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If you’re starting a business that requires significant financial investment up front, finding a source of funding can be a challenge, especially since the average cost of starting a business is $30,000. This is particularly true for young entrepreneurs who lack a strong credit history or don’t want the hassle of dealing with banks or private lenders.
Once these startup entrepreneurs are done considering their options, it’s not unusual for them to ask friends or family for startup cash. After all, unlike private investors or banks, these people know and trust you. It’s possible they can get you quicker access to cash with fewer flaming hoops to jump through. On the flipside, if your business fails or you are tardy in repaying the money, you may be headed for some conflict with the aforementioned family and friends.
Native American entrepreneurs have a new tool to help determine if they’re ready for business ownership and to help them get started. Native American Small Business Primer: Strategies for Success is a free, self-paced online business course developed for Native American business owners. The course provides an overview of basic business principles and makes them aware of the programs and services available from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Native American Small Business Primer: Strategies for Success will enhance the agency’s effort to provide important resources for emerging Native American entrepreneurs,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “Our ultimate goal is to help create jobs and stimulate economic and business development in our Native American communities. This course is an essential business development tool for the entrepreneur’s toolbox.”
The new online course: emphasizes business planning and market research as essential steps to take before going into business; informs Native American entrepreneurs about the legal aspects of starting a business, including the type of ownership (legal structure) and licensing; and provides key information on seed money for starting up, raising capital, and borrowing money. In addition, there is a section on how to estimate business start-up costs that can help assess the financial needs of going into business.
Everyone in business must keep records. Keeping good records is very important to your business. Good records will help you do the following:
- Monitor the progress of your business
- Prepare your financial statements
- Identify source of receipts
- Keep track of deductible expenses
- Prepare your tax returns
- Support items reported on tax returns
Monitor the progress of your business
You need good records to monitor the progress of your business. Records can show whether your business is improving, which items are selling, or what changes you need to make. Good records can increase the likelihood of business success.
Business expenses are the cost of carrying on a trade or business. These expenses are usually deductible if the business is operated to make a profit.
To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your trade or business. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary.
Recently, I participated in a small business roundtable with the Asian-American Pacific Islander community in Philadelphia. The event was co-hosted by the National Association of Asian American Professionals and the Mayor’s Commission on Asian American Affairs, and we were joined by 40 small business owners for a lively discussion on how to do business with the Federal Government.
Part of our mission at the General Services Administration (GSA) is to make sure that small firms across the country have the opportunity to do business with the government, and we were able to pass on several strategies that small businesses can use to successfully compete in the Federal market.
First, FedBizOpps is an online tool to help businesses learn about upcoming opportunities with the government. Small businesses can use this tool to preview what the government is looking to buy in the near future. GSA also posts a Forecast of Contracting Opportunities, informing vendors of anticipated contracts offered by GSA for the current fiscal year.