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I have an idea for a new business but I’m not quite sure where to start. Is there someone who can help me?
The best first step before spending a lot of time and money is to validate your idea to make sure it makes good business sense. The good news is that Reno has several excellent resources to help you, including the Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC), SCORE and Entrepreneurs Assembly. Each of these organizations have different systems, but each will be able to help you decide if your business idea make enough sense to proceed, and if yes, the best next steps.
If you decide to move forward, you then need a business plan. You wouldn’t drive to Florida without a map or put an addition on your house without a blueprint or even bake a cake without a recipe, and you shouldn’t have a business without a business plan. It’s your “road map” to business success.
As General Eisenhower said when preparing for the Normandy landings on D-Day, “Plans are nothing, planning is everything;” and most of a business plan’s value comes from the thought process you go through while writing it. If you need help with your plan, the organizations mentioned above can help you
Does anyone in Reno offer classes to help someone start or run their business?
Northern Nevada is home to a tremendous number of professional development and continuing / community education resources. These range from UNR, TMCC and WNC, to NSBDC, SCORE and Entrepreneurs Assembly and professional organizations such as the American Marketing Association, Professional Saleswomen of Nevada, Nevada Public Health Association, Nevada Association of Realtors and many, many more. A quick Google search will help you find the organizations that best meet your needs.
Everyone says that networking is essential in Reno. Where should I start?
Networking is an effective way to meet dozens and even hundreds of potential new customers, clients, suppliers, service providers and more, usually just for the cost of a breakfast or lunch.
Reno has a huge number of networking opportunities ranging from professional groups (mentioned above) focused on a variety of specific business sectors to general business groups such as Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN), NCET (of course…) and my personal favorite, WIN. Because we have so many networking opportunities, you have to be strategic and do some research to decide which group(s) will best meet your needs.
Once you decide which events to attend, please remember that effective networking involves building relationships with the people you meet rather than just handing out and collecting as many business cards as possible. Speaking of business cards, make sure you have plenty of professionally printed cards (no home-made ones with perforated edges) as well as a professionally made name badge.
Dave Archer is President / CEO of NCET, a member-supported non-profit that produces educational and networking events to help people explore businesses and technology. (www.NCET.org)