BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Entrepreneurship-and-Communication-Skills-notes

In order to increase chances of survival small businesses need to identify firms that offer support services where they can get help with the running of the business. Some of the support services for small enterprises include:

  1. Training services

This is necessary to improve capital in entrepreneurial, management and technical skills

  1. Marketing services

To determine market demand and provide market linkages

  1. Business counseling

This will help improve management. Capacity of small business owners in effective planning, implementation and control of business operations

  1. Banking services

This enables businesses to build credibility, reduce risks of handling cash and save funds for future use.

  1. Insurance services

Insurance firms are important for small business as it enables them reduce risks associated with operating businesses.

  1. Postal services

To facilitate effective and affordable communication

  1. Book keeping

To ensure business records are accurate and up to date and that the organization is tax compliant.      

  1. Business incubators

To provide a nurturing environment for small businesses through the provision of a wide range of business support services such as training, marketing assistance, networking, tax preparation.

  1. Technology provision

Enables small businesses to embrace appropriate and affordable technologies e.g. Agriculture Technology Development Centers, Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute ( KIRDI)

Before you start-basic checklist

YOU

 

  1. Are you a self-starter?
    yes           no
  2. Are you willing to work harder than you’ve ever worked before and for long hours without the security of as steady paycheck?
    yes           no
  3. Can you afford to work without knowing how much money – or success – you’ll ultimately earn?
    yes           no
  4. Are you ready to make tough decisions on your own?
    yes           no
  5. Do you know when you’re “in over your head” and need outside help?
    yes           no
  6. Are you willing to seek outside help? Do you know where to find it?
    yes           no
  7. Can you deal effectively with other people?
    yes           no
  8. Are you an effective leader, motivator, and communicator?
    yes           no
  9. Are you willing to delegate authority and responsibility to others?
    yes           no
  10. Are you willing to admit it when you’re wrong?
    yes           no
  11. Do you project a professional image to your clients and customers?
    yes           no
  12. Can people trust what you say?
    yes           no
  13. Can people trust you to do what you say you will do?
    yes           no
  14. Do you have managerial experience?
    yes           no

 

SKILLS

  1. Do you have the technical skills you will need to operate your particular business?
    yes           no
  2. Do you have the business skills you need to run a business?
    yes           no
  3. Do you know your strengths and weaknesses?
    yes           no
  4. Do you have business partners or advisors who can compensate for your weaknesses?
    yes           no
  5. Have you worked in a business like the one you want to start?
    yes           no
  6. Have you researched your business thoroughly?
    yes           no
  7. Do you read a lot about your business and its industry?
    yes           no
  8. Are you a good listener?
    yes           no

 

YOUR IDEA

  1. Is your product or service idea unique?
    yes           no
  2. Does it serve a customer need or want?
    yes           no
  3. Have you defined the competitive advantage your product or service offers ?
    yes           no
  4. Do you know what your product or service will cost you?
    yes           no
  5. Have you defined the “image” you want your product or service to have in the marketplace?
    yes           no
  6. Can competitors easily copy your product or service?
    yes           no
  7. Have you located suppliers who will sell you what you need at a reasonable price?
    yes           no

 

YOUR BUSINESS

  1. Have you evaluated the various forms of ownership to determine which one is best for you?
    yes           no
  2. If you have chosen to form a sole proprietorship, can you afford the unlimited personal liability?
    yes           no
  3. If you have chosen to form a partnership, have you created a partnership agreement?
    yes           no
  4. If you have chosen to form a partnership, have you determined which partners are general partners and which are limited partners?
    yes           no
  5. If you have chosen to form a partnership, have you determined how a partner can leave the business?
    yes           no
  6. If you have chosen to form a partnership, have you determined how you will settle disputes?
    yes           no
  7. If you have chosen to form a corporation, have you filed the articles of partnership with the appropriate state?
    yes           no
  8. If you have chosen to form a corporation, are you willing to tolerate the “double taxation” of this form of ownership?
    yes           no
  9. Have you considered the Limited Liability Company (LLC) as a form of ownership?
    yes           no
  10. If you have chosen to form an LLC, have you filed both the articles of organization and the operating agreement with the proper state?
    yes           no
  11. If appropriate, have you filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for your product?
    yes           no
  12. Have you given your business, product, and service names proper trademark protection?
    yes           no
  13. If the answer to question #42 is “Yes,” are you using the trademark properly?
    yes           no
  14. If your business is built around original works of authorship, have you protected them with a copyright?
    yes           no

 

YOUR STRATEGY

  1. Have you defined the core values that will guide your business?
    yes           no
  2. Do you have a well-articulated, meaningful mission statement for your business?
    yes           no
  3. Have you assessed your company’s strengths and weaknesses?
    yes           no
  4. Have you identified the key opportunities and threats facing your business?
    yes           no

 

KEY SUCCESS FACTORS

  1. Do you know what the key success factors are for your business?
    yes           no
  2. Have you analyzed your competition well enough to know their strengths and weaknesses?
    yes           no
  3. Have you established meaningful goals and objectives for your company?
    yes           no
  4. Have you formulated a clear, coherent strategy that will serve as your company’s “game plan”?
    yes           no
  5. Have you created specific tactics to implement your company’s strategy in the marketplace?
    yes           no
  6. Have you established accurate control systems that will give you feedback on how well your strategy is working and how well your business is doing?
    yes           no

 

