How to quit job and start own business

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Dr.OliviaSimpson,France,Researcher
Published Date:03-07-2017
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Table of Contents 2 INTRODUCTION I I 3-14 SECTION 1: READY TO START? I I 3 myths and realities of entrepreneurship The truth about business ownership 4 do you have what it takes? Assessing your skills and experience 5 know your options: different types of businesses A closer look at various ways of starting a business 8 components of business ownership Understanding the many roles you’ll play as a business owner 9 making it legal The nuts and bolts of launching a new business 12 business plan basics Why you need a business plan 15-30 SECTION 2: GREAT IDEA I I 15 getting your business idea Steps to develop and fine-tune your business concept 20 doing market research Steps to identify your target audience and learn how they buy 23 doing competitive research How to know what your competitors are up to 27 pricing your product or service Learning to properly price your product or service for business success 31-39 SECTION 3: MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS I I 31 branding your business Steps to creating your brand 35 developing your marketing plan Crafting a plan to communicate your marketing message 38 marketing your business with social media What you need to know to use social media effectively 40-57 SECTION 4: FINANCIAL MATTERS I I 40 financial planning: why you need it How to forecast your sales, costs, profits and assets 45 understanding and using financial statements Three primary financial statements you need to know about 53 finding financing for your business How and where to start your search for capital 59-60 SECTION 5: THE GO OR NO-GO DECISION I I 59 go or no-go? Making the big decision about your business idea Copyright 2011 The SCORE Foundation 1 simple steps for starting your business IIntroduction EDITORIAL TEAM I DREAM BIG vice president of education: K. Jai Hokimi Do you dream about starting director, marketing and Communications: Bridget Weston Pollack project managers: Candice Stennett & Heather Hendy a business? You’re not VOLUNTEER CONTRIBUTORS: austin SCORE James Binnabose, Richard Jozwiakowski, Carleton Smith alone—millions of baton rouge area SCORE Harold Allison Sr. bergen county SCORE Peter Loder, John Sanchez Americans share that dream. chester county SCORE James Schoonover colorado springs SCORE Ric Denton, Jerry Musselman, Gerald Smith And yet, not everyone has dayton SCORE Arnold Sandness fairfield county SCORE Michael Allocca, Lesley Apt, Elliot Baritz, Preston the courage to get started. Carnes, Jr., Patricia Duncan, Thomas Greenbaum, Ruth Kelley, France LaFlamme, Patricia Muncy, Jonathan  Naiman, Becca  Nell, E. Michael But if you’re reading this, O’Malley, Rebecca Ryan, Norman Sylvester, Diane Winston ft. lauderdale SCORE Carlos Ayala, Tapan Chakrabarty, Arthur Donovan, you have already taken the Michael Greenberg, Jack Hardy, Edward Joffee, Tom Petersen, Kendrick Pierre, Eric Thompson, Neil Tortorella first steps toward turning greater bridgeport SCORE Michael Conway greater cincinnati SCORE Richard Johnston, Thomas Moon your dream into reality. greater phoenix SCORE Mary Ann Weiss, Andrew Beran, Neil Feola houston SCORE Donald Doggett, George Holland, William Krause, Oliver Mann, Raj Mashruwala, Bob Meisel, Irwin Miller, Al Reed, Dolores Zamora Too many criticize dreamers like you proclaiming, lancaster SCORE Louis Davenport, Gerard Glenn “Dreamers only dream, doers do.” But that’s louisville SCORE Joseph Hatfield wrong. You can’t become a doer without first manasota SCORE Douglas Barber, Gregory Hoffmann, Tom Latimer, Joseph having been a dreamer. Pfeiffer, Jeanette Watling Mills minneapolis SCORE Bruce Becker, Mort Harris, Edward Hennen, Loren Herbst, Dreams are the stuff entrepreneurs are made of. Marshall Jones, Randi Luoto, Thomas Schaefer, Daniel Shidla, William Wise Think about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, monmouth SCORE R. Michael Sullivan, Robert Sullivan Oprah Winfrey, Sam Walton, Walt Disney, Mary Kay Ash. What do they have in common? They all northern nevada SCORE Judy Haar started with nothing but a dream, and built princeton SCORE Marc Binder, William S. Litchman, Leon Petelle, Saleem Sufi multimillion-dollar businesses. san antonio SCORE Carter Crews san diego SCORE Jack Philbin Obviously, dreaming alone isn’t enough. You have to santa cruz county SCORE David Harken do your homework, create a plan and take action. SCORE naples George Ahearn, Robert Anderson, Joseph Binder, Becky You will have good days and bad ones. But don’t get Bokrand, Frank Friend, Jeri Glueck, Chick Heithaus, Vincent Izzi, Carol discouraged. As Walt Disney said, “If you can dream Marlow, James Underwood, Karl Williams it, you can do it. Always remember this whole thing SCORE santa fe & northern new mexico Nancy Geddes, William Moffett, was started by a dream and a mouse.” Richard Stranger southern arizona SCORE Charles Higgins Simple Steps for Starting Your Business is more than st. paul SCORE Gregory Boettner just a guide to business ownership. It’s really a treasure valley SCORE C. Norman Beckert, Jeffrey Weeks blueprint for helping make your dreams come true. williamsburg SCORE Alan Wonsowski design & layout Mark Kozak editorial services GrowBiz Media SCOREMentors inquiries: educationscore.org All images are used