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WorkOne for Entrepreneurs - Part I


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

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Tracy Dishman

WorkOne for Entrepreneurs: Part 1

There was a period of six years in my career that I let my entrepreneurial spirit soar. There has never been another time in my professional life that I learned so much so fast!

I've got a lot of great information to share over the next few weeks for those of you who have that "special spirit"¢€¦the Entrepreneurial Spirit, as I call it. For some individuals, re-evaluting their career in the New Year or being downsized comes as an opportunity in disguise. Some people pull together a plan of action and go into business for themselves. For them, the New Year's Resolutions or the downsizing was the push they needed to make a transition to becoming their own boss. If that is the direction you decide to take, cover all your bases and plan well. Starting your own business shouldn't be a knee-jerk response. Know what it takes and proceed with intention, purpose and a solid business plan.

In having the advantage of hindsight, it is my hope that for those of you who may be at a critical time in your career, that you can take something positive with you from this series of articles on entrepreneurship. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the Eastern Indiana Regional Workforce Board, WorkOne and our partnership agencies and organizations suppport and build programs to encourage and to help entrepreneurs and businesses succeed. If we can help our entrepreneurs begin and grow their businesses in Region 6, those businesses will create jobs and that helps the economy in not only our region, but the entire State of Indiana.

Over the next few weeks, I will introduce you to local and regional people and organizations that are real resources that you can turn to for help and guidance. One of our region's greatest resources when it comes to starting and running your own business is the Small Business Development Center. They offer tons of free and lost cost services. Ted Baker, Regional Director of the East Central Indiana SBDC (Small Business Development Center) says, "Starting your own business can be very rewarding, but it can also be a very challenging endeavor. While you may be excited about the prospect of being your own boss, the greatest burden to small business ownership is accepting the responsibility that you must direct every facet of your venture. To help prepare you for all that is involved in running a small business, the SBDC has a number of tools to help you assess your business knowldege and identify areas where you may need help in improving your skills."

Starting your own business is a great idea, but are you cut out for it? Owning your own business brings big changes in the dynamics of your life, especially if you have a family. If you are used to being available to deliver and pick up your kids from school, this could change. You might be used to planning a family vacation the same week every year. Used to getting a regular check every week? Money won't come in on a regular basis like you are used to, especially in the beginning.

I also spoke with Tom Steiner who is a Business Advisor for the SBDC. He shared with me a free worksheet that the he gives to those entering into business for themselves. Tom said, "Try to determine exactly what you hope to accomplish by starting a business. List what you consider to be reasonalbe risks and rewards. Think about all forms (of risk), not only financial. Try to assess the risks involved and whether these are consistent with the resources you have available and your current position in life. Discuss the possibiltiy of starting a business with your spouse, family, and close friends. Be sure they understand what is involved and be sure you have their full support. Begin to think what you want this business to be, the products or services that you offer, and the market you will serve. Finally, try to think of ways the risks might be reduced while still leaving a reward level that satisfies your objectives."

The worksheet asks you to identify the Risks and Rewards of the following: Career, Family, Psychological, Financial. Which risks concern you the most? Why? How might you reduce these risks?

Next week I will share a simple business plan outline that comes from the SBDC. You can get many many resources for starting or growing your own business by visiting the SBDC web site at www.ISBDC.org and www.Work-One.org.

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Tracy Dishman is the marketing director for WorkOne and Eastern Indiana Regional Workforce Board (EIRWB). Readers may write to Dishman at P.O. Box 1856, Muncie, Indiana 47308-1856 or tdishman@work-one.org.