SBA Kicks Off Young Entrepreneur Series

The White House and the U.S. Small Business Administration announced today the launch of the Young Entrepreneur Series (YES), which will connect young and aspiring entrepreneurs with SBA officials, local business advisors and resources to help them start or grow their own small business. 

“For our economy to thrive in the 21st century, we must set about creating the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns.  “Young Americans need to know that starting a business is a viable alternative to going to work for somebody else.  There is a clear and urgent need to create more jobs for young Americans, and encouraging business ownership is an important way to meet that goal.” 

SBA will hold five YES forums that will reach a broad audience, including young veterans, urban and rural entrepreneurs, and others.  

Dates and locations include:

  • November 7, San Diego, Calif., Veteran Young Entrepreneurs
  • November 9, Ames, Iowa, Rural Young Entrepreneurs
  • November 17, Charlotte, N.C., Young Entrepreneurs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions
  • November 29, Tahlequah, Okla., Native American Young Entrepreneurs
  • December  1, Milwaukee, Wis., Apprenticeship to Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship among young people remains below average and young entrepreneurs face unique challenges.  With youth unemployment twice the national average in many communities, particularly communities of color and veterans, the Obama administration recognizes a need to promote and better support the efforts of young people to create jobs for themselves and others. 

Many SBA programs, such as microloans, business counseling and training, are useful to young entrepreneurs.  The YES forums are part of a larger effort to reach out to young people and let them know the federal government has tools to help them start, grow and succeed as small business owners.  

The forums will be livestreamed at www.sba.gov/youngentrepreneurs.  Participants can also follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #SBAyes.  For more information or to watch the forums live, visit www.sba.gov/youngentrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship – the Loneliest Adventure

A recent blog article by one of my fellow Michigan entrepreneurs,  Nancy Sherman of southwest Michigan-based Business Success Unlimited, caught my attention recently as she pointed out some of the pros and cons of going into business for yourself. As any of those who’ve done it know, the costs (not including financial) can be very high – but so can the rewards.

In her article she pointed out one of the issues I hear about most often from entrepreneurs, the isolation.  They don’t have anyone else they can talk things over with to help make the decisions they need to make.  In previous corporate lives, they had co-workers, bosses, or employees – now they have themselves, especially when they’re just starting out or if they’re running a virtual business. And that can be difficult. Not that they’re depending on others to give them the answers, but we all know, sometimes it can help just to talk it thru with an impartial party.  Nancy’s article pointed out an interesting solution that I would recommend all small business owners explore for themselves. Learn about it below, and if you’d like a referral to a co-working center, I bet Nancy would be happy to help you out, just reach out to her at Nancy@thessbi.com .

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In my 30 years of being an entrepreneur, I have spent time in my home office, in my brick and mortar office and in the coffee shops and restaurants around my town. Each has their own good points and bad, but I think the thing that I like least about any of it, is that I have no one to share with, no one to talk to except the cats.

I was married for 22 years to a really great guy (we’ve probably got the best divorce ever — we’re still great friends), but he just didn’t get it. He would tell me, why don’t you get a real job. You’re home all day, why don’t you do the housework, or cook or clean or whatever. I couldn’t talk to him about the isolation, about the needs for others to be around. When the office phone would ring at 11 at night, he’d complain because I didn’t answer it, and when people showed up at my front door at 7 am on Sunday morning, there would be more complaining. Then when I got a “Real” office and had monthly rent to pay (to the tune of $5000), he’d shake his head and say things like “here we go again. You’re just playing dress up”.

It was not easy. And he was not alone in saying — and thinking — such things. My best friend was right there with him. She works for the government and has tried since the ’90s, to get me to apply for a job there as well. “But what about the benefits? The health insurance? The regular schedule? The paycheck? These are all valid questions, but when you’re an entrepreneur, someone who wants to do it for him or herself, these are really irritating comments.

If you’re like me, you get the frustration of being alone and want to find someone else who also “gets it” to talk to, to share with, to be close to. But how do you do this? You can go hang out at the coffee shops, spend money on drinks and pastries, and maybe talk with someone else for a few minutes, but you don’t really find friendship or business collaboration there. The same is true for a library or restaurant. And how comfortable is it to hold meetings in your home office?