under license from Shutterstock.com http://www.shutterstock.com/licensing.mhtml 2 I simple steps for starting your business% 67% section 1: Ready to Start? Myths and Realities of Entrepreneurship Do you really know what it means to be an entrepreneur? Here are some common myths about business ownership. A good idea is a myth: As an entrepreneur, you won’t have to reality: Entrepreneurs do get to subtract great start, but it work so hard or put in such long hours. business expenses from their gross income— takes hard work, reality: On average, entrepreneurs work far longer but they still have to pay taxes on their hours than employees do—but you’ll likely enjoy it net income. research, planning more because you’re building something of your own. myth: As a business owner, you won’t and successful myth: My product/service is unique and there is have a boss. implementation no competition. reality: You don’t have a boss—you have reality: There is always competition. It may be in a many: Your clients and customers. strategies to turn different form or delivered in a different manner, but it exists and you need to recognize and deal myth: Business owners get to do what they your idea into a with it. want to do. business. reality: Sure, you’ll do some of what you myth: Business owners can deduct everything, enjoy—but some of your time will be spent on so you won’t have to pay taxes. tasks you find difficult or boring. reality: business success I One big myth is that the majority of startup businesses fail. In fact, according to data from the SBA, 67 percent of new businesses are 33% successful after 67% four years; only 33 percent fail. FAILED SUCCESSFUL simple steps for starting your business I 3 33% 67%section 1: Ready to Start? Do You Have What It Takes? Lots of people have good business ideas—but not all of them have the characteristics needed to make their businesses succeed. Successful entrepreneurs have the qualities listed below in common. Some of these factors are inborn traits, others can be learned, and still others are external and harder to control. The more of these factors you have on your side, the greater your chances of success. Entrepreneurial qualities DO YOU HAVE THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES? Personal traits aren’t the only factor in business suc- Education or work experience in your cess. Starting a business costs money. To assess how chosen industry realistic startup is for you, begin by considering Strong work ethic your personal budget. Add up: Effective time management skills Your total monthly cost of living Ability to multitask Areas where you can cut back Management skills Outstanding debt Willing to ask for help and advice Amount in savings from others Amount needed to cover 6 to 18 months of Self-motivated Lots of people expenses (the average time before a new Resourceful business makes a profit). have good Responsible Also add up your startup costs, including: business ideas— Organized Tools or equipment but not all of Persistent Leasehold improvements Decisive them have the Licenses and permits Good health characteristics Professional fees A supportive family Initial inventory needed to make Working capital reserve fund their businesses Inadequate capital is a key reason busi- succeed. nesses fail. We’ll discuss how to estimate your startup costs and ways to obtain the capital you need in more detail in Sec- tion 4. 4 I simple steps for starting your businesssection 1: Ready to Start? Know Your Options: Different Types of Businesses Starting a new business from scratch is what most people think of when they consider becoming entrepreneurs. But this isn’t the only way to get into business for yourself. Here’s a closer look at various ways of starting a business. 1 starting a new business I I advantages disadvantages You’re not hampered by the previous image or You have no existing customer base to build on. equipment of an existing business. You’re taking a bigger risk than if you were buying an You can choose your own location, name and logo, and existing business. build your own business relationships. Because your business has no track record, it will be You can explore new markets and directions. harder to find financing. 2 buying an existing business I I advantages disadvantages You gain an established customer base, location and Hidden problems with the business could come back to supplier relationships. haunt you—such as debts, liens or misrepresentations about profitability. The business is a known entity with a proven formula and name recognition. The business has a reputation, but is it always a good one? You can review the business’s records before buying to make sure it’s profitable. The business’s inventory could be obsolete; its assets and/or goodwill could be inflated. Since the business has a track record, it may be easier to obtain financing. Employees may be loyal to the former owner, causing management issues. There’s no guarantee the business’s success will continue under your ownership. simple steps for starting your business I 5section 1: Ready to Start? Know Your Options: Different Types of Businesses 3 buying a franchise I I advantages disadvantages As a franchisee you become part of a system with a You don’t have as much freedom as an independent well-known image and proven products or services. business owner. You have the marketing and sales power of the You must pay ongoing royalties and other fees. franchisor