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Being Prepared Before You Retire—Create Your Small Business Toolbox! By Doris Symonds

Doris Symonds_1 If you know that you are going to retire from your company in five years, a smart move would be to start building your small business toolbox. Here are a few tips you should consider and prepare before you jump into launching a startup. These tips will help you get off to a good start. In your toolbox, you may want to first establish a professional relationship with your banking officer. Let the banker know about your idea for a small business without asking for money on the front end. You want to establish a business relationship with the officer to procure good business advice. Remember, if you deposit money in a particular bank, you surely want to obtain support from that bank.

The bank may be one of the entities that approves your loan for your new business and is in the position to share why businesses fail. Learn how to draft a written business plan by checking out the website. Start interviewing small business owners by asking for tips on running a successful business if they had to start all over again. Ask several owners what would they have done differently knowing what they know today? It is important that you work on your social skills. Find out what professional organizations currently exist in the local community to help you as a new business owner. Start attending workshops, collecting data and attending related conferences to increase your small business information toolbox. Take time and start reviewing websites to get an idea of what you want your website to look like. Start building a data base of key individuals for the future business open house. Start improving your personal credit score if the number is low.

You will be surprised to learn that people expect to procure money for a new business with a severe low credit score which clearly indicates that they do not pay their bills. Remember, it will take time to build your tool box. You will begin to learn new ideas with excitement. When a company is going out of business, ask yourself why and learn from it. Stop asking for free money. It is a myth! No free money! No free money!

Do your research on the community by finding out what organizations are available to help you as a small business owner. Currently, a few organizations like the Traveler Newspaper (advertising), Minority Small Business Development for workshops/training (Denise Moore), Peoria, Bradley University Entrepreneurship Program, and One Million Cups Meetup in Peoria can offer valuable information.

You should start finding relative professional organizations in your industry. Successful people start putting a percentage of their paycheck aside for five years as seed money to help with starting a business. Seriously, you will need money for a new business because you must have skin in the game when borrowing funds. Interview an accountant (Gia Jones and Kelly Stewart) and find out how best to keep good records for a small business. Learn how to do business in the state of Illinois, which is a free workshop by the local Small Business Development Center at the PeoriaNext Innovation Center (Kevin Evans). The Center helps you to learn how to get the business name registered, where to get a tax ID number, licenses & permits, what legal form to choose (proprietorship, partnership, corporation), sales taxes, estimated quarterly income tax, employee taxes, financing your business, preparing a business plan, and federal, state, city and county requirements.

You are welcome to contact me for help. As a small business women conference executive and consultant, I can offer you established small business professional speakers providing advice at the annual Women’s Business Empowerment Conferences in June and November. Contact Doris Symonds: 309-224-9665 or Email: or register for the small business event: Emerging Business Women Luncheon Conference, June 21 hosted at the Par-A-Dice. Registration is open!