Even the largest companies started out as just an idea. Successful businesses do not happen overnight; it takes hard work, collaboration, and strategic planning.
Hi Everyone Today We Will Talk About Business Programs & Resources for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities
According to the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), in 2015 almost 50% of the country’s workforce was employed by small businesses of less than 500 employees. Start-ups are a vital component of the U.S. economy and, while the number of new businesses opening each year remains steady, only 10% or so will stay open. In order to be successful as a new entrepreneur be in that 10%, it is imperative that you strategically leverage what resources you have available to you. You must have a plan.
Having a Disability Does Not Mean that You Can’t Become a Successful Entrepreneur.
There are plenty of resources available to level any disadvantage disabled individuals may have and to help you actualize your vision. Regardless of your disability, it’s important to develop a tangible business plan, marketing strategy, outreach and growth plan, and financial plan before you begin your endeavour.
No aspiring entrepreneur should jump into starting a business without first having a Business Plan in place. Potential investors are unlikely to take you seriously without one. A detailed business plan can help you determine if your idea is feasible, even before you’ve invested much in the way of time and resources and, once you do get off the ground, it serves as a manual or a guide.
Many new business owners have a background in business or have pursued an online MBA where they learned the details of creating a solid business plan. If you don’t already possess this information, proper research and diligence will help you to create a business plan, regardless of a degree. A good business plan should start with an executive summary that concisely states your idea to potential investors. It should include a description of the business and its products or services, the marketing plan, operations structure, and a financial summary.
It is equally important to have a Marketing Plan. Regardless of which marketing strategy you pursue, it should help you solidify exactly what your product or service is, who the target customers are, and how to reach them. In order to fine tune your product, you need to get to know your customer. That includes talking to your future customers to find out their opinions, whether that be via mass survey of a market sample, interviewing individuals, or another way of collecting that data.
Some new business owners may have a target market in mind already, but others may need assistance narrowing one down. There are several strategies to help you determine who you should aim to sell to. Tactics like SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) and Blue Ocean Strategy are just a few marketing tools that can help a startup key in on their ideal customer.
Once you have your target market and their preferences identified, you can begin strategizing how to reach them. It is most often a good idea to diversify your approach and use a combination of online, paper, word of mouth, press release or other methods to make your business known. You may also use your creativity, or outsource it, to find a unique way to advertise using appealing language and visuals.
Even when you are just starting out, it is a good idea to visualize what the future of your business looks like in terms of growth and partnerships. For most entrepreneurs, the goal is to increase your net profit and continue to scale upward. In order to continue growing, your audience must grow steadily, and you must develop ties with other business owners and entities in your community. To maintain public good will you should consider what partners you would like to gain in the community, such as nonprofits, schools, or other community organizations you would eventually like to reach and support.
An entrepreneur also needs to consider Financing. Funds are needed to fuel startup costs, such as materials, salaries, advertising, insurance, rent, and the technology you are going to need in order to operate. Before even approaching investors, you should have a clear idea of how much money you will need, where it will come from, and what your financial statements will look like (to know how to Read Financial Statements Read our Article HOW TO READ FINANCIAL STATEMENTS) for at least the first 2 years. If you are unfamiliar with financial statements, like income statements and balance sheets, taking some accounting classes or pursuing an online MBA could be extremely helpful in building up your knowledge. If you are not comfortable numbers, you may consider bringing on additional help or outsourcing your accounting.
Source of Finance
To fund your startup costs, you have many options. Many new business owners turn to a local bank for a small business loan, others use lines of credit on existing personal assets, and others may draw from their savings. It is best not to use your personal funds, however, as a long-term strategy for funding your business. Some Grants (money you don’t have to repay) may be available for aspiring entrepreneurs and for business owners with disabilities. Do your research beforehand to make the most informed decisions possible regarding finances.