behind you. You must sign a binding contract that limits your You get training and guidance from the franchisor. ability to exit the business. You’re part of a network and can turn to other The franchisor’s problems—whether financial, image or franchisees for help. otherwise—are your problems, too. 4 home-based business I I advantages disadvantages Working from home is convenient. Zoning or deed restrictions may prohibit home-based businesses. You save money on commuting, dry cleaning, lunches out and other daily expenses. Working from home can be isolating and lonely. You have a flexible schedule and can work when As a home-based business, you will have more you want. difficulty finding financing. You could gain tax advantages since you could deduct Distractions from family or neighbors may make it the portion of your home used for business. hard to work. Home-based businesses are often subject to IRS scrutiny. 6 I simple steps for starting your businesssection 1: Ready to Start? Know Your Options: Different Types of Businesses 5 nonprofit organization I I advantages disadvantages A nonprofit may qualify for government or foundation A nonprofit must focus on educational or charitable grants. purposes and cannot profit those who created the organization. Nonprofit status offers protection from liability for directors and employees of the business. All profits remain within the organization. You can pay salaries to employees and consulting fees You must apply and qualify for 501c3 status or sales tax to contractors. exemption. 6 online business I I advantages disadvantages Startup costs are lower than with a brick-and-mortar Low conversion rates—on average, only 2 percent of business. visitors to an e-commerce site make purchases. You can do business with customers all over the Low barriers to entry for an online business mean there country—or world. is more competition. Customers appreciate the convenience of accessing Visitors have high expectations for online businesses your business 24/7. and less tolerance for problems. You have the flexibility to do business from anywhere, Being unable to touch merchandise can make anytime. customers less likely to buy. simple steps for starting your business I 7section 1: Ready to Start? Components of Business Ownership If you are currently an employee, you’re probably responsible for one area of business—say, sales or accounting. As an entrepreneur, however, you’ll wear many hats and be responsible for making sure all the components of your business run smoothly. NOT ONLY ARE YOU THE CEO OR PRESIDENT, BUT YOU’LL ALSO BE IN CHARGE OF: administration – answering phones, handling paperwork, office management and insurance issues accounting – bookkeeping, taxes, payables and receivables human resources – hiring, firing and managing employees marketing – creating and promoting your company’s image via advertising, PR and more sales – prospecting for new leads, cold calling, making sales presentations and closing customer service – taking orders, handling Even if you were complaints, building relationships skilled in all these production and fulfillment – manufacturing your product or arranging to have it made; shipping and roles, you wouldn’t warehousing have time to information technology – choosing, purchasing handle all of and troubleshooting technology them. Which are physical plant – selecting your location, negotiating leases, maintaining site most important to your business? Which will you THINK ABOUT THE AREAS ABOVE AND CONSIDER: focus on and Do you have weaknesses in any of these areas? which will you Can you take a course to improve your skills in the delegate? In what areas where you’re weak? order of priority? If there are duties that don’t fit your skills, can you hire employees, take on a partner or outsource these tasks? Even if you were skilled in all these roles, you wouldn’t have time to handle all of them. Which are most important to your business? Which will you focus on and which will you delegate? In what order of priority? 8 I simple steps for starting your businesssection 1: Ready to Start? Making It Legal When it comes to the nuts and bolts of launching your new business, there are three primary considerations: Choosing a legal business structure Understanding government rules and regulations affecting your business % Buying business insurance CHOOSING A LEGAL BUSINESS STRUCTURE You have several options for the legal structure of your business. A written agreement reviewed by an attorney is essential. Here’s an overview: " sole proprietorship: In this form of doing business, one person (you) owns and operates the business. On the plus side, your business earnings are taxed just once, and you alone are in charge of all business decisions. On the downside, sole proprietors are personally liable for any claims against their businesses, and often have more trouble getting financing. Many businesses start out as sole proprietorships, then switch to more complex structures. " partnership: In a general partnership, both partners manage the business and are responsible for its debts. In a limited partnership, certain (limited) partners are investors but do not manage the business. One advantage of partnerships: The partnership doesn’t pay tax; partners report profits or losses on their personal tax returns. The disadvantage: Partners are personally liable for any debts of the business. " “C” corporation (conventional): Incorporating