What first steps should you take?

Whether your business is just an idea or if you already have some components in place, a trusted and impartial business advisor can help you find a proven path toward small business success. The East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center offers no-cost consulting sessions and a helpful workshop designed to help you launch your business. Get started by visiting www.isbdc.org and apply to become a client.

Will your business meet your needs?

Many potential business owners fall in love with the product, the process, or the idea of the business and skip the key questions about their own goals and needs. Here are some questions to ask: Will this business meet your personal/family goals (including time at home, vacations, and work hours)? Will this business meet your financial goals (short and long-term)? Do you have the skill set required to be successful in this type of business? Take the time to reflect on these questions, and consult with impartial advisors who can help you assess your needs and goals.

Is there a market for your business?

Consider the type and scale of your business. Do people want what you are selling? How many customers do you need to meet your financial goals? Do you know how to price your product? Contact the East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center (East Central ISBDC) for access to demographic information about the Rush County area. Additionally, the East Central ISBDC can also produce customer lists from local, state or national geographies, with customers specified by the type of business or other criteria. Using the resources of the Rush County Economic and Community Development Corporation and the East Central ISBDC, there are substantial resources to help you make important decisions about the direction of your business.

Do you have the money to start your business?

Understanding what funding is required to start and operate your business is a critical step in the planning process. How much do you need? Where will your funding come from? How long will your start-up funds last, and how can you find additional funding? Ask these questions throughout your planning process. Refer to the Financing section for more information.

How can you create a business plan and financial projections?

Creating a business plan and completing financial projections are important components of starting a business. If you are applying for financing from a bank or revolving loan fund organization, a business plan and financials are required. If you aren’t applying for financing, a business plan can give you guidance and a framework for what to expect as you operate your business. There are templates available from online sources, including the Small Business Administration. Work with an East Central Indiana Small Business Development Center advisor to create financial projections that can be presented directly to the bank.