The current economic situation in America has disappointed hundreds of thousands of people. Many have been left without jobs, wondering what to do next. Some have remained unemployed, some have taken temporary jobs, and some have thought of abandoning the system to start their own business.
SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneurial education, showed about twenty local “dreamers,” the first steps in making the decision to start their own small business at the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury.
“With the declining job market, we have a lot of people who have been displaced. We are helping them fulfill the American entrepreneurial dream,” Joseph Romano, SCORE 36’s Chapter Chair, said in an interview before the event.
With attendees from over ten local towns, the audience was almost as diverse as the seven on-site SCORE counselors. These counselors, who are among the 13,500 SCORE volunteers nationwide, have backgrounds in things varying from working at Fortune 500 Companies to dealing with not for profit management.
“The volunteers are composed of former executives, advertisers, CPA’s, and bankers. We have enough volunteers to try to marry each one up with the right person,” Romano asserted.
Composed exclusively of these mentors, SCORE provides business advice to those who cannot afford consultants. The organization is running off of a small grant from the Small Business Administration, and has about four hundred branches nationwide. If your local chapter does not have a specialist in a career that you wish to purse, SCORE has affiliations with local executives who are willing to give you a one-hour q and a session, free of charge.
If you’re still skeptical, think again. During the presentation, one of the mentors claimed, “the sky is the limit.” The first step is just having a goal, and a desire to follow up with it.
“The vast majority of people just have an idea. But, some come very prepared with business plans, and others are currently in business and just want to help it grow,” Romano stated.
John E. Schubert of Long Branch is one of those ‘others.’
A former electrical engineer, Schubert has surpassed the idea stage, and has moved on to the next level. He has a hearing condition called Tinnitus, and, with this as inspiration, he has created a product that could theoretically help reverse hearing loss in patients with this condition.
“I am at the prototype and development stage. I have a circuit built and everything,” he said in an interview before the presentation.
But, as SCORE can tell you, it is not all as easy as it seems. With this in mind, they began the presentation by explaining that many of the myths associated with starting your own business are anything but true.
“When you work for somebody else, they empty the trash. When you own your own business, you have to do it,” Romano said in an interview.
Sorry – this means that you will have to pay taxes, work long hours, and do some things that you just don’t want to do. Being your own boss can sometimes be challenging, but in the end, it may prove to be all you ever wanted. It’s just a matter of getting it started.
And here’s what everyone has been waiting for: cash flow, the most important asset to your business. In today’s market, it is becoming harder and harder to find investors that are willing to take a risk on your business proposal.
“At this point, I just have to find people who are willing to make an investment,” Schubert said.
But, as SCORE explains, there are ways to get around relying solely on that one perfect philanthropist to come along. There are personal savings, home equity, family, and/or friends. You can also get started with bank loans, micro loans, peer-to-peer loans, or even credit cards.
However, because of increasing competition, business owners have to take an extra step to distinguish themselves amongst the rest.
“Research on competition is paramount,” a SCORE counselor said during the event, “you need to be able to differentiate your business, or it won’t succeed in today’s market.”
Last year alone, SCORE assisted 336,411 small businesses and helped create 19,732 new small businesses. By 2017, they hope to create an additional one million jobs nationally.
“There are a lot of advantages to having a small business. You have independence, you control your own destiny, you create wealth, follow your passion, and support your community,” Romano said.
For more information on SCORE’s free programs, please visit www.SCORE.org.