protects you from liability for the company’s debts or claims against it. A corporation can sell stock, enabling you to raise money. However, corporations are strictly regulated and are taxed twice—the corporation pays income tax, and shareholders pay taxes on any dividends. simple steps for starting your business I 9 Learn more about government regulations at these websites: Department of Labor: WWW.DOL.GOV IRS: WWW.IRS.GOV SCORE: WWW.SCORE.ORGsection 1: Ready to Start? Making It Legal " “S” corporation (subchapter): An S corporation protects owners against liability and provides more tax benefits than a corporation. The corporation doesn’t pay federal income taxes; profits and losses are reported on shareholders’ individual tax returns. But complying with regulations can be costly and time-consuming, and you’re limited to a set amount of shareholders, which may be restrictive if you’re seeking to raise lots of capital. As a startup " limited liability company (LLC): An entrepreneur, you’ll LLC offers liability protection like a corporation, but without double taxation need these key because earnings and losses are reported on the owners’ personal taxes. There is no limit players on your team: on the number of members. Owners or • BANKER members in a multiple-member LLC should have a written membership agreement reviewed by • LAWYER an attorney. • ACCOUNTANT Always discuss your legal options with your • INSURANCE AGENT attorney and accountant before making a decision. SCORE mentors are also available to help you • BUSINESS MENTOR understand your options. Find them by asking friends, relatives and GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS AND YOUR BUSINESS colleagues for To keep your new business on the right side of the law, understand the government regulations recommendations— you must comply with. then checking out business registration, licenses and references. zoning approval: All businesses need to be registered either in the state where they will be Find a mentor at doing business (LLCs and corporations) or SCORE (www.score.org) their county of residence (sole proprietors). Wherever registered, the company needs a physical address (not a P.O. Box). Registration fees are usually under 200; there are also annual fees, which vary. Companies can be registered in one state as a “domestic” company and in other states as a “foreign” company. Depending upon the nature of the business, some companies also need to obtain state, county and/or municipal licenses. Contact your city and county for more information, and discuss your legal options with your attorney. 10 I simple steps for starting your businesssection 1: Ready to Start? Making It Legal labor and immigration laws: If you hire employees, you need to comply with state and federal labor laws regulating work hours, breaks, safety and many other factors. There are also laws governing the hiring of immigrants. IRS and social security withholding and payments: Even if the only person you pay is yourself, you are considered an “employer.” You must follow Internal Revenue Service (IRS), state and local guidelines for mandatory withholdings (taxes, Social Security, etc.), and either use a payroll service or set up bank accounts to deposit those funds. INSURING YOUR BUSINESS It may not be the first thing you think about when starting a business, but if you don’t purchase proper insurance, all your hard work could disappear in the blink of an eye. Consult an insurance broker to determine what types of insurance you need. These may include: property: Covers fire and other loss to buildings, building contents, inventory and home-based businesses. Add-ons such as business interruption insurance can expand this coverage. liability: Covers bodily injury and property damage to others caused by accidents on your property, such as if a customer slips and falls at your place of business. motor vehicle: Covers bodily injury and property damage resulting from the business use of your motor vehicles, such as if an employee drives a company van to make deliveries. umbrella liability: Provides additional liability insurance above the limits in your basic automobile and general liability policies. worker’s compensation: Covers injuries, death and loss of wages to workers injured on the job, including the owner, and protects you against employee lawsuits for damages. health: If you rely on your current job to receive health insurance, you’ll need to look into private health insurance options before starting your business. life: Many business partners buy “key man” life insurance on the partners in the business. If one owner dies, the proceeds enable the surviving partners to buy his or her share from the heirs. simple steps for starting your business I 11 It may not be the first thing you think about when starting a business, but if you don’t purchase proper insurance, all your hard work could disappear in the blink of an eye. section 1: Ready to Start? Business Plan Basics Why do you need a business plan? Some entrepreneurs think a business plan is only used to get financing. In reality, there are many more uses for a business plan. A well-written business plan: " Gives you an objective view of your business idea so you can enhance its strengths and shore up its weaknesses " Communicates your ideas to the rest of the team " Becomes the foundation for future planning as your business grows WHAT’S IN A BUSINESS PLAN? THE BASICS ARE SIMPLE: " Table of Contents " Executive Summary " Section One: The Business " Section Two: Financial Forecasts " Section Three: Supporting Data Let’s take a closer look at each section of a business plan. