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What it takes to succeed

Hank Hayes • Mar 2, 2020 at 8:30 AM

KINGSPORT -- A new business is born every 11 seconds in the United States.

“I would say about every 10 seconds, a business fails,” Operation HOPE Financial Wellbeing Coach Alan Pickle told a small group of entrepreneurs at the Kingsport Chamber during a “So You Want To Start A Small Business” workshop hosted by the Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship.

Operation HOPE’s business model is to promote financial dignity through the delivery of financial inclusion and education tools to underserved communities.

“Operation HOPE tries to teach everyone that credit scores impact lives,” Pickle noted. “The fact that you all are here and interested in those things and hopefully you will be entrepreneurs very soon.”

Fact or Fiction

Pickle, during the workshop, attempted to address a number of topics that were either “fact or fiction,” such as whether you will have more freedom owning your own business.

“When you start a business, will it give you all the freedom to do the things you want to do?” he asked. “It can be both fact and fiction. You can always hang up the ‘closed’ sign. It depends on how your business is structured. It is determined on what your goals are for the business.”

Do You Have What It Takes?

Then there were questions to determine if people are entrepreneurial material, for instance:

Are you a self-starter?

Can you persevere despite the odds?

Do you have a good support network?

Are you a good communicator?

Are you good at record keeping?

Can you manage your finances?

Other Details

There was also a checklist to get a business started, such as what will the business name be; getting an employer identification number; and getting a business license and whatever permits are needed.

And what type of business will be started? A limited partnership? A limited liability company? A sole owner?

“That’s the easiest way to go,” Pickle said of the sole owner model, although Operation HOPE noted all of the personal and business assets of the sole owner are at risk.

Pickle also tried to get the group to think about credit, cash and access to capital.

And the day-to-day pressure of running a business.

“If you put more pressure on yourself, you can have terrible results,” he pointed out. “If you take a little pressure off yourself, your results can go up higher. It’s about structuring. A small business could be someone pushing a lawn mower but could also employ up to 50 people.”

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