How Parents with Disabilities Can Realize Their Business Dreams
Parenting is hard enough without having to worry about starting a small business. But for parents with disabilities, the challenges can seem insurmountable. However, with careful planning and execution, it is possible to get your small business up and running — and thrive! Here's what the Garner Chamber of Commerce wants you to know.
Your Business Must Fill a Need
The first step is to come up with a business idea that leverages your strengths and meets a need in the market. If you're not sure where to start, think about what you're good at and what you enjoy doing. What are your talents and passions? What do you know how to do better than anyone else? Chances are there's a business idea in there somewhere.
Outline Your Business Plan
Once you have your business idea fleshed out, it's time to create a business plan. This document will serve as a roadmap for getting your business up and running and help you secure funding, if needed. Your business plan should include an executive summary, company description, market analysis, competitive analysis, product/service line, sales and marketing strategy, management team bios, and financial projections.
If you feel ill-prepared to draft a business plan, don't worry — there are plenty of templates and resources available online to help you get started. And once you have your business plan created, be sure to keep it updated as your business grows and changes.
If you need financial assistance to get your small business off the ground, there are several options available to you. The first place to look is the government, both federal and state. There are numerous grant programs specifically for small businesses run by parents with disabilities. Once you've exhausted those options, look into private foundations and crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and GoFundMe.
Which Designation Is Right?
Next, you'll need to choose a legal structure for your business. The most common choices are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to do your research before making a decision. You may also need one or more licenses or permits to operate legally in your state or municipality.
Market Your Startup
After the initial work of launching a business starts to come together, it's time to focus on marketing. There are many channels available these days — social media, email marketing, content marketing (such as blogging), online advertising, etc. — so take advantage of as many as possible. And don't forget the power of good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing — tell everyone you know about your new business venture!
Use Solid Accounting Practices
Finally, one of the most important things to do as a small business owner is to carefully monitor your finances. This means keeping track of both incoming revenue and outgoing expenses regularly (at least monthly). Be sure to also set aside money each month for taxes — you don't want to be caught off guard come tax season!
To stay organized (and save paper!), digitize all financial records using accounting software like QuickBooks or FreshBooks. Doing so will make it easy to generate reports and keep track of important data points like cash flow statements over time. To ensure your files stay organized, create PDFs of everything. You can then use a PDF merge tool to help you condense files and access them from anywhere — try this tool to quickly and easily merge PDFs.
Get the Resources You Need
Starting a small business is hard enough, but it's especially challenging if you're a parent with a disability. However, by taking the time to develop a sound business plan and choose the right business structure, you give yourself the best chance for success. By leveraging your talents and passions — and staying focused on quality — you can create something special that meets a need in the market. And remember: you're not alone, because there are plenty of resources available online (and offline) to help you every step of the way.