The Coachella Valley Small Business Development Center offers free, individualized, and confidential consulting, as well as business education and support services to help existing and start-up businesses grow and to contribute to the region’s economic vitality.
New and established business owners in Greater Palm Springs have access to a wealth of resources, from one-on-one counseling to monthly professional development workshops covering a variety of timely management, marketing, and technology topics. The CVEP Business Services Center assists start-up and established operations with business planning, financial forecasting, access to capital, technology, marketing, sales, human resources, and more.
LOAN PACKAGING services include document preparation, lender relations, and assisting with nancial projections, cost breakdowns, and related needs.
EQUITY INVESTMENT PREPARATION services include development of an executive summary and pitch deck, as well as coaching to pitch prospective investors.
BUSINESS PLAN DEVELOPMENT services include consultation to develop a business plan that can be used as the blueprint for launching the business as well as for presenting to potential lenders and investors.
MARKETING PLAN DEVELOPMENT services include evaluation of the current and potential new customer bases, branding, messaging, and marketing platforms best suited for the business’ audience.
GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS (GIS) captures, manipulates, analyzes, manages, and presents demographic and geographical data. These data sets and maps provide a range of information useful to start-up and existing business owners and businesses relocating to the region.
FREE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DISCUSSION SERIES for entrepreneurs and industry experts discuss issues relevant to owning and operating a small business in Greater Palm Springs on the second Wednesday of every month, from 8 to 9:45 a.m., at UC Riverside Palm Desert Campus. Recent topics include building a community around your brand, customer service, time management, social media marketing, public relations, crisis communications, seasonal strategies (including thriving during the summer), and more.
For more information, call 760-340-1575 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before you quit your job or print business cards, it is wise to take stock of personal considerations. Ask yourself:
- Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
- Am I a risk-taker?
- Am I resourceful and organized?
- Can I support myself and my family financially when cash may be short?
- Will my family and friends be supportive during the start-up process?
- Am I knowledgeable and experienced enough in my chosen field?
If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” you may want to focus on self evaluation and development before proceeding. If most of your answers are “yes,” then it is time to do some research! Get as much information as you can on the feasibility of your idea and on the real experience of starting and managing any business. You can do this by:
- Accessing business publications and data from the library
- Taking seminars and workshops
- Speaking to trade or professional groups which represent your chosen industry
- Consulting with people who are already in the same or similar line of business
- Seeking advice from professional counselors
There are four types of insurance that are generally considered essential for small businesses: fire, liability, auto and worker’s compensation.
- Fire insurance — Compensates you for the loss of and damage to your business property by fire (may be required)
- Liability insurance — Helps protect you against lawsuits for physical damages to a customer while on your property and for liabilities arising from the use of your products/services (may be required)
- Auto insurance — Either private or business, is required by law for any vehicle used for business purposes
- Worker’s compensation insurance — Pays benefits to workers injured on the job to cover medical care, part of lost wages and permanent disability in return for immunity from civil lawsuits by employees over such workplace injuries
Before buying any insurance, consider the risks that should be covered, compare costs from the different companies, and get professional advice from an insurance agent.
Obviously, there are specific requirements in each state, county and locality, but it is possible to list the kinds of basic licenses and registrations a new business will need:
- Local — A business license from city, town or county is usually necessary, in addition to meeting zoning laws, building codes and similar regulations.
- State — In most states, if your business isn’t a corporation and your full name isn’t in the name of the business, you’ll have to register under what’s called the fictitious name law, and you should also file for a sales and use tax number. In some lines of business specific licenses are needed.
Federal — You will need to request fro the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) an employer’s identification number (EIN). Also consider requesting a “Going Into Business Tax Kit.”.
The CVEP Business Development Center provides an array of services to established businesses, including:
- Counseling in business planning
- Marketing and promotion
- Financial analysis and accounting
- Access to capital
A business plan precisely defines your business and serves as your firm’s resume by:
- Identifying your business goals
- Describing the products and services you will sell
- Defining the customers to whom you will sell your products/services
- Outlines the production, management and marketing activities needed to produce your product/service and deliver it to market
- Projects the profit or loss that will result from your efforts
Your business plan can also service as a guide to make sure you stay on track with your goals and objectives. Writing your plan is an educational process in which you learn about your business and how you expect it to operate. It should reflect your goals, objectives, priorities, and management style.
A CVEP counselor will not write a business plan for you, but will assist in assessment of the plan. They may offer recommendations in order to make it a viable business plan to gain financing thru a lending institution.
The kind of financing most entrepreneurs seek through commercial lenders is debt financing, and most banks provide debt financing for existing and start-up businesses. Banks vary substantially in their lending practices. While one bank may decline your loan application, another may be willing to take a higher risk or be interested in lending to small businesses. It is advisable to understand a bank’s lending guidelines before applying for a loan. The general guidelines that would enable a lending officer to at least make an informed decision regarding your loan proposal are as follows:
- Consideration of the business idea, usually explained in a business plan
- Collateral available to secure the loan
- Down payment (also known as equity in an ongoing business)
- Credit history and personal financial net worth
- Management ability
- Ability to repay the debt
- Conditions of the economy and/or market area
Each form — sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or limited liability corporation — has its advantages and disadvantages. The one you should pick depends on your circumstances, including:
- Your financial condition
- The line of business you’re entering
- The number of employees
- The risk involved
- Your tax situation