I Have a Good Idea

The idea of owning your own company, being your own boss, and creating economic opportunity for your community is appealing to a lot of people. But starting your own business can be a daunting and confusing process. Fortunately, there are many resources on the Harbor that can be tapped to help take some of the mystery out of it and provide support along the way.

The Small Business Development Council (SBDC) currently located at Grays Harbor College provides free and confidential consulting services to anyone looking to start or grow their business. The director of the Aberdeen SBDC, Erik Stewart, has helped countless businesses find success over more than 15 years, 10 of which have been working at the Aberdeen SBDC.

Erik Stewart, Director Small Business Development Council for Grays Harbor
“It’s about more than just having a good idea,” Stewart said. “There are some basics to entrepreneurship and business management that cross all sectors and industries. So, even though it’s impossible for the SBDC to know the specifics of every business, we can teach any business owner the necessary skills all businesses need. We are here to support anyone looking to find out how to be a successful business owner on the Harbor.”

One of the first things Stewart recommends people do is go through the SBC’s startup guide which walks potential business owners through a series of questions to gauge their readiness for this endeavor.

Those considering entrepreneurship may also benefit from going through a Business Checklist to help focus their thinking about what really motivates them to be a business owner and what type of business they would likely be successful at building.

“You need to know what your real reasons are behind starting a business,” Stewart added. “And you need a clear picture of your goals. There are a lot of rewards to entrepreneurship but there are also a lot of risks and challenges. If you don’t know what truly gets you motivated to be successful or how you even want to define success, it’s nearly impossible to keep any business alive.”

From there, he recommends people make an appointment and sit down with his team to help develop a plan and look for possible financing options. Sometimes there are creative ways to finance a new business that may not be readily obvious. There may also be skills that a business owner needs help with, from marketing and sales to accounting and bookkeeping.

For more information or to learn from other businesses that have worked with the SBDC, contact info@wsbdc.org.