Hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, training, mentoring, contacts with venture capitalists, online resources … it’s all coming your way if you are an entrepreneur or small business owner. The Startup America Partnership, now in its own startup stage, will bring cross-sector and high-octane help to small businesses.
When the applications go online, will you be ready?
Now’s the time to do a business plan, a real one, that looks at your financials, your market, your competition, your best- and worst-case scenarios. When you’re done, you’ll know what you need, how to use it, and where it can take you.
That’s how you get ready to apply.
You need to know — and potential supporters need to know:
- What will success look like for you? What revenue and profit margin, how many customers, what market share, how many employees and locations mean “success” for you?
- How will market trends affect your business? Your industry? What’s changing that can help or hurt you? Demographics? Economic factors? Technology? Regulations?
- Do you have a competitive advantage? Are there new players in your field? Have old competitors gone away?
- How will you grow? Geographically by expanding locations? Or do you have new products planned? Can you target a new market?
- How much will growth cost? What will the money be used for and when will you need it?
- Who’s on your team? What is their expertise? How have they demonstrated leadership? Are you passionate? Can you convince the people holding the purse strings and offering services that you have the right stuff?
With a good plan, you’ll know if you really want help ramping up your social media presence on LinkedIn and Facebook or if you need better software to streamline customer management or if what you really need is an infusion of capital.
To nudge you along in the planning process and help you do it right, I will be teaching a free webinar, Get Ready to Grow Your Business, at noon on Tuesday, May 17. You can also download our free ebook Getting Ready to Grow: The Tools You’ll Need.
Take a good look at these resources and your business plan. Make sure you reach for the right helping hand when Startup America goes live.
Are you going to apply for assistance from Startup America? Why? Why not? What do you think should be added to the help being offered?