Starting a Business

There are great rewards to be enjoyed by entrepreneurs who plan well and work hard in the thousands of successful small businesses located in our three-state, 15-county region. Our strong business climate and stable, diverse economy has not gone unnoticed. Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Cincinnati as first in “Best Bets for Lowest Business Failure Rates” and “Top Hot Spots for Small Business Growth.”

But there are also risks associated with the start up of any venture and if you’re contemplating creating your own business, you can improve your chances of success by evaluating your strengths, weaknesses and resources. Here’s a brief checklist you can use to determine the viability of your business concept:

  • Identify why you want to start a business
  • Evaluate your own personal skills, experience and business knowledge
  • Determine a niche to fill
  • Identify the product or service you plan to sell
  • Perform a market analysis
  • Plan your start-up, including a name and legal structure, business premises and merchandise
  • Determine record-keeping systems
  • Identify financial resources, including assets and liabilities
  • Develop cost estimates of start-up and expenses for one month
  • Create a forecast of estimated cash flow

One of the most important tools of a successful start-up business is an effective business plan. Use this checklist of components to get started:

  1. Introductory elements, including a cover page, executive summary and table of contents
  2. Business description, including an overview of your industry and company; description of your products and services; positioning statement and your pricing strategy
  3. Description of your market, including potential customers, market size and trends, competitive analysis and sales estimates
  4. Product development overview, including current development status, production process, development costs, labor, expense and capital requirements
  5. Sales and marketing, including your strategy, suggested method of sales, advertising and promotion plans
  6. Management description, including ownership structure, governance plans and support services
  7. Financial review, including risk and cash flow statements, balance sheet, income statement, funding request and ROI projections

For more in-depth information on starting a business, please check out the Starting a Business section of Small Business Links.

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