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February 6, 2018

Happy New Year from Square One Small Business Services at Mid-Continent Public Library!

With the new year comes new aspirations and resolutions. If one of your goals for 2018 includes opening your own business or nonprofit, you may want to check out the Small Business Builder database. Even if you already own a business or are in the process of opening one, this tool may help you refine your business plan and improve your processes. The dashboard of resources in Small Business Builder provides an online workspace for five areas every entrepreneur or small business owner should address before opening a business:

  1. The Entrepreneur Profile helps you discover your strengths and weaknesses as a potential business owner. This worksheet of questions can be filled out and saved online, resulting in a one-page printable summary of who you are and what you bring to the table as a business owner.
  2. Business Ideation provides users with tools to help you describe your business. Users can work with Lean Canvas, SWOT, Porter’s Five Forces, and more. This high-level overview provides the backbone for your business plan, helping you determine things like customer segments and unique value propositions. If you don’t know the meaning of certain business terms, there are lots of explanations and examples to guide you through the process.
  3. Break-Even Analysis allows you to break down your business expenses, cost of goods sold, capital, and sales, giving you a timeline for when revenue can cover expenses and when you can begin to make a profit. A “Guide Me” button will help you navigate any areas you do not understand.
  4. Business Plans are typically 7-12 pages describing your business in-depth for potential investors and partners. Using the Lean Business Plan model, this module guides you through 13 areas covered by most traditional business plans. This is a living document that can—and should—be revisited and updated as your business develops.
  5. Financial Projections goes beyond a break-even analysis and forecasts years into a company’s future. This worksheet helps you evaluate possible financial situations involving capital expenditures, sales, equity, and inventory as your company grows and matures.

Even if you are merely intrigued by the idea of owning your own business, it may be worth spending some time with the Gale Small Business Builderdatabase. This simple yet effective tool can be started and revisited whenever you find a convenient time. Whether you are toying with the idea of starting your own business or nonprofit, or you are serious about starting a venture in 2018, this dashboard of resources will help you get your business off the ground and prepare you for success.

--Kelly Head
Business Information Librarian

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