Well, now there’s a great new way to work on your own business while being in the company of like-minded individuals who are also working on their own businesses. It’s a place to rejuvenate your thoughts and ideas, a place to work on the Internet, to get help and support from administrative professionals, a place to sit and chat in the lounge, meeting rooms, private conference rooms, kitchens — all the amenities of an office space without the cost and politics of businesses. It’s a co-work center and they’re springing up all over the world; not just this country but literally around the world. If you’re a homebased business, a freelancer, or travel for your company, find one and check it out. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

5 Keys to Achieving Fiscal Fitness For Small Business CEOs Planned For Fall

MICHIGAN- The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) will present financial tools workshops in metro Detroit in during the fall.  “5 Keys to Achieving Fiscal Fitness,” a workshop to help the non-financial manager business owner achieve Fiscal Fitness is a state-wide training program designed to strengthen financial literacy and improve the ability to access capital businesses need to grow. The program is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and events will be held in Waterford, Livonia and Detroit.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Identifying problems using your balance sheet and income statement
  • Providing ways to increase your company’s cash flow
  •  Using breakeven analysis to improve decision-making
  • Planning the working capital to support your growth
  • How to keep your banker on your side

“5 Keys to Achieving Fiscal Fitness” will cost $25 per participant (Fifth Third clients can attend at no cost.) Classes will be held: 

  • September 28         Oakland County Business Center in Waterford
  • October 4                Schoolcraft College in Livonia
  • November 3            TechTown in Detroit

Networking and continental breakfast start at 8 a.m. and the seminar is from 8:30 a.m. until 12 p.m.  Register online or call (734) 487-0355 for more information.

 “In these trying financial times, Fifth Third bank recognized how important it is to reach out to business owners and help them become savvier in managing their business finances. Fifth Third Bank is proud to support the MI-SBTDC is these efforts.”  Dolores Sturdivant – Fifth Third Bank.

The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center (MI-SBTDC) is a statewide business assistance program that provides one-on-one counseling, training and research support for Michigan small businesses. The Southeast Michigan Region serves Wayne, Oakland and Monroe counties is headquartered at the Eastern Michigan University College of Business in the Center for Entrepreneurship with full service locations at TechTown in Detroit, Schoolcraft College in Livonia, the Monroe Industrial Development Corporation and Oakland County Business Center.

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fifth Third operates five main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending, Investment Advisors and Fifth Third Processing Solutions.  http://www.misbtdc.net/events.aspx

What do Apple Computer, Hershey’s, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company have in common?

WASHINGTON – What do Apple Computer, Hershey’s, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company have in common? These well-known corporations all started out as home-based businesses. In fact, more than half of all U.S. businesses are based out of an owner’s home.  Starting a home-based business has many rewards as well as challenges. Join chat host Boyd Wright to learn what it takes to grow a successful home-based business.

WHO:  Home-based business champion and small business owner Boyd Wright will host the July Web chat on “Growing a Home-Based Business: What You Need to Know.”  Chat participants can get valuable insight from Wright and learn more about working out of your house, starting a home-based business and managing the business within the law. Wright will answer questions on how to grow a home-based business, the benefits and the challenges.

WHAT:  SBA’s web chat series provides small business owners with an opportunity to discuss relevant business issues online with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs.  Chat participants have direct, real-time access to the web chats via questions they submit online in advance, and during the live session.  Chat participants can receive helpful tips and advice on how to grow their businesses.

WHEN:  July 28, 2011, 1 p.m. ET

Wright will answer questions for one hour.      

HOW:  Web chat participants can post questions online in advance and on July 28, join the live web chat by going online to www.sba.gov, and click on the web chat event under What’s New. 

To review archives of past web chats, visit online at http://www.sba.gov/tools/monthlywebchat/index.html

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Business Owner?

