Kick-start your business in 2024

Kick-start your business in 2024

QUESTION: I am thinking about starting a business but don’t know what steps I should take. Can you give me some direction in this regard?

ANSWER: Starting a new business is quite an undertaking that requires courage as well as confidence that you have what it takes to succeed.

The first thing you should do is construct a written business plan. I see too many entrepreneurs who invest a lot of money with start-up expenses before doing the necessary due diligence. A well-constructed business plan will address all of the necessary steps to take in the formation of a new business.

I normally am not one to encourage shortcuts. However, the SCORE organization has developed a one-page business model that helps you answer the critical questions facing a start-up business.

In essence, your business model is the structure with which you will take your product or service to market and make a profit. It makes you answer questions like who are your typical customers and how will you reach out to them? Who are your competitors, and how much can you charge for your product or service?

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Answering these questions can help you begin to crystallize your thoughts about your business model:

Do you have the necessary funds to cover your start-up costs, and will your monthly cash flow be sufficient to cover your costs of operation until you reach break-even?

Who are your target customers, and what value will you deliver to them?

How will you reach your customers? What is your marketing strategy? How much will it cost?

What is your e-commerce strategy, and what role will it play in your business?

Who is your competition, and how will you compete? What are your competitive advantages?

How much are your customers willing to pay for the value you offer? What are they currently paying, and what are your pricing tactics?

What resources are needed to produce your product or service, deliver it to market and make a profit? What infrastructure will it take to do it?

Do you have a team in place including an attorney, accountant and insurance agent? You can’t know or do everything, and you need to have professionals to back you up.

Richmond SCORE is conducting a two-hour workshop on the subject at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Chesterfield North Courthouse Road Library, 325 Courthouse Road, Richmond 23236. Cost is $35. To register, log on to