So you want to launch a business?

This is launch week. It is a time in Sioux City where we celebrate those who have launched and will launch a business! It is a great time to get together with other owners and socialize and share ideas. It is also a time when those who might be sitting on the fence about an idea start to give it serious thought. 

If you are one of those people, please reach out to me, and let’s get together to see if we can help you make it happen.

There are a couple of things you should know right off the bat. First, there is no free money for small businesses at the Federal and State level. It is inherently immoral for me to tax you and give that money to someone else to become your competitor.  My office is grant-funded by the SBA and the State of Iowa. You get an MBA who has owned five businesses and has helped more than 120 startups for free. Second, the road to starting a business may have many speed bumps, but that should not necessarily stop you from achieving your dream.

At the SBDC, we don’t have a specialty. What we have is a network that tries to meet your needs with the resources that are available. What that means is we know a lot, and what we don’t know, we can find someone who does. The amount of resources available to help small businesses is huge, and no one knows all of it, so don’t be afraid to share if you find something new.

Our total purpose in life is to help you succeed. We exist to serve you. I will do my best to help you; you don’t have to do what I say that is on you; it’s your business. What we can do for you really depends on where you are at and what your needs are.

If you have a great idea but no money, my advice would be to work and save to get the down payment so you can get financing. If you have a bad credit score, seek credit counseling and don’t miss a payment to get it back on track. We tell people 720 is the score lenders prefer. If your credit score is lower, you may find a lender, but interest will be higher for sure.

Many organizations can help with gap financing, meaning if you are short on the down payment, they can help bridge the gap. As a general rule, even with that help, you will need 10-15% down. 

Those are just some of the things that come up in my first meeting with people. Again, these are just speed bumps and are not things that should stop you. Sometimes the delay in getting things in line to open is what you need to prepare yourself skill-wise to run a profitable business.

I wish you the greatest success, enjoy this week and celebrate those who have launched, and I hope soon we can celebrate your launch!

By Todd Rausch, Regional Director of the Small Business Development Center at Western Iowa Tech Community College. The SBDC exists only to help small businesses start, grow, and succeed. We are here to serve you.

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