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The executive summary is an overview of the business plan. It briefly explains the com- pany’s inception, the business idea, the man- agement experience of the executive team and how the company plans to achieve success. It contains: " A brief description of the business " Whether you will seek a loan or investors " How much money you need " How the money will be used " When loans will be repaid " Revenue model and return on investment 12 I simple steps for starting your business The executive summary is an overview of the business plan. It briefly explains the company’s inception, the business idea, the management experience of the executive team and how the company plans to achieve success.section 1: Ready to Start? Business Plan Basics Although the executive summary is the first part of the business plan—and, often, the only part potential investors read—you should write it last, after you have thought through all the other elements of your plan. SECTION ONE: THE BUSINESS This part of your plan explains what your business does and how it will operate. Include: " A description of the business " A description of the product or service " An assessment of the market need for what you’re selling " Your location and why you selected it " An assessment of the competition and how you will beat them " A description of key management and personnel, their experience and backgrounds " How you will use new funds (if you’re seeking financing) SECTION TWO: FINANCIAL FORECASTS SECTION THREE: SUPPORTING DATA This section is a detailed plan of where the money In this section, you show that you’ve done to start your business will come from, how it will your due diligence by providing backup be spent and projected growth. It includes: for the information you provided elsewhere. Prove what the facts are and " A capital equipment list where you got your data. " Projected income and expenses " Assets, liabilities and equity " Sources and uses of funds (cash flow) " A break-even calculation Write a vision statement for your business. It should contain: the overall purpose of your business: What are you trying to achieve? Why are you in business? what your business does: Describe the products and services it provides. % what’s important to your business: What are the values your business lives by? Start now to think about your business plan. Turn the page to create your vision statement for your business. simple steps for starting your business I 13 Although the executive summary is the first part of the business plan— and, often, the only part potential investors read—you should write it last, after you have thought through all the other elements of your plan.section 1: Ready to Start? Vision Statement: Worksheet the purpose of my business is: I the business will provide the following products and/or services: I the things that are important and the values my business will live by include: I Get help from SCORE mentors. Visit www.score.org to find a mentor near you or get advice online. 14 I simple steps for starting your businesssection 2: Great Idea Getting Your Business Idea You’re reading this book because you have an idea for a business. Maybe you have ideas for more than one business Or maybe you just know that you want to start a business, but don’t have a concrete concept in mind. Use the steps below to develop or fine-tune your business concept. A good business STEP 1: idea fills a need Define a Market Need that exists in the A good business idea fills a need that exists in the market. You may market. You may have come up with your business idea because you, your friends or your family saw a have come up need for a product or service you couldn’t find. Maybe the product or service exists, but you think with your business you can do it better. Here are some questions to ask: idea because you, your friends What need does my product or service fill? What problem does it solve? or your family saw What are the features and benefits of my a need for a product or service? (“Features” are the product or service components of your product. For instance, a bicycle’s features might include a high-tech you couldn’t find. braking system and puncture-proof tires. The “benefits” of those features are safety and a smoother ride.) What is my competitive advantage? (How is your idea different from, or better than, the competition?) What is my business model? (How will you produce, deliver and market the product or service, and how will you make money?) 