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Should I Start a Business?

I am still learning - Michelangelo at age 87 - continuous education concept on a slate blackboard against red barn wood


There are many reasons to consider a home or small business, e.g. desire to be more independent of a boss or corporation, flexibility to supplement income or maybe it’s simply been your dream. Businesses takes various shapes including home business, on-line business or physical “store”. Regardless of the reason and type, taking the first steps requires careful planning. The typical new business started in the United States is no longer in operation five years after being founded (source).

Skill Definition:

  • I can assess my entrepreneurship skills.
  • I know the steps to startup and have given them appropriate thought and planning.

Key Learning Points:

  • Starting a business requires significant resources including personal skills, a competitive idea and financing.

Learning Path:

  • Borrow or buy a good book as a primary reference. Find one focused on your business-type if possible.
  • Review the many resources on gov.
  • Develop your business plan. Engage key resources in this plan to get critical input.
  • Find a mentor or coach who has run a successful business. Have a heart-to-heart talk.

Deeper Topics:

  • Characteristics of Entrepreneurs. Adapted from Is Entrepreneurship For You? on SBA.gov
    • Comfortable with taking risks and making decisions with uncertainty.
    • Trusting your instincts.
    • Persuasive with partners, suppliers, customers and employees.
    • Able to negotiate purchase of materials and services and contracts.
    • Creative in taking advantage of new insights.
    • A strong support system is in place including a mentor.
  • Steps to Starting a Business. Adapted from 10 Steps to Starting a Business on SBA.gov
  • Barriers to Starting.
    • Personal Skills. There are many skills needed but to start the list…communicating, negotiating, project management including estimating and planning, time management, goal setting, self-discipline, leadership and marketing.
    • Financing including initial capital needs such as equipment or facility and sufficient emergency funds to carry you through 6-12 months. Consider starting your business part-time while you are working at a “regular” job.
    • Competitive product concept. All too often, a good idea can be copied so it needs to be patented if possible.

Exercises for Older Teens and Adults:

Exercises for Younger Teens (13-16):

  • See above.

Questions to Encourage Critical Thinking:

From 20 Questions before Starting on SBA.gov

  • Why am I starting a business?
  • What kind of business do I want?
  • Who is my ideal customer?
  • What products or services will my business provide?
  • Am I prepared to spend the time and money needed to get my business started?
  • What differentiates my business idea and the products or services I will provide from others in the market?

Other questions to think about…

  • Do you have experience that can be leveraged?
  • Is there competition?
  • Are there barriers to entry, licenses or degrees?
  • What is your growth vision, e.g. have just a local presence or franchises and what are your income requirements?
  • Am I willing to be in uncomfortable situations?
  • Have I done the necessary research?

Tools and Templates:

Word Definition:

  • Entrepreneur. A risk-taking businessperson: somebody who initiates or finances new commercial enterprises.
  • Business Plan. A business plan is a formal statement of a set of business goals, the reasons they are believed attainable, and the plan for reaching those goals. It may also contain background information about the organization or team attempting to reach those goals. Source: Wikipedia.com

Web Articles/Short Stories/Essays:




Faith-Based Quotes:

  • None at this time.

Other Quotes:

  • “To be successful in business you don’t just need a great idea — you have to sell it. Don’t be afraid to sell. Don’t think of yourself as anything but a marketer.” – Susan Sobbott
  • “Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere.” – Paul Ryan

One-Point Lesson:

  • None at this time.

Related Skills:

Summary 2-page Lesson Examples:

  • None at this time.