5 Things You Should Do To Prepare To Open A Small Business

Chanel Stitt Detroit Free Press

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Renee Nesbitt is taking a multi-prong approach in helping budding business owners set themselves up for long-term success.

Detroit

Renee Nesbitt is a boss and intends to help others be bosses, too, by showing them how to start a business, how to dress for success and how to bank with confidence.

The 27-year-old Detroiter learned how to do these things herself after spending 12 years in banking.

Her new business, called, not surprisingly, Building Bosses Boutique, is an online store that sells affordable casual and business attire.

The clothing business is a part of her Building Bosses Camp, which is a free mentoring program in which Nesbitt will teach aspiring and current entrepreneurs and professionals how to start and run a business, as well as how to go about finding financial resources and more.

"During my years of meeting with different business owners and going to different networking events, you come across so many people that either are being overcharged for something that they could do themselves but they didn't know," Nesbitt said.

"I think the pandemic woke up so many business owners because they didn't have that capital to leverage on. They didn't have the money in their account to leverage on, so basically they were either forced to shut down or figure out another way to run their business."

So here are five key things Nesbitt says you should do to create a financially secure business, save money along the way and prepare for unexpected expenses.

Create a business plan ahead of time Nesbitt said creating a business plan will guide you on how much money you will be spending during the course of running a business, from startup to how far you want to plan in the future and how much money you expect to make. She says most people create their plans based on where you want to be in one year, three years and five years.

You'll also need to know such things as how to register a business through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs or by applying for an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service.

"The pandemic actually shocked everybody — it shocked the world," Nesbitt said. "It caused a lot of businesses to be closed. So when you have that plan set up, you're able to leverage something to help make that business still go in the case of a shutdown."

Build a relationship with a bank Knowing about banking and finances is an important step to running your business, Nesbitt said.

First, she recommends you keep your personal and business finances separate from each other

Next, she says you'll need to build a relationship with a bank.

Nesbitt states you'll need that bank for a line of credit "to expand your business." She said the first step is to find a bank that fits your business needs and find a trusted adviser that understands your financial goals for the business.

Find financial resources Nesbitt recommends finding a loan or grant to raise capital to prepare for any unexpected expenses.

She says getting a loan can be helpful, but she cautions owners to remember that you have to pay it back over time.

Nesbitt said finding grants is more important because you do not have to pay grants back. There are community programs, like the Minority Business Development Agency, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, a variety of banks and more, that specialize in offering money for new businesses. They can be based on different factors like the neighborhood you are in or your product and service.

Learning how to stand out as a grant applicant is important, too.

"When starting a business, funding is low," said Nesbitt. "Grants help allow the business to keep the cash flow to meet expenses until profit picks up.

The business is not responsible for repaying the grant, (so it is) less stress on the business that may have financing difficulties (by) repaying a loan."

Spread awareness of your business It's possible to do your own marketing to save money along the way, said Nesbitt.

Create a marketing plan that identifies everything from your target audience to how much you plan to spend to bring awareness about your business.

This plan can include in-person marketing, where you attend networking events in the community. But it also includes physical materials like business cards, advertising, a website, email blasts, flyers, social media and mailing. Nesbitt said that it is possible to create these materials on your own with the right knowledge about marketing.

Dress to be successful The last piece of advice Nesbitt has is how to dress to be successful, but not break your personal budget in the process.

"Dressing for success on a budget is important because your appearance is extremely important as a business owner," said Nesbitt.

"It presents a visual image of the business owner and their professionalism. As a business owner, there are so many expenses that spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on clothes is just not in the budget."

She says you can still be a boss and save a lot of money by not wearing name brands and expensive clothing.

Nesbitt recommends shopping at boutiques and resale shops that offer business attire.

Many of her clothing options at her boutique are two-piece sets that start at $32. She chooses the clothes that she will sell by knowing what her audience enjoys wearing and staying under $100 in the process.

To take part in Nesbitt's Building Bosses Camp, go to the contact page on buildingbossesboutique.com

___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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