Learning how to start a small business is no easy feat, but with a little help it is possible.
Ken Byrd, an advisor with the Small Business Development Center, discussed how to do so with members of the Young Professionals of Cleburne on Wednesday at the Cleburne Conference Center.
An extension of the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce, YPC’s mission is to connect, develop and engage young professionals in Cleburne to have a positive impact on the future of the community.
During the monthly meeting, guest speakers strive to engage young professionals in leadership development, networking, finding voice in the community and community service.
The SMDC provides a path of assistance for those individuals — including current business owners — who either want to start up a business, expand their existing business or purchase a business.
This path includes:
• Assistance with putting a business plan together including financial projections.
• Assistance with determining marketing efforts.
• Overview and market information of a particular industry.
• Provide data of who the competition is in the area.
• Assistance with determining the capital needs of the business, whether start up or existing.
• Assistance with determining the source of funding the needs of the business.
• Assist the owner with a loan package preparation — if needed — for either the U.S. Small Business Administration or conventional funding.
Byrd said their services are free since they are funded by the SBA, the state of Texas and McLennan Community College in Waco.
He’s been in the banking business for over 49 years and said he loves the small business community.
Their goal is to help people who work in small businesses, he said. They have access to databases so their clients can look at demographics and competitors that pertain to their type of business.
When starting a business, he said there are a couple of things you must do.
“Credit does matter,” he said. “Pay your bills on time. It’s important.”
Have cash and collateral available; look into your marketing strategies and keeping contacts; have a certified public accountant to keep the books; and have a good business plan.
“Tell us how you’re going to be successful,” he said.
Regardless if you own your own business or work for a company or individual, he said there are some things you can do to ensure a good work environment:
• Conversation: The conversations you have at work should be encouraging and positive. Don’t talk about people behind their backs.
• Character: Support your fellow employees and employers. Having integrity is important.
• Conduct: Have a good attitude.
• Commitment: Ask yourself if you’re committed to your job, your boss and the company you work for.
“Prioritize things that make a difference in your life,” he said. “It’s important to manage your stress.”
For information, email Byrd at firstname.lastname@example.org.