Now that you have figured out that you are an entrepreneur true and true how do you begin? The Guam Small Business Development Center’s mission is to provide assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs on Guam. Equipped with state-of-the-art equipment up-to-date resources and experienced and qualified counselors and trainers Guam SBDC is a starting point for potential business owners. Recently Guam SBDC partnered with local companies to provide business planning via the internet. Clients can sign up for ActivePlans (business plan on netware) and Smallbizu (online university) and have the convenience of writing their business plan online.

And you will definitely need a business plan. This will become your road map; when completed it will tell you how to take this business where you want it to go. It may even convince your bankers to take the ride with you. But the really important point about a business plan is the act of producing one. The most important element is that the act of creating a business plan assures that you address and think through the issues confronting the industry you want to enter; how is it regulated; who are it’s customers; is the customer base growing or shrinking; who are your competitors and what competitive advantage do you perceive you will have to allow you to compete successfully with them; all the details of your operation whether its capital or labor intensive seasonal and ultimately how you are going to see a profit from it. A business plan doesn’t have to be a long or complex document; it can be a fairly simple paper of several pages. The two important elements are that it provides evidence you have thought this venture through and also you can turn back to it time and again to test your assumptions.

As humbling at it may be you may realize not only can you not afford to have someone else water and fertilize the plants in your office you can’t even afford the plants. One always has to make tough choices to cut costs. Here are some suggestions from experienced start-up entrepreneurs:

• Keep overhead costs to a minimum. Rent a modest office.

• Keep your desks and equipment functional not "showy". (The impression you make with showy equipment might not be what you intend… too much money spent on decor spells "inexperience" to the battle scarred.)

• Buy second hand.

• Forget support staff…. call don’t write… use your email…avoid paper. If you are really cheap you can go by a photo copier business every day and copy what you need.

• Answer your own phone. We should all learn to take calls and dispense with them in a few minutes… same principle as handling a piece of paper only once.

• Work until seven and eat a little later. You can do all your "support" chores after regular office hours.

• Don’t skimp on business cards letterhead stationary or phone service. They are part of your direct dealing with the public and come under the category of marketing which should always be first rate.

o And don’t forget to market. No matter how small or how thrifty you are you can’t afford not to have a budget for this. Just be sure you make the effort to learn what really works and is effective in your field before you actually spend money marketing. You have to make every dollar and every penny count. The journey to success is long and full of unexpected pot holes… you never want to run out of cash along the way.

Resources for women on the Internet:

For more information about the Citibank Women in Business Program at the Guam Small Business Development Center contact Denise Mendiola Citibank Women in Business Program Director at 735-2590 x114 or email [email protected] or Web site <>.