The conception stage of your business requires research and planning. You may start with many assumptions about what your business will be, where it will be, and who your customers will be, but conducting research may challenge those assumptions and lead you to a more solid starting point. Below is a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Tell us about you
Fill out THIS FORM to tell us about you and about your business idea.
Step 2: Get your ideas on paper
Complete a draft of your Business Model Canvas, a lean start-up tool that will help you get your ideas on paper and guide you to the next step. Use sources such as the Louisville Free Public Library, Google, and U.S. Small Business Administration to research your idea. Research is key to finding out if our idea is a good one and has a good chance of succeeding.
Step 3: Attend a workshop
There are many workshops that can help you understand what it means to become a business owner. Louisville Metro offers Exploring Entrepreneurship, a free, 1-hour workshop introducing self-employment and small business resources. Register for Exploring Entrepreneurship HERE, or check the SCORE calendar for more business workshops.
Step 4: Schedule a one-on-one meeting with a business resource provider
After you've done your research, reach out to Louisville Metro's Small Business Development team or one of the many small business service providers who can help connect you to additional resources and information that can help you get your business started and aid you every step of the way. You can reach the Small Business Development team by calling (502) 574-4140.
Step 5: How will you finance your business?
Savings, cash, loans, equity investment - there are many ways to finance your business. If you plan on financing your business through one of the many small business loan programs available, you will need to have a good understanding of what it takes to be eligible for these business loans. If you don't need a loan, continue your work on your business plan (skip to Step 7). However, if you need a loan, see Step 6.
Step 6: Building good credit through financial coaching
Your credit score is important. If your credit score is in the Fair to Bad range, you can receive one-on-one personal credit counseling or attend a workshop. The Office of Resilience and Community Services will connect you to financial coaching through its AcceLOUrate program. Call (502) 574-7303 to schedule an appointment or get started by registering for a Credit As An Asset class.
Step 7: Budgeting and financial forecasting
To start this process, we suggest you attend a Business Planning Workshop. See the SCORE calender for upcoming workshops and registration details. You also can inquire HERE about resources and assistance for your small business.
Step 8: Complete your business plan
A great business plan should include marketing strategies, operations management, what your anticipated cost are (location, equipment, technology, employees), your projected revenue, and when you expect to break even. If you plan to apply for a loan, a completed business plan is required. A business plan is used to guide you through the start-up phase and first three years of your business. To craft your plan, you can work one-on-one with a service provider or use these tools:
For those who are not self-financing, your financing options should be clearly outlined in your revenue model and financial forecasts so that investors and/or lending institutions will understand and support your plan for success. Check out some financial resources available HERE, and click HERE to inquire about resources and assistance for your small business.
Step 9: Apply for a loan that fits your needs
Louisville Metro's Small Business Development team administers multiple loans through its METCO and Microbusiness programs. Our partners also offer loan programs for existing small businesses and startups that meet the loan requirements.
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