SCORE Simple Steps for Starting Your Business

The goal of the program is to generate a deeper, higher-level conversation between the client and mentor as to whether the client is ready to start a business.

Simple Steps for Starting Your Business is a five-part series of pre-business workshops to help clients reach a “go or no-go” decision for a start-up. The content is designed to work in conjunction with SCORE mentoring and includes homework for the clie to complete. The program is not designed to provide all of the information needed to start a business, but rather to help the client decide whether he or she is ready to take the next step towards becoming an entrepreneur.

Session 1 – Startup Basics
This introductory workshop focuses on the basics of testing your business idea and identifying the key factors that influence start-up success. Start-up Basics provides you with an overview of the skills and tools you need when deciding to start a business. In this session, you learn about: the advantages and disadvantages of owning a business, the most profitable form for your business, and the fundamentals of formation, organization, marketing, cash flow and funding sources.

Session 2 – Business Concept:
The second workshop focuses on your business concept and step-by-step guidance in researching your idea, your market, and your competition. At the end of the Business Concept workshop, you are able to: identify your target markets, describe your products and services, and collect key competitive information to support your feasibility plan.

Session 3 – Marketing Plan:

The third workshop provides you with an introduction to marketing communication methods and tools to maximize your customer reach. The discussion in the Marketing Plan workshop covers pricing strategies, positioning, the difference between features and benefits, and different marketing strategies. At the end of this session, you will know how to: outline your marketing strategy, test your marketing message, choose the right sales channel, and exercise your marketing strategy.

Session 4 – Financial Matters:
The fourth workshop uses exercises to help you better understand financial concepts. This session reviews sales and prices, financial risks and rewards, true start-up costs, ongoing operating expenses, setting benchmarks for tracking progress and the organization of all your financial information. Using a hands-on approach, you learn how to use our financial model to forecast sales revenue and build solid pro-forma financial forecasts.

Session 5 - Funding Options:
The final workshop offers information on how to fund your small business. In this session, discussions include sources of funds, the six C's of credit, banking relations, the borrowing process, setting the right expectations and making financial preparations. You will get an inside view of how a banker assesses the merits of business plans and loan applications. At the end of the series, you will have all of the tools necessary to decide whether or not to launch your small business.

Download the presentations and handouts from all of the SCORE Simple Steps for Starting Your Business sessions.