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Community Manager
Community Manager

Welcome to the Small Business Roundtable

Welcome to the Small Business Roundtable Event!

 

Are you dreaming of turning your passion into a profit, or you have a small business idea? Whatever your path AARP is here to help.  

 

This national small business month, AARP’s Entrepreneurship Expert, Felicia Brown, is joined by a panel of entrepreneurs who have found success in starting a business. A few topics that we'll cover include:

  • How to get started
  • Finding the right small business for you
  • Marketing your business
  • Sources for funding
  • Writing your business plan

Ask your questions and get advice from fellow entrepreneurs to help take your small business to the next level. (Ends Nov. 22)

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Community Manager
Community Manager

Thank you to all who participated in this month's Small Business Roundtable event. To keep up on all Work & Jobs activities, find in the AARP forums and on our website at https://www.aarp.org/work/.

 

***
Did you know? AARP Brand Ambassador Daymond John is offering three interactive courses to help workers and budding entrepreneurs 50-plus find success. Courses are free to members and non-members. Visit the Training Center today, then return to the forums to chat with your classmates!
***

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AARP Expert

It's hump day and we are still here to answer your questions.  You can connect with any of our guest - @KeithH119895 @JenneneB36990 or @MarcellusWade to ask a question.

 

Let's chat today about funding.  Funding your business sometimes can be a weird science.  When launching a business it's sometimes hard to know how much you need and at what stages of the business you need it.  You may need start-up capital, but dont quite have enough collateral to secure the funding in the event you are unable to pay back; you may need growth capital but dont have a strong credit for banks to believe in you; you may need funding to meet payroll to keep the doors open.  There are many scenarios that you can find yourself in.  Then finding the right funder for you can be tricky as well.

 

For quick capital you may find yourself seeking vendors such as Kiva, Kickstarter, Paypal, etc. that can get you over the hump - but beware some of those fees can be high - so read the fine print to know the repayment terms.  They can be great for your short-term funding needs but you may need to take a more traditional funding route as you begin to grow and expand.

 

Now traditional funders have their pros and cons as well.  For many of your banking and credit institutions they may require you to have a business plan, a strong credit record/score, collateral in the event you default on your loan, etc. 

 

So, while funding is critcal for the development and survival of a business, it's important to know they type of funding needed and at the time you need it.  Dont take the first funding train coming your way - remember all money is not good money!

 

Have a story of how you funded your business you'd like to share - send our way

 

For our expert business owners, share with us how you funded your business - any tips/tricks??

 

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AARP Expert

Happy Tuesday!  I hope you are finding some good tips and tricks to starting and growing your business.  I want to remind you that AARP is hosting a live conversation on how to start an online business.  We will have experts from the SBA Women's Business Development Center, a business owner that runs her business from her website and an Etsy shop store owner. 

 

These experts are going to share their experiences with running a business from the comforts of their home - right from their lap top.  How cool is that!  They will share how they market and generate sales from promoting their businesses from their platforms.

 

It's an event you don't want to miss.  You can register now at www.aarp.org/startabusiness (copy and paste into your browser).

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Contributor

Hi , My name is Rhonda Brown, i live in Arling, Texas 76018, & i.m thinking of becoming a Business owner, i would like to write books also  i,ve started practicing on my grammer, also L wouid like to get involved in politics,oh my business is one that could help the community, like selling of used good, etc.

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Business Leader

Hey @rhondabrown 

 

Thanks for joining the ranks of over 30 million self employed business owners.   It sounds like what you like to do is exactly what my first piece of advice would be to a new business owner....get involved.   Get in volved in your local chamber of commerce or rotary club or other specific networking group that may be forming in your area.  Check out FaceBook and LinkedIn for other professionals just starting out and connect with them.   Ask tons of questions and even answer some of their questions.   

 

As you continue to perfect the skills you are working on you will also be expanding your sphere of influence and meeting people that can help direct your success.   So keep plugging, get out there and stay connected.  

 

As you have other specific issues such as accounting questions, tax questions, marketing questions, always remember that you are not alone.