To Know More About Startup Financing Options you can have a look at our Article STARTUP FINANCING OPTIONS
Employment often presents a “chicken and the egg” conundrum for people who have disabilities. Many times, a person cannot return to their old job after a life-changing accident or medical condition, because of the physical requirements of the position.
The chicken and the egg issue is that you need a job to make money, and without money, it’s hard to retrain yourself with new job skills or to pursue additional education or programs that would help you get placed in a permanent position. However, there are a variety of options for people who have decided that the traditional workplace no longer works for their needs and do want to be an entrepreneur.
Small Business Administration (SBA) Boosts Access to Services for Deaf and Hard Of Hearing Entrepreneurs
The SBA is proud to join the FCC in becoming the second federal agency to provide videophone services directly to the deaf and hard of hearing in their native language. By having staff that are fluent in both ASL and the language of business, SBA’s new ASL Customer Support Line will ensure access to key services vital to small business growth.
“More than 335,000 Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing already own their own business, and we believe even more members of this community have the right stuff to follow suit,” said Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). “Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing are nearly twice as likely to become entrepreneurs when compared to the population at large, and we stand ready to ensure they have the direct access to make their dreams a reality.”
“The effort by the SBA to increase access to services is a step in the right direction toward helping deaf people and hard of hearing establish their own businesses,” said T. Alan Hurwitz, President of Gallaudet University. “We applaud those efforts and look forward to continuing to work with the SBA on promoting and expanding opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing entrepreneurs.”
Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may dial 1-855-440-4960 to connect to the SBA. More information about the agencies products and services is available at www.sba.gov.
Invent Your Success
Discovering your personal strength in dealing with your disability can spark a business idea too. Pat Dougherty, a C6-7 quadriplegic, did just that when he was presented with the obstacle of playing outside with his children after a motocross accident left him paralyzed.
Pat had a hard time getting around his backyard in his regular wheelchair, and found that to be incredibly frustrating and unacceptable for his sense of independence. So Pat adapted, and engineered a new product for wheelchair users in the process!
Pat Dougherty explains FreeWheel to a new fan at a Abilities Expo.
FreeWheel is an attachment for mobile wheelchairs that turns a manual wheelchair into a off-road adventure vehicle.
Pat has always had a strong passion and adventure for life, making him the perfect entrepreneur. His chair does not define him, but instead he is in the cockpit of his chair and continues to do all of the action packed activities he loves. “Life is for living and every day I am now out, actively participating, and I know the FreeWheel has a very positive impact on my health,” Pat says.
Women everywhere have supplemented their household income by becoming sales representatives for Mary Kay, Tupperware, Avon, and other well-known brands that employ independent consultants as brand ambassadors.
Know that these jobs are commission-only and require an outgoing personality that doesn’t mind approaching and talking with strangers. If you are a natural at networking, and good at time management, a commission-based work-at-home job might be right for you.
Find more business and employment ideas in Lisa Wells’ book, 10 Fundraising Ideas to Help People with Disabilities, available on Amazon for Kindle and iPad
About 10 Fundraising Ideas to Help People with Disabilities
Throughout the book, Lisa Wells shares real-life examples and success stories from her interactions with disability advocates, non-profit supporters and Wheel:Life members throughout a healthcare marketing career that spans more than 20 years on 3 continents.
10 Fundraising Ideas to Help People with Disabilities features interviews from:
• Paralympian Bert Burns on how he raised support to begin his career in wheelchair racing
- Project Walk Atlanta participant Leslie Ostrander on how she raised money for additional rehab
- The founders of 100 Songs for Kids on their annual music event to benefit children’s medical charities
- Rolling Inspiration creator Chris Salas on how he lined up sponsors for his SCI peer support group and power soccer team.
- The creators of Hunter’s Torch Daylily Garden, a fundraising resource for a child with special needs.
- The Independence Fund – a little known source of financial support for disabled US veterans.
Starting a Startup/Business can be a daunting task, but there are many resources available. The sources referenced below can help as a starting point.