Advice for starting a business in Durham

 By Brittney Jenkins
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

The gospel music and soul food may keep customers coming back to JC’s Kitchen on Main Street, but owner Phyllis Terry recognizes the role that having a solid business plan has played in the success of her restaurant.

At JC’s Kitchen at 706 E. Main St., like other small businesses, employees often wear many hats. Ms. Penny, a cook, sometimes steps in to be the cashier. (Staff photo by Brittney Jenkins)

Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone but people in Durham who are interested should know about certain requirements and seek advice from role models in the community.

The first piece of advice given to most trying to start is: write a solid business plan.

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development of Durham provides a Starting a Business Guide for people looking to jumpstart their ideas. The guide includes tips, references and information on starting a business in Durham.

The guide recommends that business plans be simple, concise, easy to read, and easy to follow.

“Writing a business plan is efficient for everyone because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” says Terry.

Durham’s guide includes an outline of information to put in a business plan. Some of the sections are: executive summary, background information, description of products or services, the market plan/industry analysis and financial plan.

Writing the business plan is only the start. After all, there still is financing, advertising, location and other critical points when starting a business like registering your business for an EIN, Employee Identification Number, also known as a federal tax identification number.

“I think the first step is having the vision written down, knowing the goal and purpose and who you are trying to reach,” added Terry.

Once the business plan is on paper and the vision, product and goal is clear, another step is figuring out how to finance the business.

Self Help,a non-profit organization in Durham located at 301 West Main St., provides business loans for non-profit and small businesses. Business loans are not the only services they offer but many local businesses have started with financing from Self Help.

Getting a loan for a business is not the only way to get funding for your business. Other options are starting it with the money in your pocket.

In an article on called “Start Your Own Business for $100 or Less” by Tory Johnson, Johnson talked about her own journey on becoming an entrepreneur and the CEO of her company Women for Hire.

“I didn’t have a lot of money and I didn’t have much time. Because my household very much relied on my income, I had three months to launch the company and generate a profit. If the venture failed, I’d have to quickly get a traditional job, which of course I didn’t want to do,” said Johnson.

Johnson also talked about networking and utilizing free and local resources that are easy to access. She even says Facebook and Twitter are good ways to market a business.

Johnson’s final advice was simply, “Just Do It.” Johnson said, “If you can’t get out there and sell your product or service, you don’t have a business. It doesn’t matter how fabulous your offering, Your expertise or your website. If nobody will pay you for it, there’s no business.”