Entrepreneurs must prepare five main documents before applying for a small business loan. These vary depending on the lender, the business, and the loan specifics; however, all of this information is important to have ready prior to approaching any bank. 1) Business plan
A business plan is a document, organized by sections, that outlines the details, goals, and background information of the business. Keep it short and succinct (5-10 pages, ideally), and discuss only important
Nine entrepreneurial teams graduated from Iowa Western’s first Venture School yesterday. Throughout the six week program, our teams worked tirelessly to accelerate their start-up processes by getting out in the community; talking with potential customers, partners, and competitors; vetting their business ideas with seasoned mentors; and presenting their pitches to one another. Each team made amazing improvements throughout the program, and we awarded over $5,000 in cash prize
A trade secret is any confidential piece of information that provides your small business a competitive advantage over rivals. As such, it is extremely important to safeguard this information. In this post, we discuss different types of trade secrets, what trade secrets entail, and how to best protect your company’s trade secrets. Trade secrets include any formula, recipe, device, idea, process, or pattern used exclusively by your company. For example, trade secrets include t
Multiple times per week, clients ask me how to go about protecting their business names, company logos, and catchy slogans. They typically believe they need a copyright; however, more often than not, they actually need a trademark instead. In this post, I will demystify the confusion between trademarks, copyrights, and patents. I will also discuss how to register a trademark as well as available resources to help with the application process. Trademark vs. Copyright vs. Paten
As a small business, your logo is your main identifying mark. It portrays what you stand for as a company; is one of the first things that comes to mind when customers think of your brand; and when used effectively, can be leveraged to create loyalty and to promote the positive attributes of your business. In this post, we discuss the different types of logos that exist; the important factors that comprise a logo; and the steps required in creating a logo that is both effecti
Determining how to price your products and services is a tough decision all entrepreneurs face. Small business owners — especially those just starting out — tend to price their products on the lower end of rivals’, thinking it will make them competitive and attract more customers. Contrary to this popular belief, however, this rarely proves true. In this post, we discuss pricing strategy and the three main reasons why cheaper may not always be better for your small business.
This week, the Iowa Western Small Business Development Center staff spent time in Iowa City watching its Venture School kick-off. Iowa Western Community College is hosting its own Venture School cohort in March, and as we observe the event, shadow the participants, and learn about their business ideas here in Iowa City, the concept of value proposition is one of utmost importance. The reality is, small business success or failure depends heavily on value proposition. The fact