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Virtual Classroom

Round-the-clock information from the SBA.
May 1, 1999
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/17716

For many prospective entrepreneurs, the hassle of attending a class on how to start a business just doesn't fit into a hectic schedule that might include a full-time job, family responsibilities and the numerous other duties of daily life. To compensate for this time-crunch, the SBA has made it easy for aspiring business owners to attend classes in the comfort of their own homes.

The SBA Small Business Classroom, located at http://classroom.sba.gov/xtrainx, now offers three classes: "How to Raise Capital for a Small Business," "Are You Y2K OK?" and "The Business Plan." (The latter two are available in Spanish as well as English.) All the classes are self-guided and, because they're on the SBA's Web site, are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The SBA plans to add seven more classes this year, all of which will be offered in both Spanish and English.

What's In A Name?

When choosing a business name, keep the following tips in mind:

Source: Start Your Own Bbusiness (Entrepreneur Media Inc., $24.95) to order, visit http://www.entrepreneurmag.com

Evaluating Your Options

An important part of business success is a pre-start-up evaluation. Here are a few sample evaluations of different types of businesses from Starting Up: Do You Have What It Takes To Make It In Your Business? (Prentice Hall Press) by David E. Rye and Craig R. Hickman:

BUSINESS VENTURE ALTERNATIVES
MAJOR STRENGTH
MAJOR WEAKNESS
START-UP COSTS
INCOME/PROFIT/NET WORTH GOAL
TIME TO REACH GOAL
KEY TO SUCCESS
RISK RATING*

Management Consulting & Training
Ease of entry
Intense competition
$30,000
Income of $150,000 per year
3 years
Professional competence
2

Postal & Shipping Franchise
Franchise support
Heavy marketing expenses
$150,000
Profit of $200,000 per year
6 years
Customer service
4

Auto-Accessories Manufacturing
Opportunities for innovation
High capital investment
$500,000
Net worth of $10 million
10 years
Product innovation
7

Software & Multimedia Development
Explosive demand for products
Dominance of large competitors such as Microsoft
$300,000
Profit of $300,000 per year
7 years
Distribution and sales
8