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SCORE offers tactics for success

October 10, 2009|By ROBERT POOR

Q: My wife and I have lost our jobs and think now would be a good time to start our small business. What success tactics can SCORE recommend for our consideration?

A: The time is right for you to consider enrolling in SCORE's "How to Really Start Your Own Business."

This small business series meets the next three Thursdays (Oct. 15, 22 and 29) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hagerstown Community College's Valley Mall Center. Topics include "Organizing and Managing," "Finding and Minding the Money" and "Marketing/Sales for Success."

To register, call 301-790-2800, ext. 236.

SCORE's tactics for small business startup success include:

o 1. Learn as much about your proposed business as you can before startup. There is nothing like experience.

o 2. To the best of your ability, project your sales and expenses for at least your first year, and preferably for three years. Allow for all expenses, including your living costs, possible losses and costs such as fringe benefits and taxes before figuring your potential profit.

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o 3. Accept the fact that starting a business always takes more money than you expect.

o 4. Study successful competitors carefully. Decide your best competitive strategies before opening your business.

o 5. Decide and plan what kind of image you want to create with your service, product, packaging, pricing, ads, personnel, decor, vehicles, etc.

o 6. Keep complete and accurate records for tax purposes, for your bank and most important, for your own guidance.

o 7. Interview and select a competent lawyer, accountant, banker, insurer and marketing/sales expert. Don't wait until you need one of them. Time is of the essence.

o 8. If you are a retail business, remember the Realtor's motto: Location, location, location.

o 9. Learn what, where and when to purchase for your small business and how to gauge inventory.

o 10. Scour Web sites such as sba.gov and score.org, plus Google "small business" for all kinds of assistance in starting your small business. Good luck.

For additional details and assistance, call SCORE at 301-739-2015, ext. 103, or go to www.scorehagerstown.org.

Robert A. "Bob" Poor is a local small business owner/operator. He is a small-business counselor and a regular contributor to the Ask SCORE column.

Questions may be e-mailed to him at r.poor@myactv.net or by mail in care of The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Ask SCORE column.

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