professionals, it’s important to have considered your new business venture from every perspective:

1. Importance of being passionate about the business concept:

You need to take the passion that has interested you in starting your own business and foster it, protect it, and grow it. People need to feel the passion you feel for your business every time they see you, open an email from you, and come across any of your other communications. And your passion will be required to get you through this first year of business – and every year thereafter. It is the fuel that your business will run on; passion is that important!

2. Dedication and discipline in managing time and effort

Passion is great, just as gas for a top-notch vehicle is great to have in the tank. Discipline is how you will use that passion to good effect. You will need your time for the first year of the venture fully mapped out, and you will, while remaining flexible, need to adhere to your schedule as closely as possible. That is doubly true when it comes to the day to day! This workshop will discuss strategies for avoiding detours, roadblocks, and all the rest.

3. Surround yourself with people that will support you

You’re going to need to have people rooting you on, accepting your commitment to the new business, and supporting you in every way they can. Starting a new Westchester small business is exhilarating, rewarding, and challenging. The support of those around you is going to be crucial for your business’s success and your well-being as you make this happen.

4. Willingness to wear all the hats – including some you may not like

There are plenty of Westchester small businesses with only one employee in IT, one employee in office management, one employee in marketing, one employee in facilities, one employee in accounting, and it’s the same employee playing all those roles. If you figured out that the “employee” is the owner of the business, then you have a head start to understanding how this game is played. It’s a lot. And, to borrow a phrase, it’s also the toughest job you’ll ever love.

5. Develop detailed information on start-up and operating costs

By far the best time to figure out how much capital the business will require to get going and to operate is every moment up to the morning you open your doors for business. In other words, right now. You need to start the accounting process well ahead of the first day of business, and you will almost certainly want to enlist some assistance. Part of that is to ensure you haven’t neglected anything, and part of it is just an accounting principle: Two pairs of eyes are always better than one. It’s that simple.

6. Research the competition

If you’re opening a gourmet coffee shop it would be a smart idea to know what competing shops charge for everything they sell, how much it compensates its employees, how it structured its real estate deal, how it changes its menu seasonally – pretty much everything about it that you legally can! You’re also going to want to find out what every other gourmet coffee shop in your town, county and state does in the same regards. The last thing that you want to do when starting a new Westchester small business is to re-create the wheel. Learn from the competition, and then beat the competition. In order to do that, you have to acknowledge that they’re there.

7. Marketing strategy

You will need to develop a marketing strategy. This, too, will need to be in place before the first day of business. You will want people talking about your business before they have ever visited it or even driven by. You will want to have developed the beginnings of social media strategy, at a minimum, together with every free form of publicity that you can generate. You should definitely develop a press release, probably pegged to some kind of pre-opening event, and send it to the local press. Incredibly, many small business owners fail to take advantage of a great deal of free publicity that the media makes available to them!

8. Work with a mentor

The work of starting a small business is truly just so rewarding. And it is also truly difficult, at times. By working with a SCORE Westchester small business mentor, make a lot of great first steps, avoid making unnecessary mistakes, and have someone in your corner throughout the process. The free mentoring services provided by SCORE have been used by millions of people around the U.S., among them some of the most successful business owners in the country. There is no need to start a business in isolation. It’s more fun, and more effective, to do it with a mentor!

New Year the Perfect Time for New Business