YOUR MARKET

  1. Have you evaluated key economic trends and how they will affect your business?
    yes           no
  2. Have you evaluated key technological trends and how they will affect your business?
    yes           no
  3. Have you evaluated key sociopolitical trends and how they will affect your business?
    yes           no
  4. Have you evaluated key demographic and lifestyle trends and how they will affect your business?
    yes           no
  5. Have you identified your company’s target market?
    yes           no
  6. Have you researched your target customers enough to know their likes, dislikes, wants, needs, and preferences?
    yes           no
  7. Have you determined the level of satisfaction your target customers have with existing products or services?
    yes           no
  8. Have you defined how you will create value for your customers?
    yes           no
  9. Do you know why your customers will want to buy your company’s product or service?
    yes           no

 

YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY

  1. Have you developed a marketing strategy that is customer-focused?
    yes           no
  2. Have you developed specific practices to implement this strategy?
  3. Have you developed a marketing strategy that will produce a quality product or service for your customers?
    yes           no
  4. Have you developed specific practices to implement this strategy?
    yes           no
  5. Have you developed a marketing strategy that is focused on providing customer convenience?
    yes           no
  6. Have you developed specific practices to implement this strategy?
    yes           no
  7. Have you developed a marketing strategy that will generate innovations in your product or service over time?
    yes           no
  8. Have you developed specific practices to implement this strategy?
    yes           no
  9. Have you developed a marketing strategy that exploits speed as a competitive advantage?
    yes           no
  10. Have you developed specific practices to implement this strategy?
    yes           no
  11. Have you developed a marketing strategy that is built on customer service?
    yes           no
  12. Have you developed specific practices to implement this strategy?
    yes           no
  13. Do you know what stage of the product life cycle your product or service is in?
    yes           no
  14. Have you identified the channels of distribution you will use to get your product or service to your target customers?
    yes           no
  15. Have you established a price that will be reasonable to customers, profitable for your business, and will create the image you want in the marketplace?
    yes           no
  16. Have you determined which advertising media will be most effective in reaching your target audience?
    yes           no
  17. Have you identified the unique selling position that you will build your advertising messages around?
    yes           no
  18. Do the ads you are planning to run answer the customer’s question, “Why should I consider buying this product or service?”
    yes           no

 

YOUR FINANCIAL PLAN

  1. Have you created projected income statements for three years for your business?
    yes           no
  2. Have you created projected balance sheets for three years for your business?
    yes           no
  3. Have you developed estimates for your one-time startup expenses?
    yes           no
  4. Have you developed estimates for your on-going business expenses?
    yes           no
  5. Can you analyze your company’s financial statements using ratio analysis?
    yes           no
  6. Do you know what your company’s breakeven point is?
    yes           no
  7. Have you reworked your startup cost estimates to see if you can lower your breakeven point?
    yes           no
  8. Do you know how long your company’s cash flow cycle is?
    yes           no
  9. Have you developed a cash budget for your company’s first year of operation using a pessimistic, optimistic, and most likely sales forecast?
    yes           no
  10. Have you developed a plan for collecting your accounts receivable promptly?
    yes           no
  11. Have you set up a functional system for paying your accounts payable on time?
    yes           no
  12. Have you set up a system for monitoring your company’s inventory?
    yes           no
  13. Do you know how much inventory you should have?
    yes           no
  14. Have you developed a plan to avoid the “cash crunch?”
    yes           no

 

YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

  1. Have you developed a complete business plan for your company?
    yes           no
  2. Does your plan include the “5 M’s’ – Market, Methodology, Management, Money, and Menaces?
    yes           no
  3. Have you scored your plan on the Business Plan evaluation Scale?
    yes           no

 

FINANCING YOUR BUSINESS

  1. Do you know how much money it will take to launch your business, and have you included a little extra for “Murphy’s Law”?
    yes           no
  2. Do you understand the implications of both debt and equity capital to your business?
    yes           no
  3. Have you identified family members and friends who might be willing to finance your business?
    yes           no
  4. Have you identified potential angels who might be willing to finance your business?
    yes           no
  5. Is your business a possible candidate for a simplified registration or exemption for a public offering?
    yes           no
  6. Have you established a business relationship with a banker?
    yes           no
  7. Have you answered the seven questions every entrepreneur should be able to answer before approaching a banker for financing?
    yes           no
  8. Have you considered other forms of debt financing?
    Trade credit?
               
    Equipment suppliers?
               
    Commercial finance companies?
               
    Savings and Loans?
               
    Stock brokers?
               
    Insurance companies?
               
    Credit unions?
               
    The Small Business Administration?
               
    State and local development programs?
    yes           no

 

YOUR LOCATION AND LAYOUT

  1. Have you studied the demographics of your proposed location and matched them against the profile of your target customer base?
    yes           no
  2. Have you analyzed data from Census reports concerning your location?
    yes           no
  3. Have you calculated the index of retail saturation for your proposed location?
    yes           no
  4. Have you evaluated the site in terms of the level of competition, retail compatibility, and other factors unique to your business?
    yes           no
  5. Have you evaluated building, buying, and leasing a building to house your business?
    yes           no

 

YOUR PEOPLE

  1. Have you developed a human resources plan for your business?
    yes           no
  2. Have you created job descriptions and job specifications for each job in your company?
    yes           no
  3. Have you developed a recruiting strategy to get the workers you need?
    yes           no
  4. Have you developed a job application form that will give you the information you need about candidates and will avoid charges of discrimination?
    yes           no
  5. Have you developed interviewing questions that will give you the information you need about candidates and will avoid charges of discrimination?
    yes           no
  6. Have you developed a plan for orienting and training your employees on a continuous basis?
    yes           no
  7. Have you developed a compensation plan that is equitable and motivating to employees?
    yes           no
  8. Have you developed a plan for evaluating your employees’ performances regularly?
    yes           no
  9. Have you developed a procedure for documenting employees’ performances in case you must fire them?
    yes           no



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