By Evan Vitale
When starting any business, owners must plan, obtain financing, earn clients and much more. Minority business owners face similar challenges in raising capital, marketing, hiring staff, etc.
However, there are federal, state and other local programs designed to help minorities become successful entrepreneurs. For example, many agencies can help you get started with beginning tasks as you formulate your business idea and build the groundwork for applying for financing. Many of these services are free of charge for minorities. They can include:
- Helping you write your business plan. As you may know, a business plan is a valuable document as it provides a guide on how your business will operate. A minority-owned business counselor will help you craft the plan in determining everything about your customers, competition, vendors and more. Remember, a business plan shows potential investors that you’re serious about your business.
- Setting up your business structure. For example, will your business be a sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation? Your minority-owned business counselor can help you with some information in this area and they may be able to connect you with low-cost or free legal assistance in setting up your business structure.
- Advice on financing. Obviously, this is an important stage in starting your minority-owned business and, since there are many financing options available, your business counselor can help you select the right financing package for your business. Remember: most government agencies do not provide direct loans to any business. Instead, they will guarantee the loans once the business owner has met certain criteria. As you begin your search for financing, it’s always a good idea to have several options available including bank loans, venture capital opportunities, family, friends, etc.
As you begin to formulate your minority-owned business idea, always remember to seek out local, state and federal assistance and guidance. There are probably some great local resources waiting to help you!