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.

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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.

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

‘FastTrac to the Future’ – Detroit Area Entrepreneurial Event

Anyone in Southeast Michigan who’s thinking about their next career move is invited to attend FastTrac to the Future: The First Day of Your Entrepreneurial Adventure, a free all-day conference that will provide a jump-start down the road to entrepreneurship.

Date: June 24, 2009

Time: 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Location: Community Arts Auditorium on Wayne State University campus

Cost: Free, but advanced registration required.

Register: Seats are limited, so register online soon at http://techtownwsu.org/.

An agenda, a complete list of breakout session topics and a link to the registration page can be found at http://techtownwsu.org/.

The program features breakout sessions that will give guidance and free resources to people who think entrepreneurship might be right for them. This could include displaced workers, the unemployed and people looking for alternative employment options.

Local and national experts will discuss the challenges of starting a new business. This highly interactive conference also features Curbside Consulting, where every attendee will have the chance to pitch their idea to an expert in a relaxed, informal setting.

In addition, there are 12 different session topics on entrepreneurship, including:

  • Intellectual Property Do’s and Don’ts
  • Organization Expo—Providing introductions to existing entrepreneurial programs in the community, including the SBTDC, TechTown, Ann Arbor SPARK, Automation Alley and more
  • What’s Your Role in a Startup?
  • Pitch & Comment—A facilitated session where people with ideas pitch to the group and get constructive feedback
  • Money Tables—Providing information on bootstrapping, raising money, and grants, plus a roundtable discussion on funding your idea
  • Entrepreneurial opportunities in clean tech, logistics and medical technology

Attendees will have the opportunity to sign up that day for FastTrac®, award-winning programs for entrepreneurs developed by the Kauffman Foundation. Three FastTrac® programs, which will be delivered over several days or weeks, will be available locally immediately following the event.

10 Things to Be Clear About Before Starting a Company

As more and more people turn to entrepreneurial ventures due to a lack of jobs in today’s economic environment, it seems prudent for those individuals to evaluate whether or not they are actually suited to be an entrepreneur – preferably before they start their new venture.

As those of us who have done it can attest, it’s not a life for the “weak of heart”.  Owning your own company will likely take over your life for AT LEAST the first 2-3 years of its’ existence, and if you’re not good at delegating, probably for the duration of its’ existence.  This is fine if it suits your lifestyle and that of the people in your life, if it doesn’t suit, you may want to consider whether or not entrepreneurship is really the best direction for you to go.

In my practice of working with existing and potential entrepreneurs, I have always found that it is best to speak frankly about the hardships of self-employment in order to “weed-out” those who really don’t want to make the necessary sacrifices once they have a clear understanding of what they are.  To aid in this effort, I am always in search of new tools to assist me when speaking with these individuals, and I found a great tool in a recent article in the New York Times entitled, 10 Things to be Clear About Before You Start a Company.  The complete article can be found HERE, and I would classify it as required reading for anyone considering starting a business.

If after reading the article you still believe entrepreneurship is right for you and you would like some assistance to get you started on the right foot, please contact us to schedule a FREE initial phone consultation so we can discuss your new venture, and evaluate ways in which we might assist you in increasing your chances for success.

Legal Aspects of Owning a Business: How to Prevent Pain & Expense in the Future

Had an excellent broadcast today on BlogTalkRadio about “The Legal Aspects of Owning a Business:  How to Prevent Pain and Expense in the Future”.  Our panel members, James Voigt an attorney with Lavelle Law, Ltd; Bernie O’Meara a partner with Principal Financial Services; and Rebecca Turner an attorney with Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth & Heller, all provided excellent information that small businesses will find not only useful, but imperative for their success!

Topics covered included:  the pros and cons of various business structures for your company (including the tax implications), how to prevent your corporate veil from being pierced if you haven’t quite followed the required corporate procedures, what to do if you’ve missed a 941 tax payment, how to find extra cash in your business, and many other topics that will help to protect and grow your business now and in the future.

You can listen to, or download, the broadcast by clicking HERE.

Grow Your Business by Building Your Credibility as an Expert

In today’s world of 5-person or less small businesses, oftentimes building demand for your business requires building demand for your expertise as the owner and a subject-matter expert in your field. With the many resources available today, online and elsewhere, the opportunities to showcase your expertise and build your personal “brand”, as well as that of your company, are almost limitless. On our website find an article that will provide you with tips to utilize some of these opportunities to your best advantage for growing your business. Learn how to maximize the opportunities presented by blogging, social media, public speaking, teaching, portfolio presentation, and publishing in your efforts to grow your business.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.