 

Keith

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AARP Expert

@rhondabrown this is great that you want to write and publish books.  You are correct, if you want to be a writer good grammer is critcally important.  I've learned that if you want to learn how to write better you should read more.  I also encourage you find a genre you like to write about - fiction, non-fiction, romance, mystery, drama, etc.  This will allow you to become really focused and perhaps build your writing style.  I think once you have that nailed down you can then begin to focus on the business aspect of writing.  Good luck!

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AARP Expert

As we conclude day 1 or week 2 I wanted to be sure you were aware of our newest resource that will help you with your branding and determining the right entrepreneurship opportunity for you.

 

Shark Tank star and AARP Brand Ambassador Daymond John is offering three interactive courses to help build your personal brand, maximize your skillset, and help you find the right entrepreneurial opportunity. AARP.org registered users have free access (https://webservices.lightspeedvt.net/client/aarp/login.ashx) to these courses as part of Daymond John’s Tools for Success. You do not need to be an AARP member.

 

The courses are being promoted on aarp.org/work can be found at aarp.org/work AND aarp.org/startabusiness:

 

aarp.org/work:
YOU are your brand!
Learn how to build your personal brand and why it’s critical—with this interactive course from Daymond John

 

 aarp.org/startabusiness


Looking to Find the Right Entrepreneurial Opportunity?
Learn how to prepare yourself for success with this interactive course from Shark Tank’s Daymond John

 

Take a moment to explore these training programs and let us know what you think!

 

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AARP Expert

It's week two of our Small Business Roundtable and we are back!!!  Last week we talked mostly about how to start a business and the necessary elements you need to be aware of when thinking or launching.  

 

This week we'll focus on the marketing and growing phase, which includes funding.  Our guest @JenneneB36990 , @MarcellusW151879, @KeithH119895 are back with us this week to chat and answer questions.

 

So let's start with @JenneneB36990 to give us some basic tips on marketing your business.

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Conversationalist

I love to tell stories and now am actually writing a story and want to publish a book but have no clue on how to do it.  Any ideas?!

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AARP Expert

@cn8777 you know there are many authors who are self published simply because they found that going through large publishing houses was too daunting.  I suggest you google how to become self published and determine is that is a viable route for you as a new author.  There you can find tips on how to get started, cost, perhaps some best practices, etc.  @JenneneB36990 can share some marketing tips once the book is complete.  Hope to hear about your future book signing.  Let us know if you have additional questions.

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Periodic Contributor

@cn8777 I totally agree with @FeeBrown regarding researching the self publishing route option.  Many new and seasoned authors do this because they can control the subject matter and sales.  Even if you have a publishing house publish your product, you still will be responsible for the bulk of marketing, etc. unless you are a well know author (Oprah, Steve Harvey, etc.). Keep in mind you can always conduct pre-sales, and use Facebook Live sessions to talk to your potential audience and find out if your upcoming project will be of interest to them.

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AARP Expert

@JenneneB36990that's great advise to host FB Live events.  A great to use FB Live is to host reading of the book the get people engaged and really learn about your book.

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AARP Expert

We are almost at the end of our first week of understanding how to start a business.  Before we conclude and begin to focus on other important aspects of having a business, I wanted to offer up some tips to getting started.  You can also find these tips on aarp.org/startabusiness where you will find other resrouces on growing your business. 

 

It's important when getting started that, after you've decided they type of business you want, you begin to develop your business plan.  This plan is essentially your roadmap to success.  It helps not only you but others really understand your business and where you want to take your business into the future.  It's also key for prospective investors/funders.

 

Next, get the appropriate training.  This is key not particurarly for knowing the type of business you want to start, but how to stay in business once you've opened the doors.  Training can help you with pricing, financing, marketing and promotions, etc. - understanding the nuts and bolts to operating a business.

 

Following, it's important to finding the appropriate funding.  When I say appropriate I mean determining if going the non-traditional (online lenders) or traditional (banks and credit unions) route is best and at the right stage of your business.  You may have to start out going one way - until you get build your credit worthyness for a financial institution to take you seriously.

