Q. How do I know I have a good business idea?

A. Evaluate the potential for success: Be clear about what problem or pain your product or service solves, who will buy it, how you will market to them and if you can make money at it. Watch SCORE’s video series on building a business model canvas and then write your own using our downloadable template. 

Q. I have a business idea. Where do I start?

A. Attend the SBDC StartSmart class. Want more than a single class? Attend the 5 week SCORE Simple Steps workshop for a hands on experience with your business. Link to register for classes is on our home page

Q. How do I choose a business name?

A. Brainstorm business names that represent you and your product. Pick a name that speaks to your target audience. Then, check the availability and reserve it for ($22) with the State of Utah.

Q. Do I need a business plan and how do I write one?

A. Yes, a business plan will assist you in organizing business details and provide a road map to follow as you get started. (NOTE: lenders require a business plan with realistic cash flow projections)
The first step to writing your business plan is understanding the business climate and potential by researching your market, industry and competition. Succinctly write 8-10 pages in 3rd person, clearly describing the aspects of business that show potential for success. Meet with our business consultant for help starting, reviewing, and editing your business plan. There is also a business plan template on our resources page for download.

Q. What are the biggest challenges to starting a business and how do I overcome them?

A. Biggest challenges are adequate funding, work / time constraints, impact of living without benefits and compensation, support, and courage to do it. You can overcome these challenges by finding unique ways to reduce startup expenses, find funding and coordinating commitments.

Q. What are the mistakes most new business owners make?

A. Not learning about and accessing free helpful resources. There are many resources in place to help small business owners and entrepreneurs, the SBDC only being one of them. Other common mistakes include: taking on too many products, being unclear about your uniqueness, and ineffective marketing. 

Q. How do I create a legal business in Utah?

A. Register your business with the State of Utah Division of Corporations.

Q. How do I start a Non-Profit?

A. Determine your unique way to support a worthy cause, register as a Utah nonprofit corporation, then file with the IRS for tax exempt status. Build a great board of directors who can help fundraise. (NOTE: Run it just like a well-funded business, but successfully do good with all revenue.)
UtahNonProfits.org

Q. How much does it cost to start a business?

A. Research what you need to purchase to get started, include state registration ($22-$70) and city business licensing fees. Additionally, calculate what it will cost to operate until you start making a profit, including cost of goods, and fixed expenses.

Q. Where do I get money to start my business?

A. “Bootstrap” by paying for it yourself. If not possible, look at other sources close to you such as family or friends. Finally, look at loans, investment or other options. (NOTE: Get to know your banker/credit union and consider microlending)

Q. Are there grants available for women business owners?

A. Yes, we suggest you search for grants and competitions in specific industries or your immediate community.  Also see the Womens Business Center Of Utah for more informtion. https://wbcutah.com/ 
Zion’s Bank – Smart Women Grants
Business Owners’ Idea Cafe Grants 

Q. How do I set my prices?

A. Discover what the perceived value of the product or service is or should be to the target audience. Ensure there is a margin to make a profit. (NOTE: If customers comment on your wonderfully low prices, raise them until they are content with value vs. price)

Q. How do I better manage my cash flow?

A. Look ahead and avoid cash shortages and maximize opportunities to earn more, spend less or both. Estimate future sales and expenses, adjust for impact of marketing plan.

Q. How do I raise prices?

A. Increase prices as well as additional value/offering that does not add to your cost. Consistently raise prices in intervals and inform customers ahead of time.

Q. How do I fund an expansion?

A. If business savings are not available, consider friends and family, and utilize your banker, vendors, government programs and/or crowdfunding.

Q. Do I need a website for my business?

A.It’s important to have some sort of online presence where clients and potential clients can learn about your business, whether that be through a website or social media.

If you do plan to sell online, you absolutely need a user-friendly website. Make sure you have an online location that is accessible and helpful to your target audience to maximize sales. Website can be an easy way to gain exposure and accessibility 24/7. Remember that a website needs Search Engine Optimization and that social media is driving website traffic.

Q. Is marketing through social media enough?

A. Social media marketing is a very effective way to interact with and engage your target audience, and drive sales. However, a successful marketing strategy includes a diverse range of ways to market and promote your company. Consider best ways to interact with and remind your target audience that you exist. The SBDC provides a marketing class to help anyone be more effective, please check on home page for more details.

Q. How do I identify my target audience?

A. Determine the group of people or organizations with the problem or need your product or service solves. Find out as much about this group as possible. This  will help you determine pricing, and how to market to them most effectively.

Demographics: Gender, age, marital status, location, education etc. Psychographics: Lifestyle, habits, passions, preferences etc.

Q. What is market research and how do I do it?

A. Market research is the process of gathering and analyzing information in order to assess the viability of your business. You can access published research data and perform focus groups, surveys and product testing. Great places to get started include:

  • Sizeup
  • Google Trends
  • Your local library

Q. How do I work on my business, not just in it?

A. Recruit the right people and delegate day-to-day operations. Step away and strategize how to grow your business! This will help you be effective and thorough. 

Q. How do I recruit and retain great employees?

A. Find talented people who match your company culture and pay them well. Create an employee-first philosophy and implement flexibility to accommodate their personal lives. Indeed is a great website source for finding employees.

Q. How do I manage my time as a business owner?

A. Schedule and prioritize, use tools to be efficient.

Q. How do I create an effective advisory board?

A. Establish a roster based on need, then recruit for diversity of expertise and perspective. 

Q. Do I need workers’ compensation coverage?

A. Utah law requires all businesses that hire employees to obtain a workers’ compensation policy. For workers’ compensation purposes, an “employee” is anyone, including a contractor, subcontractor or contractor laborer, who works for an employer in providing the goods or services of a business.

To obtain a quote, go to wcf.com. If you have questions, please call WCF Insurance at 877-319-2348.

Q. How do I find a good mentor?

A. Find those with specialties that match your needs. Here at the SBDC we offer free consultations with Certified Business Analysts, who have expertise in several different fields. Just click “Register” on our home page to set up an appointment. Determine your need(s) and make friends with and ask other owners who have had success in that area. 

Q. How do I find other business owners?

A. Ask acquaintances for introductions and take advantage of opportunities to meet and talk to new people, especially at place or groups that business ownership gravitate to. There are several business and marketing events around Utah, which offer great opportunities to meet with other small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Q. How do I make connections and build strategic relationships?

A. Determine which strategic partnership might accelerate your business. Arrange for an introduction and get to know them. Build a good rapport then share your clear idea and the mutual benefits for both organizations.

Q. What kind of books will help me with my business?

  • A.Main Street Entrepreneur by Michael Glauser
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim FerrisThe E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
  • The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
  • The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
  • Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Q. How do I balance my life and business?

A. Equal balance is not possible, but take care of yourself first, ensure support in your business and in your family, use technology to save time, prioritize and set boundaries.

Q. How do I protect my idea?

A. Either through trade secrets or patent.

Trade Secrets: You internally safeguard your unique design or process from being shared outside of the company.

Patent: You publically share with and receive authorization from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to exclusive make, use, or sell an invention.

 

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