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what are the challenges of starting a small business and how can I prepare for them now

Hi Derrick! I would say a challenge of starting your small business is: - First come up with the idea of your product(s) - Who will be using the products -What age range are you trying to market -What is your budget for starting your business -Your Why (Why did you start this business) For example, I want to start a company to help Hispanics embrace their culture. I would create different clothing items such as shirts, hats, hoodies etc. On the shirts would be the different Hispanic flags such as Puerto Rico, Mexico. I Am trying to market to the 10-29 age range. My budget would be $500. I want to start this business because growing up I felt Americanized, because here were not a lot of Hispanics in school I did not embrace my culture so I wouldn't be different. Lourdes J.

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sean’s Answer

Three Things you need to have for starting your business, [Experience, A Plan, Resources]

Experience: Spend time understanding the business you want to be in. Apprentice in that field, so that you know how the business runs and what you would do to enhance your offering. College and trade schools are great as well. If you can, have a mentor or advocate in the business you are doing. They are your competition, but have gone through the hurdles that you will experience already.

Have a plan: Make sure you set up your business properly with state and government licenses. Have a Bank, and a form of bookkeeping established. A great resources is the SBA (Small Business Association) which has great resources for learning about and working with you as you start and grow your business. Think 1, 3, 5 years out of how the business will grow.

Resources: Have funding to support the plan you have put in place. Finance is critical to exist, however, many start up businesses do not require a lot of money to get going. Start with a budget that allows you to grow as the business does. In addition, many businesses take advantage of existing resources. For Example: If you wanted to start a clothing business, using a Print on Demand company or partnering with a textile company that will manufacture for you.

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Anthony’s Answer

Hey Derrick,

When it comes to starting a business, it is hard simply just getting started, funding, etc. The best way is to obtain guidance from others who have business and learn from them.

There is an entity called the Small Business Administration - They will help you get started and I am sure help you answer some of those questions.

Either way, if you have a dream and willing to pursue it, despite the hardship, remained determined to see it through, you will make it!

Hope that helps.

I found SCORE to be helpful, too. Tom Foulkrod

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Marcus’s Answer

Knowing what is your differential is the number #1 thing to spend time thinking. There are a lot of competitors out there and knowing what will make they decide to buy from you is what makes your business successful! Learn from your probable customers, competitors and benchmarks and build your business case. Test, pilot, fail and test again. The only way to be successful is experimenting new ways to do things!
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Simeon’s Answer

To start a small business, you'll need to have a good taste what the preferences of your market are. I would spend time observing what unmet needs there are in your market. What types of businesses are underrepresented in your community? You need to remember that the business serves to meet their needs as well. Keep an eye out for what types of marketing seem to be the best to reach your target audience as well. You'll need an understanding of all of the above to put together a decent business plan. I'd also recommend drawing up the potential expenses for the business you have in mind and seeing what kind of prices you'd have to charge to cover your expenses while still earning an income.