Q: I am considering starting a local lawn service business. Can you provide some guidance how to get started?
A: As a SCORE business counselor, I am in contact with many clients who are in the thinking stages of starting a business of their own. Some are quite good at what they do, but are unaware of the many other necessary functions of running a successful business.
Before you take a leap of faith, ask yourself questions, including whether you're prepared to spend money, how you will market the product or service, who's the competition, do you need a business license, what type of insurance you need and how many employees you will need.
Begin by developing a written business plan. There are many outlines available to help guide you through the process. SCORE offers a free plan at http://tinyurl.com/3qjwhza.
The site also provides several Excel spreadsheets to assist in developing start-up expenses, break-even analysis, and a 12-month cash flow projection. The volunteer counselors at SCORE can assist you in developing your plan.
The state of Florida also offers an excellent resource that's accessible online at http://tinyurl.com/y6nhlcv. The site gives you most everything you need to know to about doing business in or with the state of Florida.
In addition, the Small Business Administration website http://www.sba.gov/ offers guidance for those who wish to start a business, secure financing, obtain grants, work with the government, and many other issues facing the small business owner.
You must be prepared to wear many hats when operating a business. If you are uncomfortable wearing some of these hats, you will need to partner with or hire someone to handle the necessary administrative responsibilities.
SCORE Naples will offer a workshop titled, "Don't let paperwork bog down your business," from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at IberiaBank, 2150 Goodlette Road, Naples. To register call 239-430-0081 or log on to http://naples.score.org/localworkshops.
Gray Poehler is a volunteer with SCORE Naples, whose counselors can assist and offer advice concerning management issues facing your small business. Counseling is free to all U.S. citizens and legal aliens. If you would like an answer to your question, fill out the form at http://naples.score.org/mentors. A counselor will contact you within 48 hours. Please include your name, email address and a contact phone number.