What is Step One for starting a business? I do not know, but I bet there is someone who does.
A friend told me to contact the Small Business Development Center. I pulled out my tiny notebook and wrote, “To Do: Google the Small Business Development Center”
It turns out that in Columbia SC we have a resource through the US Small Business Administration and USC’s Darla Moore School of Business that consults with entrepreneurs for FREE. This is a good service for me because I need a lot of advice, and this is a good price for me because I do not have a lot of money. I found it at the website http://uscbiz.net/
I sent an email.
Hello, my name is Shige Kobayashi. I am interested in starting a business selling clothing and other goods advocating Columbia SC pride. Is it possible for me to schedule a general consultation meeting with you?
Thank you so much for your time.
I got a response.
The USC SBDC is located at 1225 Laurel Strret in downtown Columbia, SC.
We offer services in business plans, counseling, and financial analysis. This is at no cost to you.
I would be happy to meet with you at a mutually convenient time at our office.
Please feel free to email or call me
This is very exciting. I am about to schedule a meeting. After this step, I think I will be better prepared for Step One.
Today I got a business license!
I marched right up to the city office at Main St. and Washington, answered a few questions, stood in a few lines, paid 26 dollars and some-odd cents, and now I’m official, I think!
It was a little intimidating, so later I googled “columbia sc business license” and got The City of Columbia website, which led me to a checklist for new businesses:
- Prepare a business plan
- Draft partnership agreement or incorporate
- Open checking account
- Talk with accountant about bookkeeping systems
- Set up bookkeeping system
- Research insurance needs
- Develop brochure or logo
- Develop rate structure
- Print brochure or letterhead
- Prepare training manual
- Develop pay structure – employees/contractors
- Develop billing procedures
- File appropriate state and federal tax forms
- Complete research for marketing/advertising
- File for a Business License
I have not done any of these things! And getting a license is at the end of the list! I am not going to let my almost-27 bucks go to waste, so my next adventure is to take on these tasks.
I think that I would like to start and run a successful business in Columbia, SC.
I don’t have a degree in business, and I don’t have a lot of cash. I’m a business outsider.
I do have guts, I like to ask questions, and I have a nagging feeling that this is going to work out well.
The link above is a BBC Radio story I heard last night, after my job left me. At the 14:20 mark you’ll hear about a woman who used a donation of a dollar to build a restaurant. She bought simple ingredients to make a simple food on the first day. She earned enough by the third day to make the festive food items for which she is known.
If you know me, keep an eye on this journal and keep me on task. If you have a dream, watch what I do and learn to avoid all the mistakes I am about to make. If you live in Columbia, keep your resources circulating locally and independently, because that’s how it comes back to you.