15 simple steps for starting your business Isection 2: Great Idea Getting Your Business Idea STEP 2: Examine Your Personal Background If you don’t yet have a firm business idea in mind, assessing your life and work experience can help you come up with one. If you do have a business idea, review your past experience to see how well it supports your concept. CONSIDER: how do my skills and experience fit with my idea? Suppose you want to open a Get input on your bakery. If you have worked in business idea by food service or retailing, those skills will help you in running your new business. If you giving a SCORE haven’t, you may need to learn more about these industries and gain experience before you move forward. Mentor, friend or family member an how risk-tolerant am I? How does my experience “elevator pitch” (two affect my startup risk? Past experience can minimize minutes or less) the risk of starting a business. explaining your Many people dream of opening restaurants, but this industry has business concept. a high failure rate. If you have no restaurant experience, your risk Have them ask you will be even greater. Taking into questions and offer account your experience and the potential risk of your startup, honest feedback. assess how comfortable you feel with moving forward. Hearing what someone else thinks how can I modify my idea to fit my experience? of your idea will help If your idea seems too risky given your experience, consider an you clarify your alternative. Using the example ideas. above, for instance, a person with no restaurant experience might consider a lower-risk business such as catering or a cupcake shop. do i h ave the passion to sell this idea to others? You need to be able to convince customers, investors and potential partners that your business idea is worthwhile. 16 I simple steps for starting your businessDisc Discour ouraging aging R Rapid Decline apid Decline Rap pi id d G Gr ro ow wt th h h Sl Slow Decline ow Decline section 2: Great Idea Getting Your Business Idea STEP 3: Research Your Industry Another way to fine-tune your business idea is by researching the industry you want to enter. You’ll want to know: " growth trends: How fast can a business in this industry Another way to fine- expect to grow? tune your business " profitability: What kind of profit can you expect to make? What are average margins in the industry? idea is by researching " trends: What current and future trends (demographic, economic, global) are affecting the industry? the industry you want " life cycle: The chart below illustrates the concept of life to enter. cycle. Ideally, you want to choose an industry that’s either at an early stage in its life cycle or in the reinvention stage. Choosing an industry in the mature or declining stages makes it harder to compete. Maturity Startup SOURCES OF INDUSTRY DATA I Use these tools to research your industry: The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the standard system federal agencies use to classify businesses. Search it online or go to www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/ to find your industry description. Trade associations also have valuable industry information. Search for associations online or consult the National Trade and Professional Associations (NTPA) Directory, available at libraries or online at www.associationexecs.com. Risk Management Association (RMA) Annual Statement Studies, available at libraries or online at www.rmahq.org, provide benchmark financial ratios for businesses in over 370 industries. 17 simple steps for starting your business I R Rein einv ve en ntion tion Enc Encour ouraging agingsection 2: Great Idea Getting Your Business Idea STEP 4: Consider Your Target Market Who will your business serve? You can’t be all things to all people. To create a winning concept, you need to narrow your market focus. Ask yourself these questions: Who will your business " channel position: Where in the sales chain serve? will your customers fall? In other words, are you You can’t be all selling to retailers, wholesalers, consumers or other businesses? things to all people. " number: How big is your potential market? To create a winning " income level/ability to pay: Are your concept, you need to customers upscale or bargain hunters? narrow your " demographics: What are the demographic market focus. characteristics of your market (location, company size, sex, age, marital status and education level)? " lifestyle: Are your target customers urban or rural? How do they spend their work, leisure and personal time? " habits: What are the spending habits of your target market? Where do they shop and how do they buy? On page 20, we’ll discuss researching your target market in more detail. AND DON’T FORGET... I Other key factors to think about when assessing a business idea include: competition: How many competitors are there? How big are they? What product or service features and benefits do they offer? suppliers: What kinds of suppliers will you need? Are sources of supply readily available? How reliable are they? business risk: Is the product or service you’re considering a short-lived fad, or does it have long-term potential? Are there legal or environmental factors that could threaten your business, such as pending legislation that might restrict your operations? Complete the Business Concept Outline Worksheet on the next page. 18 I simple steps for starting your businesssection 2: Great Idea Business Concept Outline: Worksheet BUSINESS IDEA I Describe your product or service idea, including features, benefits and business model. PERSONAL BACKGROUND I What aspects of your skills and work experience will translate to your business? INDUSTRY PROFILE I Note key facts about the industry you are entering, including growth trends, profitability and life cycle. TARGET MARKETS I Describe who will purchase your product or service, including the market size and their demographics, lifestyle and buying habits. OTHER KEY FACTORS I Describe any other factors that could affect your business. Get help from SCORE mentors. Visit www.score.org to find a mentor near you or get advice online. 19 simple steps for starting your business I