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A few helpful tips for becoming an entrepreneur

Union Bank of California

Posted: June 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Editor’s Note: Locally entrepreneurs can get help at the Small Business Development Center located on the College of the Canyons Valencia campus.

Starting a business can be an exciting time. The appeal of being your own boss and reaping the rewards of your creativity and hard work can be a powerful motivator to go out on your own. 

If you are considering a start-up business and believe you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur, the following tips may help you as you build your successful venture:

Research your market

Is there a need for your product or service? Does your business provide value to your potential customers? Is your idea profitable? These are questions you’ll need to answer to determine the feasibility of your business idea. 

A feasibility study can help you objectively determine if your business idea is commercially viable before investing valuable time and resources. 

Contact your local university or college, Small Business Administration, or other business advocacy groups to help you navigate this process. 

Develop a plan

A business plan is a document that describes your business, its objectives, strategies, target market and financial forecasts. 

It should include a mission statement, research on your target market (demographics), industry analysis (size, economics, trends, success factors, challenges, etc.), a marketing plan and financial projections and sales.
Not only is it a useful planning tool, a solid business plan is often required for securing major contracts, business loans or other funding.

The Small Business Administration’s website provides a template at that may be helpful in creating your business plan.

Secure capital

It is important for business owners to have an accurate understanding of not only how much capital will be needed to start the business, but all other financial aspects of maintaining the business.
Calculate costs of doing business, projected sales and estimate how long it will take before you may see a profit. Keep in mind that you may not begin to see a profit right away, so it may be prudent to have enough cash reserves to carry you through at least the first six months of operation.

File proper paperwork

Establishing the legal structure of your business and obtaining the proper federal and state permits, identification numbers and licenses is a fundamental part of the process to prevent tax penalties or other glitches down the road.

Will you register as a corporation, limited liability company, partnership or sole proprietorship?  Each has different liability and tax pros and cons, so it may be helpful to speak with a financial or tax advisor to discuss your options. 

Build a winning team

Know your strengths and weaknesses and build a team that strengthens your short-comings. This doesn’t apply to just the management and employees you hire, but can also include a network of trusted advisers who can complement your skills and augment your weaknesses. 

Consider your banker, CPA and reliable vendors a part of your team. Take advantage of business mentoring and training offered through the SBA and programs at the local Chamber of Commerce or other business incubators in your area.

The foregoing article is intended to provide general information about starting a business and is not considered financial or tax advice from Union Bank.  Please consult your financial or tax adviser.

Janice France-Pettit is a senior vice president and regional manager for Union Bank, overseeing the Simi Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley region. The foregoing article is general information about starting a business and is not considered financial or tax advice from Union Bank.  Please consult your financial or tax advisor.

France-Pettit’s column represents her own views, and not necessarily those of The Signal. Visit for more information.


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