We began this chapter by considering the contributions of entrepreneurs not only to the economy but to our daily lives. Reflecting on what you have learned in this chapter, think for a moment about how far entrepreneurs have taken us, our economy, and the world. From two brothers who owned a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio . . .
. . . to this:
Small business and entrepreneurs fuel the economic engine of the U.S. Without small business, economic growth and recovery from cyclical downturns would be impossible. Small businesses make valuable contributions to the larger economy by creating jobs and providing opportunities for individuals to achieve financial success and independence. Large businesses depend upon their smaller counterparts for support in areas such as component parts, services, and product distribution.
So, who are these entrepreneurs? You have seen that they are creative, risk-taking, determined individuals who, even after suffering setbacks, refuse to give up on their dreams and business aspirations.
Advantages, Disadvantages, and Considerations
There are advantages and disadvantages of small-business ownership. Each individual must weigh the pros and cons in order to decide whether small business ownership is the right path for them. Time, lifestyle, finances, stress, and independence are just a few of the factors involved in making that decision. We would like to think that every business venture will be as successful as Apple or Starbucks, but the fact is that plenty of start-ups don’t make it. Knowing why businesses fail is key to planning around and avoiding common pitfalls. If you know where the land mines are you can work your way around them to get to the other side of the field!
Steps to Starting a Business
Starting a business is a lot like baking a cake—there’s a recipe and a “procedure.” In this chapter you learned that there’s a series of procedures and steps that every business owner goes through in order to establish their business. Which steps must be taken depend on the business and its location. When we bake a cake there’s a series of cooking steps (measuring, mixing, baking, cooling, frosting) that results in dessert! Which ingredients you put into the cake depends on what type of cake you are baking. Which ingredients (steps) you use to launch a business depends on what type of business you are starting, but the end result is the same—business!
The business plan is the roadmap to business success. The components of the plan cover everything from financial projections to physical location to products and services. Having a complete and thorough plan is essential to the success of any business venture—small or large. Remember what we said earlier in this section: businesses never plan to fail, but they do fail to plan!
The Small Business Administration Web site has a wealth of resources for starting entrepreneurial ventures in the U.S.