A frequent question we at Strategic Growth Concepts receive from small business owners, or potential small business owners is “How do I know if I can do this?  Do I have what it takes to own my own business?”.  And we have a lot of answers that we give in response that take into account their particular situation, and many tools that we use to help someone evaluate their potential success as small business owners.  However, I recently came across a list developed by Anne Mueller for American Express Open Forum entitled, ’10 Signs You Shouldn’t be a Small Business Owner’ that really caught my attention. 

When I clicked on the link I expected to see the usual, “make sure you have money to survive, make sure you’ve written a business plan, and make sure you have a survival ‘plan b'”, but that’s not what I found.  Instead I found an insightful list of items designed to help you take an in-depth look at yourself and your situation to determine if you have any chance of being successful as a business owner. It required the reader to be completely honest with himself/herself.

As any business owner (successful or otherwise) and any business consultant can tell you, owning a business of any size (even if its only you) is hard, really hard.  It requires sacrifice, and self-discipline, hard work, focus, and the ability to be many things to many people – most of which you have no idea how to be – and many times you have to be them all at once. So being a business owner is definitely not for everyone, and it is certainly a good idea to evaluate yourself and your personal situation honestly before taking the step of becoming one.  In our opinion, this article “10 Signs You Shouldn’t Be a Small Business Owner” is a must-read to help you make that decision, and it’s going into our ‘toolbox’ for use with our own clients.  We recommend you read it as well.

It’s Time to Register For ACE ‘11 (Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship)

The Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship is the place where Great Lakes region entrepreneurs gather to network, learn, and connect. Each year at ACE you’ll join an exciting, forward-thinking community of innovators, entrepreneurs, and business leaders – people like you who have the vision and drive to build new ventures for a new future. 

2011 will be the eleventh year for ACE! Each year the event gets bigger and better.  With more space at Ann Arbor’s Skyline High School, we will be showcasing more companies than ever, and will have more participation from regional support organizations. Combined with the anticipated 1200+ attendees, this year’s event will deliver extraordinary value, learning and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs, funding sources and partners alike. 

Program Includes:

  • A Showcase Presentation by Chuck Newman – CEO of ReCellular
  • The ACE Elevator Pitch Competition: Six pitches, judged by an investor panel with the winner recognized
  • Four Interactive Workshops With Enough Time to Attend Multiple Sessions: What Came First: Innovation or Opportunity?  Ask the Expert Where You Can Raise Your Own Questions.  The Entrepreneurs Search for Funding. From Idea to Business.
  • Exhibit Hall with Entrepreneurial Company Displays 
  • Presentation of Great Lakes Entrepreneur’s Quest Awards
  • Refreshments and Networking 

Where: Skyline High School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

When: 2:00 – 9:00 p.m. , January 31, 2011

Cost: $11 with pre-registration 

For more info: www.ace-event.org

Follow us: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn 

SBA’s Experts Offer Advice on Business Expansion in November Online Web Chat

SBA’s Experts Offer Advice on Business Expansion in November Online Web Chat Tuesday, November 30, 2010, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., ET

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s November web chat will offer advice to entrepreneurs looking to grow or expand their businesses. If you are considering expansion of your company’s product or service, the free web chat will help you learn how to make your next move.

WHO:    Sharon Miller, executive director of the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, will host the November web chat on “Expanding Your Business: What You Need to Know.”  The center is home to the SBA’s Women’s Business Center.  Miller will offer tips and advice on how to make the best business decision before taking on a new growth strategy.  Chat participants can get answers to their questions about what crucial items they should measure before considering expansion.

WHAT:   SBA’s web chat series provides small business owners with an opportunity to discuss relevant business issues online with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs.  Chat participants have direct, real-time access to the web chats via questions they submit online in advance, and during the live session.

WHEN:   November 30, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Miller will answer questions for one hour.      

HOW:    Participants can join the live web chat by going online to www.sba.gov, and clicking “Online Business Chat.”  Web chat participants may also post questions before the November 30th chat by visiting http://web.sba.gov/livemeeting/Nov10/.

To review archives of past web chats, visit online at http://www.sba.gov/tools/monthlywebchat/index.html.

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