What you should know when launching your start-up
For many entrepreneurs, the first step in launching their start-up is, by far, the hardest.
According to a recent report by CBInsights, the number one reason why a start-up business fails is because of misreading market demand, followed by running out of funding. Fortunately, The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center (SBDC) can help start ups avoid these pitfalls and get on the path to success.
Patrick Keehan, one of the SBDC’s small business consultants, has witnessed first-hand how the Center has helped bolster start-ups as they prepare to make their first forays into the business world. Mr. Keehan began his career at the SBDC as an intern working hands-on with budding entrepreneurs as they developed their business plans. Now, as a full-time staff member following his graduation with an MBA from The University of Scranton, Mr. Keehan specializes in helping start-ups with a variety of business needs, from funding to showing them how to legally establish their business.
“A start-up is essentially the early stages of getting that business up and running up until the point where they make their first sales,” he said. “Usually, existing businesses come to us for very specific needs, but, as a startup, they often need help in multiple areas, such as accounting, logistics, and marketing. With the help of our marketing interns, we can help these startups put together marketing plans so they can figure out who their target market is, which a lot of new (and some current) businesses aren’t sure of.”
Mr. Keehan explained that having a solid marketing plan truly helps drive the mission and vision of a business forward because all its activities center around the target market and satisfying an unmet need for them. However, there are also other areas to consider when starting a business, such as credit scores.
“Many clients might have a great business idea, but if they are looking for any kind of financing and their credit score isn’t high enough, no matter how great of an idea they have and how much we want to help them, a bank won’t likely consider them,” he said. “Until you can improve your credit score, you won’t likely be able to get the loans you need to start your business. There is free credit counseling that we send some of our clients to so they can work on their scores and then come back to us when they’re in a better place. At that point, their financial application will be in a much stronger position for when they apply for their business loans.”
And, perhaps, the most important lesson any potential entrepreneur can learn is that it takes time to truly start—and grow—a business.
“A business’s success ultimately stems down to the person themselves and how much time they’re willing to put into the business,” Mr. Keehan said. “If you’re not willing to put the time into developing your business, then it can take you a really long time to get it off the ground. That is why it’s important to ask yourself at the beginning how much time you’re willing to spend on the business, especially because a lot of people still work another job while trying to start a business. But, if you don’t put the time in, you will never realize the dream of starting your own business. It’s a sacrifice you need to make.”
For more information on how The University of Scranton Small Business Development Center can help your start-up thrive, visit www.scrantonsbdc.com.