Certification, regulation, speculation, hesitation, capitulation, frustration, documentation, preparation, (sometimes) jubilation, and, hopefully in the long run, satisfaction are all part of the entrepreneurial vocabulary.
At EntrePaducah, we see entrepreneurs go through all these stages. Men and women come into our office inspired by the prospect of starting a business and being their own boss. I really wish we could record those initial conversations to play back later when a little extra inspiration is needed.
Next comes the inquisition stage of starting a business. We always say it. You need a business plan. You need to know how much you need to make to stay in business. You need to know how you’ll operate and market your business to meet those sales goals.
Business plans aren’t easy, but you’re preparing to lead, not follow.
The key word in the definition of entrepreneur is risk, as an entrepreneur is someone who assumes risks related to starting a business venture. Business counselors love to use analogies when describing the need for business plans, so here’s my contribution for the month. If you had never gone swimming before, wouldn’t you find out how deep the water is before you jump in? Since you can’t see the bottom for yourself, you would measure, you would ask others and then you would take the risk.
A business article I read recently looked at “Five Old School Rules You Can Break When Starting Up.” The first rule they suggested breaking was about writing a business plan before starting up. I could hear the collective “woohoo” and “I told you so” from the non-business plan writing fans.
Good readers, however, know that sexy headlines are just a means to grab your attention.
Paragraph three of the same article said, “If you decide to break this rule, either: (1) Do a quick One Minute Business Plan and (2) Schedule a time six to nine months into the future when you’ll write your business plan.
So, at the end of the day, you still need a business plan and EntrePaducah can help.
One year ago, EntrePaducah sponsored its first Business Plan Competition.
With a donation from Paducah Bank, we were able to award the winning entrepreneur with $2,500 seed money for their business. The two-phase contest requires participants to submit a written business plan to a panel of judges. Finalists then present their concept to another panel of judges for a live, oral presentation.
Last year’s winner, Dream Green, launched its business in August after winning the contest in March. Dream Green collects recyclable materials curbside and, through January, April Freeman and Casi McClure have collected more than 80,000 pounds of recyclables. It’s fair to say that all the words in paragraph two are now part of their regular vocabulary.
EntrePaducah is proud of the way they planned their business.
Fast forward to 2012, EntrePaducah is proud to announce the Second Annual EntrePaducah/Paducah Bank Business Plan Competition.
Watch for details on the EntrePaducah website (entrepaducah.com) starting March 1. If you know a budding entrepreneur who’s ready to try business planning, spread the word.
At the end of the contest, we want to add one more word to the entrepreneur’s vocabulary: Congratulations!
Terry Reeves is the concierge for EntrePaducah, a joint effort by Paducah and McCracken County governments, the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce and Paducah Economic Development to foster small-business growth. Contact him at 270-443-1746 or email@example.com.