 

Understand fees and licenses necessary for your business.  And, that includes required taxes as well.  Cost associated to owning a business can vary from industry to industry.  Know what those are and build that in your start-up cost.  You may not be able to open your doors without these.

 

Be compliant with required state and federal regulations.  For example, if you own a nail or hair salon there are requiements for those businesses to ensure the safety of your clients.  If you own a retail store or a bar there are regulations to ensure perhaps proper ventilation, appropriate exit locations, etc.  All for the safety of you and your customers.

 

Lastly, seek guidance from the SBA and other organizations that can serve as a resource to helping you be successful.  Also, check out AARP resources at aarp.org/startabusiness.

 

Happy to hear your thoughts and experiences you can share with any of these areas I've mentioned.

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Great tips
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Regular Contributor

I wish to start a business. However, I want to work for somebody elese's business before I start on my own.

 

Please give me information on who I can work for before I start out on my own.

 

Thank you

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Business Leader

Hey @Olif 

 

Congratulations on your decision to start your own business...I am confident you will be successful.   

 

Your idea of starting out with someone else, almost like a mentor, is a great idea.  Where to find that perfect mentor is not an easy task.   My best advice is to join as many networking type groups that you can find and that you can manage the time investment in your choosen industry.   Options like your local Chamber of Commerce or the local Rotary Chapter can be good but those groups are mostly diverse groups and may not include many options in your field.  

 

Try and find a focus group via Facebook or LinkedIn that match the industry you are looking to join.  Try and find a group that meets in your area either for licensing, continuing education, etc.   Meet as many people as you can.   Let them know what your goals are and the skills that you may be able to add to their business while you are preparing to start you own.   

 

Be open and honest about your goals.  The personal relationship side of what you are trying to accomplish is the biggest part of the deal.  Once you find that person or people then you can sit down and have an open converstion about goals and the future. 

 

I hope this helps and keep up the good work....you are on the right track. 

 

Keith

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AARP Expert

@KeithH119895this is good information.  Do you want more information to get started? Visit aarp.org/startabusiness to check out our quick tips and there you will find a quiz to test your knowledge.  Regarding marketing your business we sat down with Daymond John not long ago to learn how to effectively market your business.  You find his information at aarp/org/startabusiness.

 

If you are currently a business owner and want to learn about the latest business scams, I invite you to tune in tonight to listen to Small Business Scams webinar.  You will have a chance to learn about the latest marketing scams and ways sammers look to steal your money. To register to watch the webinar live or on-demand at your convenience, visit bit.ly/SmallBusinessScamsWebinar. 

 

Do you or have you experienced in challenges in marketing - getting your business out in front of people?  Let's hear it!

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Periodic Contributor

I recommend starting as an Independent Contractor (1099) with a firm that specializing in your area. From there, you can build your business until you are prepared to be 100% on your own.

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AARP Expert

@Olif thank you for your question.  My recommendation is for you to work in a business that you are interested in starting.  For example, if you are interested in opeining a coffee shop perhaps you should consider working in a coffee shop so you can better understand how to run the business, learn the machines, etc.  Essentially, learn the business you are interested in owning.  Let me know if you need more information.

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AARP Expert

 @MarcellusWade @KeithH119895 do you have any other advice to offer @Olif ?

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AARP Expert

Happy Hump Day - it's day three of our online forum and it's Small Business Month!  We are excited you decided to join us for what we think will be engaging conversation about all things business.  I want to remind you we have three guest in our roundtable for the next week and a half.  We have @MarcellusWade, @KeithH119895 and @JenneneB36990 joining us for this conversation.  Feel free to ask a question.

 

So today we will continue with @KeithH119895 who will us some tips and tricks to starting a business.  Other guest, please free feel to jump in.

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Contributor

well for now im op[en to suggestions, I like to help where ever is needed,

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Business Leader

Hey @LifehasPurpose :

 

Congratulations on your business success and never forget that over 70 percent of ALL new jobs come from small business owners just like you, so keep up the good work.  

