The US Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, and assist small business. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people through the United States.
A wonderful volunteer organization that works as a resource partner with the SBA is SCORE. SCORE considers itself as the "counselors to America's small business", offering confidential advice to help owners make a potential successful small business idea into a reality.
WHAT IS SCORE?
It was founded in 1964 and since then helped more than 7.5 million small businesses. They offer face to face small business counseling at 389 chapter offices nationwide. They ensure that their volunteers (who are typically successful business owners who have retired) have a broad range of skills to help solve all types of business problems that they offer small business online solutions at http://www.score.org .
HOW CAN SCORE HELP YOU?
The following are a couple of examples of businesses that SCORE considers as "small business success" stories.
Little Scoops – Recently listed in Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the "Hot New Franchises for 2005" Little Scoops started only 5 years ago. One of the founders Michelle claims that "Without the help of the volunteer counselors at SCORE, her success never would have happened.
Prior to opening her first store, the counselors insured she and her partner think long term, and helped them develop a plan to set up finances and how to evaluate potential locations. Just recently, the SCORE counselors have helped them begin the process of franchising their 9 locations into a national concept.
Ahi Sushi – Jimmy Hu had dreamed of opening his own Japanese restaurant and sushi bar for a long time. Prior to signing an agreement to purchase an existing restaurant business he contacted SCORE. His volunteer advisers recommended he did not purchase the restaurant business, especially since he intended on changing the whole concept anyway.
Not buying another business, limited his startup costs and allowed him to patiantly and thoroughly evaluate the best location. They tought him to visit potential sites during the different times of the day and night to observe customer traffic in the area. They also explained to Jimmy the value in visiting potential nearby competitors to evaluate their menus, ambiance, pricing and marketing strategy. Finally, they recommended techniques and technology for effectively managing cash flow and inventory, tracking labor costs, and planning for expenses like advertising. Now, three years later, Jimmy is doing double the business he expected when he first thought of buying an existing restaurant.
HOW CAN I INSURE MY SMALL BUSINESS IDEA WILL BE BRING ME SUCCESS
The following are some suggestions by SCORE methods.
1. ATTITUDE – Having a positive, optimistic outlook is the foundation for success. Be willing to learn, ask questions, do research and brainstorm, all with a positive frame of mind. And always reflect on mistakes, and learn to do better.
2. CUSTOMER FOCUS – Put you in the place of a customer and considers what aspects of the product or service you like and dislike and what elements might add value.
3. FEEDBACK – Try to get expert or objective advice from a person who will ask the right questions, and do not feel guilty about offering criticism. (This is one of the big benefits of score, or for more convenience you can use online business plan software that gives you evaluative feedback)
4. RESEARCH – Learn everything you can about the areas or types of businesses that you are interested in. Being immersed in the field is a huge advantage. This is why most lending institutions you go to when applying for a small business loan, would feel much more comfortable if you had a couple of years of experience in the field of business you are entering.
5. STRUCTURED BUSINESS PLAN – Incorporate your idea and the sales and marketing plan [http://successful-small-business.com/small_business_marketing.html] you have in your head, into a formal business plan. A good quality plan will help you asses the opportunities and limitations of your business ideas.
Remember that translating your idea into a successful business entails a process that takes time, labor and attention to detail. But with by following a system s and checking for advice from others, you have the right tools in hand for success.