“Should I start a business?”

That’s a difficult question, one only you can answer. To start and manage a successful small business, you must be chief executive, purchasing agent, personnel officer, bookkeeper, advertising manager and sales director. Sometimes, you even need to be the janitor as well.

Facing such a challenge may sound stimulating to some, but wanting to be an entrepreneur is a far cry from actually being one. Before taking the plunge, you should conduct an honest and thorough self-assessment of your experience, education and business background. Remember: your review must consider your weaknesses as well as strengths.

Basic business skills are important to the success of small business operations. Your background should include record keeping, money management, personnel management, market analysis, knowledge of the product or service, communication skills and taxes. Don’t worry if you are not adept at all these skills. Many schools offer courses in the aspects of operating a small business. Invest a few dollars and some time to attend a basic business class.


Santa Barbara SCORE meets every Wednesday, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., at 402 E. Gutierrez St., Santa Barbara. No appointment is necessary. For more information, call 805.563.0084, visit www.santabarbarascore.org or register for counseling online at www.edmisscore.org/0166.

In addition, the Santa Barbara SCORE Chapter publishes a great tool for aspiring entrepreneurs, How to Start a Business in Santa Barbara County.

Remember, too, that the decision to open a business requires months, perhaps even years of planning and preparation. A new business will require a considerable investment of your personal assets. You will also need to invest many, many hours in study, planning and learning if you are to minimize your risk of failure. Rushing into a venture in hopes of easy success almost ensures failure.

You should also consider counseling as just one more step in your plan to open your business. Business counseling is a source of confidential advice that will help you develop a business idea, business plan and a timetable for business start-up. This objective perspective has led many people to realize that the risk, start-up time and demands of business ownership don’t suit their lifestyles. This is valuable information to have before opening a business. A well-informed decision is the first step in successful entrepreneurship. If you have decided to pursue business ownership, begin assembling your resources.

You can plug into a wealth of business know-how by contacting your Santa Barbara chapter of SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE counselors offer free, confidential advice about every aspect of starting, running and growing a successful business, even mentoring.