 

Unfortunately, my association with the AARP is based on helping small business owners via chat sessions like this for questions and answers.   I would love to help you set up your accounting systems as you have questions, but we don't have "feet on the ground" to help with the specific nuts and bolts.   Again, my favorite thing to do each and every day is to answer questions from new small businesses, but with hands on assitance the best advice would be to find a CPA or accounting professional in your area that can help.  Ask your friends and even your clients for a referral.  If you can find someone who is trusted by someone you already trust, you will be way ahead of the game.  

 

As for government contracts, I don't do much in that area.   My best advice here would be to contact your local Small Business Development Center.   The SBDCs all across the country are supported by the Small Business Adiministration and can help with preparing and submitting government contracts bids and we as securing appropriate status if you qualify.   You can find your local SBDC right on the SBA website at SBA.gov. 

 

Keep up the good work!!!

 

Keith

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Hello to the panel and thank you for your time and feedback. I am a small business owner running a medical staffing company. I have not been able to expand due to a lack of capital or getting a line of credit to pay employees since medical reimbursement can take up to 4-6 weeks. I have submitted and have a pending application for MEB and am in the process of applying for a Washington,DC similar program called DBE. My company has been incorporated as an S-Corporation since 2006. Please advise.

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AARP Expert

@michellelynetteh188032 thank you for your question.  I'm going to defer to @KeithH119895 to respond as NASA has probably seen or heard of your situation before and can provide the best assistance.

 

thank you!

 

 

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Business Leader

Hey @michellelynetteh188032 :

 

Thanks for your inquiry and first thing I want you to know, is that you are not alone.   Every single survey or outreach we have conducted related to the needs for small business indicates that access to capital is among the top issues.  I know that doesn't really help very much, but it is true and continues to be on the top of our legislative agenda in DC.  

 

In fact, the House just this week passed the Credit Access and Inclusion Act which is designed to increase the reporting process for credit agencies which should improve access to all information for over 25 million Americans.   This bill is a little bit vague but does reflect awareness in DC of the issue, so I am thank for for that. 

 

Again, NONE of that is very helpful to your real life issues.   My best advice is to just keep plugging.  Keep building your history of success and maintain good records of income and expenses and update your long term projections.   You might also consider looking into SBA lending options which can be very helpful.   The SBA is also focused on access to capital issues.  You can log on to their website at SBA.gov to read more.  They also "authorize" SBA qualified lenders who can make decisions that include SBA guarantees which can help your local bank help you.  So check with your banker to see if they are indeed an SBA qualified lender and if so then you can talk directly with them about SBA options.  

 

I hope this helps even if I can't provide an easy and magic answer.   Keep up the good work. 

 

Keith

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Contributor

Hi Keith,

 

I am self-employed WOSB in Cyber Security. Are you experienced in government contracting? I do need assistance with setting up my accounting system, payroll, taxes etc. What services do you provide via AARP.

 

Thank you,

A. Manley

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Contributor

Hi,

 

I am a passionate seamstress, but want to turn my passion into profit. How do I start to earn income from sewing?

 

Thank you,

Angela

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AARP Expert

@LifehasPurpose that is wonderful.  I wish I had those skills.  You can absolutely turn your passion into profit. There are so many ways to do this - you could sew items and sell through an online platform such as Etsy and Ebay.  Yes, there may be some fees but it's a great way to get visibility for your wares.  YOu could create a website that list your items and prices for sell and you could sell right from your site.  You can also find local events to sell items, such as commuity bazaars, etc. Think about items you would make a sell - is it clothes or other items you make.  Think about items to sell that are in demand.  To get started I would focus on creating a few items, test them out and then expand to other items.  You could even start by selling to family and friends and get them to be your mouthpiece for the items. 

 

I would encourage you to listen in tonight on your conversation about starting a business online and ask more questions of our experts.  Register at www.aarp.org/startabusiness.

 

I hope this helps!

 

 

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